Sigrid de Jong
Sigrid de Jong is a Senior researcher at Leiden University. Since 2016, she conducts a research project entitled ‘Experience and Design: The Emergence of Architectural Experience in Paris and London, 1750–1815’, that was awarded a VENI-grant by NWO.
Fields of interest
- Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century architectural and urban history
- Architectural theory
- Architectural experience
Description of my research
The notion that buildings are foremost objects to be experienced, and that the intended experience of buildings should guide their design, became a key concept in the period 1750–1815. At that time, Paris and London, the main centres of cultural debates, went through major urban and architectural developments, which raised many vividly debated questions about the situation, spatial composition, form, and meaning of buildings.
In my current research project, entitled ‘Experience and Design: The Emergence of Architectural Experience in Paris and London, 1750–1815’, I argue that architectural experience emerged in these cities as a crucial new element. With the educated public for the first time participating in architectural debate in this period, architects, theorists, critics, and the public produced a vast number of publications that appeared in Paris and London. The dialogues of architects across the Channel in the context of public architectural debates will be reconstructed in three parts that investigate the interactions between experience and design in both cities. The project examines how the relationship between experience and design evolved: how eighteenth-century architects described their observations on buildings in their writings; which theoretical concepts they used to translate these into design theories for their lectures at the academies of architecture; and how they used them in their designs of buildings. It thus aims to trace the origins and development of the conscious, recorded experience of architecture and its use in design, an issue that was as important in the eighteenth century as it is today, both for the public and for design practice.
Her previous research project at Leiden (2010–2015) was on primitivism and architectural theory (1750–1850) in the NWO VIDI-project ‘The Quest for the Legitimacy of Architecture in Europe, 1750-1850’ directed by Maarten Delbeke. She holds a PhD in Architectural History from Leiden University (2010, supervisor Caroline van Eck), and a Master in Art and Architectural History from the University of Amsterdam (1997). She was curator at the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam (1998–2004). In 2012, her PhD thesis ‘Rediscovering Architecture. Paestum in Eighteenth-Century Architectural Experience and Theory’ won the prestigious Research Prize awarded by Erasmus Prize Foundation for an exceptional PhD dissertation in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The book based on this thesis was published by Yale University Press and the Paul Mellon Centre in 2015. For the research, presentation, and publication of her work she has been awarded grants from the Fondation de France and the INHA (2007), the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (in 2012 and 2007), and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation (2013).
ReMA course ‘Paris c. 1750: The Birth of the Modern Art World’ together with Caroline van Eck, Nelke Bartelings, and Bram van Oostveldt.
ReMA course ‘Piranesi as Architectural Historian’ with study trip to Rome, together with Caroline van Eck.
BA course ‘Highlights of Dutch Architecture 1850-2000’.
ReMA seminar ‘The Sublime and the Uncanny in Literature, the Arts, and Architecture’, together with Caroline van Eck and Casper de Jonge.
BA course ‘Highlights of Dutch Architecture 1050-1850’.
ReMA course ‘Rome, Naples and Paestum’ with study trip to Rome, Naples, and Paestum, together with Maarten Delbeke, Caroline van Eck, and Minou Schraven.