Heritage values versus modern needs


By URBACT, on January 31st, 2012

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How realistic is it, when restoring historic buildings, to manage a balance between the preservation of their values and the necessary alterations for their adaptation to modern needs? What are their values and what are modern needs?

The literature in this field is quite rich, especially when referring to values. The debate goes back as far as the late 19th century. Historic values, aesthetic values, building values, age values, memory values, both individual and collective and,use values are some of the most important characteristics to be examined in the process of evaluating the importance of historic buildings. Very often the different values are conflictual, even if the restoration work is performed in a very strict context from a preservation point of view. History, aesthetics and unity of form are very well known dilemmas

In modern times, with the rapid changes in life style, science and technology, more challenges are appearing and in turn causing more dilemmas. Furthermore, it is more urgent than ever to take climate change and energy saving into consideration when restoring historic buildings. Eco-restoration is a relatively new concept to be added to the conservation process and theory. In a way, energy efficiency is a contemporary value not to be ignored.

Restoration and eco-restoration are processes with continuous dilemmas between benefits and losses. They entail compromises necessary to ensure the protection of our architectural property. In this process, the use of proper methodological tools and knowledge about technology are decisive in appropriate decision making.

These tools and knowledge were discussed and developed during the meeting of the URBACT project LINKS in Veria with great devotion and success by all the partners and invited experts.

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Kleopatra Theologidou
Partner in the LINKS project

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