This chair aims at creating a pole of competences on the material and cultural history of architecture, within the Architecture Theory and History research group. In the research areas that will be explored, history and material culture are central, but two other themes emerge as well: the cultural, social and environmental impacts of industrial production and use; and the possibility of recovering materials from the existing building stock, sometimes referred to as urban mining. Making the recovery of valuable used building materials possible has been my core preoccupation at Rotor. This research will pursue that effort in the very different, but empowering context of a research university. This pursuit asks for constant questioning of ingrained habits: a form of innovation which, counter-intuitively, only seldom involves technological novelties, while often requiring to venture outside engineering.