15 January 2018 from 12:00 to 13:00

UCMS Lunch meeting: Merlijn Hurx

Bron: Pixabay
Source: Pixabay

The Utrecht Centre for Medieval Studies organises a lunch meeting each block, during which Utrecht medievalists present their research (either just published or work in progress) to colleagues and students in an informal setting. You are invited to bring your own lunch, while UCMS provides coffee, tea etc. During this lunch meeting Dr Merlijn Hurx will present his research on Architects and bureaucrats: the court and the origins of architectural planning in Northern Europe (1370-1540).

Centralised administration

Although the growing impact of bureaucratic procedures on architectural planning strikes us as typical modern, its origins go back to the late Middle Ages. To control the ever-increasing cost of building, the French and English courts introduced centralised governance in the late fourteenth century. Other princes, among whom the Dukes of Burgundy quickly followed them: the dukes introduced a centralised administration to effectively organise and control the many construction sites in their domains in the Low Countries.

Dr. Merlijn Hurx
Dr Merlijn Hurx

Rationalised architectural planning

I will argue that this was not only a financial reform, however; it also represented an important step towards a more rationalised architectural planning. Often, the medieval planning process is considered a process of improvisation and continuous redesign that extended well into the building process. Architectural features of a planned building were frequently not fixed beforehand, but major design issues were to be decided upon as the construction advanced.

Building administration

The rediscovery of a vast part of the early sixteenth-century building administration of the Duchy of Brabant demonstrates that the new procedures introduced by the Burgundian dukes made it necessary to record decisions and agreements that were otherwise left implicit; it gave rise to a better documentation of the design and the construction process. The great number and wide range of documents that is preserved, allow to understand how meticulously well planned and monitored construction for the court was in the Low Countries. Moreover, the new bureaucracy not only led to increasing documentation, but also created a common administrative culture in which accounts and documents were fairly standardised.

Start date and time
15 January 2018 12:00
End date and time
15 January 2018 13:00