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Week 6: Preserving Older Cities
“Landmarks and Historic Cities… Adaptive Re-use of Old Buildings… Preserving the Industrial Heritage…”
- 6-1: Introduction
- 6-2: Landmarks and Historic Districts
- 6-3: Adaptive Re-use of Old Buildings
- 6-4: Preserving Industrial Heritage
- There are several reasons to preserve older cities:
- social (value that communities associate with them);
- economic (e.g. tourism – seen as authentic, branding);
- environmental (no demolition, no new materials, no new energy).
- Older cities encompass landmarks, historic districts, palaces, churches, ordinary homes, warehouses, factories, power stations etc.
- The strongest impetus for preserving older cities may very well be cultural e.g. rebuilding Warsaw after WWII so that there is identity and meaning.
- Key challenge: adapting older cities to today’s needs of the present without destroying authenticity.
6-2: Landmarks and Historic Districts
- Historic preservation as a discipline started mid-19th century, and all cities have a movement of one sort or another.
- The activities range from studying older structures’/settlements’:
- change and regulations;
- Preservation done usually in two ways:
- Curatorial (i.e. monuments), which treat buildings as works of art;
- Urbanistic (large territories), which hopes to create great urban environments.
- Preservation differs from typical design and planning considerations in that it:
- takes specific interest in what has been inherited;
- accords priority to the cultural values of what is inherited.
- Preservation practice has two parts:
- recognizing and listing historic buildings (e.g. in national registers; depends on significance and integrity of buildings);
- public policy (e.g. regulation and zoning) and design tools (e.g. design guidelines).
- In the U.S., it has become clear that preservation movement have to leverage markets by spelling out the economic case for preveseration (e.g. tax credits).
- One issue with preservation is its potential to be mis-used to oppose change or development.
- Next lesson: adaptive reuse of old buildings.
6-3: Adaptive Re-use of Old Buildings
- In the same way that reduce, reuse and recycle waste, buildings can be re-used.
- This is called adaptive reuse: giving an old/older building a new use to extend its lifespan instead demolishing it.
- Adaptive reuse has many benefits:
- Environmental: buildings retain the energy embodied in them;
- Density: older buildings are on existing sites instead of building even further out;
- Economic: cheaper than building new;
- Social: preserves history and meaning to the community.
- How not to do adaptive re-use: facadism i.e. keeps the front but demolishes what is behind.
- How to do adaptive re-use:
- integrity and authenticity are key;
- ensure what is new is contemporary and recognisable and not just an imitation;
- layered i.e. old and new are distinct, reflecting their times (e.g. The Louvre in Paris)
- new is compatible with the old (e.g. Selexyz Bookshop in Maastricht)
- Case studies: developments/buildings in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Amsterdam.
- Adaptive reuse has to delicately balance development and the retention of authenticity and the examples/case studies show it is not always easy.
- Next lesson: preserving industrial heritage.
6-4: Preserving Industrial Heritage
- As an economy changes, some industrial developments become redundant.
- Instead of demolition, they can be adapted for a new purpose.
- Older industrial developments are typically unique e.g.
- they are large and take a lot of weight;
- they also have a look that is now very fashionable;
- they have economic and social meaning to the community.
- Examples: Tate Modern in London, Caixia Forum in Madrid, Museum of Steel in Mexico, Meatpacking District, New York City, 798 Art District in Beijing etc.
- Environmental remediation i.e. cleaning up the industrial waste and chemicals from the site is often needed.
- However, today, many factories are built to be demolished later, and there may not be much industrial heritage to be preserved.