Yves Schoonjans (1960) is a Professor in architectural history and – theory at the University of Leuven (Department of Architecture), Belgium. In his PhD-study (An 19th century eclectic discourse – social and architectural strategies to cope with abundance and diversity – University Ghent, Belgium) he tackles the way how the theoretical discourse on eclecticism is constructed. In 2009 he founded (with Sven Sterken & Rajesh Heyninck) the Research group ARP (Architectural Culture of the Recent Past) that investigates architecture as a wide cultural phenomenon and its relation to ideas, discourses and practices.
The main focus of his research lies on the appropriation of theoretical notions and the recalibrations of the relation between form and meaning by different actors in the field of architecture in the recent and present period (19th to 21st century).
The research is focused in two intermingled lines. (1) The first line researches the ‘mechanisms on theory-building’ with a special attentiveness to the relation between theory and daily practice and the development of (ideological) discourses. In the research-methodology the focus is beside pure text also on other media and expression as images, construct of journals, manuals, artefacts, … and their interrelations. Architecture is tackled as a wide cultural phenomenon and its relation to ideas, discourses and practices. (2) The second research line is closely linked to the first and brings it towards ‘modest heritage and local identities’. Heritage is seen here as what we inherit, or, the built that is constructing the city. Also here the emphasis is laid on the development of informal and local discourses. Local identities play an important part towards understanding the existing fabric and the way it is appropriated, towards the use of collective spaces and sustainable urban development, interactive regeneration and adaptive re-use.
In 2013 together with prof. Kris Scheerlinck he initiated also the research group ‘Urban Projects, Collective Spaces and Local Identities’ on identify in urban context & design as a joint research-line of heritage, place and local identity (Schoonjans) and streetscape territories (Scheerlinck) on sustainable urban interactive regereration and the development of new strategies as a prolongation of his knowledge of historic architecture and cultural discourses.
He was involved as partner and lead-coordinator in different international programs (Erasmus, Mundus and ALFA) and participated in different project, especially in Latin America and did many short stay research/teaching visits in Universities in Europe and Latin America.
Within the academic management he was Head of the education-section ‘History and Theory’ from 2002 to 2008, program director of the International Master of Architecture ‘Urban Cultures-Urban Project’ and the International Master of Architecture ‘Sustainable Architecture’ (2008-2010), member of the board and as such director of master-programs (2009-2013). From October 2013 to October 2015 he became vice-dean Internationalisation and is now vice-chair of the Research Department.