Thomas Coomans de Brachène, born in Brussels, Belgium, in 1962. Ph.D. from the Université Catholique de Louvain. Assistant Professor of History of Architecture at the Free University Brussels.
Fellow (1 February 2010 – 30 June 2010)
BUILDING COMMUNITIES APART: THE MEDIEVAL ARCHITECTURE OF BEGUINAGES IN THE LOW COUNTRIES
My project was to complete my research on medieval beguinage architecture in the Low Countries, and to write a book for the series Architectura Medii Aevi (Brepols). The efficient NIAS Library made it possible to complete the heuristic process in Dutch literature in a short space of time. The diversity of the material covering 69 medieval beguinages (41 in Belgium, 22 in the Netherlands, and 6 in France) meant that the book needed to be restructured. The book will have four parts: 1 peri-urban settlements and the evolving inclusive or exclusive interactions with cities; 2 morphology, scale and the spatial organisation of semi-religious female communities; 3 male control over beguines’ church architecture and their relationships with the Church; and, 4 housing and the social hierarchy between poor and rich beguines. Chapter 1 and a part of chapter 2 were written while at NIAS; chapter 3 had already been partially written, and the information for chapter 4° is now collected.