Focus Work FS 22

Focus Work (063-0851-22)
Organizer: Chair of Prof. Delbeke

A focus-work research project, or independent study, provides the opportunity for students to work one-on-one with a D-ARCH faculty member through supervised research. Topics may be related to the content of another course or designed as an independent research project.

Eligibility and course credit:

A focus-work project is normally reserved for Master’s students and advanced Bachelor’s students, and is worth 6 credits (equivalent to 180 hours). For inquiries about individual eligibility for a focus work or questions on how to register for course credit, please contact the D-ARCH Study Administration Office.

Topics and possible themes:

Professor Delbeke’s Chair of the History and Theory of Architecture welcomes proposals for focus-work projects on any topics related to the interests of the chair, which cover the history and theory of architecture in Europe c.1450-1850. We encourage students to propose a focus-work topic on any research subject that engages their intellectual interest – the geographical and chronological boundaries of the chair’s topic are intended to serve as a point of reference rather than a fixed limitation. Students are advised to keep in mind the limited work period allotted to the focus work, and to therefore choose a precisely delineated topic rather than a broad thematic study. Particular interests of the chair that may provide useful points of departure include the mediality of architecture, including its relationship to print culture and the visual arts; architectural historiography and the contemporary explorations of digital art history; and connections between architecture and language. The specific interests of the individual members of the chair are listed below. For more details, please see Research.

Prof. Dr. Maarten Delbeke: history and theory of art (esp. sculpture) and architecture in Europe c.1550–1800, with a special interest in Italy, France and the Low Countries; architecture and other media (e.g. literature, medals and engravings, popular media); religious art and architecture; historiography of architecture; classicism; contemporary architecture.

Dr. Gregorio Astengo: 17th-century architecture in Europe and especially England; early modern architectural drawing, geometry and representation; architectural writing and printing in the 16th and 17th centuries; post-war Italy.

Dr. Sigrid de Jong: 18th- and 19th-century architecture and architectural theory, neoclassicism, France and England, travel literature and architecture, Dutch 19th-century architecture. [Not accepting proposals in Spring 2022]

Dr. Cara Rachele: 16th-century Europe;early modern architectural representation; Italy in the 19th century; American vernacular architecture.


The precise format of the focus-work assessment is to be determined in consultation with Prof. Delbeke or the appropriate member of the chair. The assessment can be a traditional written paper (typically about 25 double-spaced pages), a drawing project or other graphic work, or a combination of the two (for example analytic drawings paired with short texts). Whatever the case, preparatory research and final work production should equal 6 credits (180 hours). All assessments will be concluded with a final oral examination (30 minutes), which will take the form of a conversation about content and implementation of the focus work. Depending on the individual adviser, texts may be written in any of the languages of the chair (English, German, French, Italian), and students are expected to maintain the highest standards of scholarly quality. Please consult the chair office for further documentation about best practices for citation, argumentation and formatting.


Students are advised to contact the appropriate member of the chair directly about a proposed focus work as early as possible, ideally the semester preceding the desired work period. After an initial conversation about topic and format, students are requested to submit a written proposal to the chair for approval no less than three weeks before the start of the desired work period. (See further details below.) For example, a student wishing to complete a focus-work project during the autumn course period must submit their abstract to the chair office for consideration by late August following a previous in-person conversation with the advising member of the chair. Upon advance arrangement, the work may be completed during a period when courses are not in session, such as the winter or summer break, although care should be taken to register in the appropriate semester. In this circumstance the three-week proposal deadline also applies; however students are advised to make initial contact well in advance, as there is a limit to how many students can be supervised during these periods.

Focus-work proposal:

After the initial meeting to discuss the project, interested students must submit a written proposal no less than three weeks before the desired start of the focus-work project. The proposal should include the following information:
– working title of proposed topic
– detailed abstract (200 words)
– preliminary bibliography (approximately 10 sources)
– short explanation of interest in topic, any related coursework (50 words)
– description of assessment format (25 words)
– proposed timeframe for completion of work, including any required meeting dates

Proposals may be written in English, German, Italian or French.