Sociedade Portuguesa de Estudos de História de Construção


The Portuguese Society for the Study of the History of Construction - SPEHC - is a non-profit association with a scientific vocation, created with the aim of promoting and disseminating studies on the history of construction, with particular emphasis on Portugal and Portuguese-influenced territories. 

This field of research studies the way in which construction was carried out in a given historical period and in a given region, integrating into this analysis the extraction, transformation and application of materials, as well as the techniques and machines used, and also the mechanisms for transferring knowledge between the various players involved in the construction process. At the same time, the economic and social organisation of the communities involved in the construction processes is studied, and transdisciplinary research focusing on cultural and territorial transformations is developed.

The history of construction is an autonomous discipline that has only recently begun to be studied in Portugal. The first conference on the history of construction to be held in Portugal was organised by the Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra, in February 2010. It was entitled "Alignments and foundations". The event was opened by Professor Santiago Huerta, President of the Sociedad Española de Historia de la Construcción. In December of the same year, the first international conference on the history of construction was held. It was organised by the transdisciplinary research centre "Culture, Space and Memory" and the History Department of the University of Minho. Three other similar conferences followed in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The second conference on the history of construction in Portugal, whose theme was "Consolidation of a discipline", was held in Lisbon in November 2015 under the auspices of the Centre for Research in Architecture, Urbanism and Design of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Lisbon. This was the first event to be supported by the SPEHC. In September 2016, the SPEHC also supported the Second International Congress of Luso-Brazilian Construction History (2CIHCLB). Its theme was "shared cultures" and it was organised by the Centre for Studies in Architecture and Urban Planning of the University of Porto (CEAU-UP). From 12 to 16 July 2021, the SPEHC and the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Lisbon organised the Seventh International Congress on the History of Construction (7ICCH). The title of the Congress was "The History of Construction Cultures".


Personne contact

João Mascarenhas Mateus

Grade: President of the Management Board
Institution: SPECH
Expertise: history of construction in Portugal (XIX-XX centuries) 
Latest publications:
- MASCARENHAS MATEUS João, "Construction History and the History of Construction Cultures: Between Architecture and Engineering in Portugal", Buildings, 10-4, 2020.
- MASCARENHAS MATEUS João, "Portugal Builds, uma plataforma digital para a historia da construçao em Portugal nos séculos XIXe XX", Estudos Historicos (Rio de Janeiro), 33-69, 2020.
- MASCARENHAS MATEUS João, PIRES Ana Paula (eds.), History of Construction Cultures Proceedings of the 7th International Congress on Construction History (7ICCH 2021), July 12-16, 2021, Lisbon, Portugal, Volume 1. Open Access at. Leiden, Netherlands: CRC Press/Balkema & Routledge, 2021.



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