Concrete heritage does not share the same recognition and conservation as other tangible heritage. While several concrete monuments exist, their significance lies in architectural or historical values. Rarely, if ever, you will hear the words uttered: “I need a little culture, some nice concrete building neighbourhood will do the trick”.
Concrete defined life for the better part of the 20th century mainly due to its material properties. On the one hand, artists and architects used concrete to push forward the discipline. Its easy use prompted the construction of numerous social projects worldwide, as affordable housing or recreation.
In effect, outside of aesthetics, concrete structures document their inhabitants’ needs at the time.
The project progresses with case studies from Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Italy, and the Netherlands working on policy, monitoring and keeping public engagement at the heart of the project.
The policies in development focus on participative management strategies and conservation proposals to ensure community engagement in future projects on concrete heritage protection. Furthermore, the project works on “an Atlas of standardized terminology of deterioration patterns and promotes the use of Monument Diagnosis and Conservation System (MDCS), an interactive support tool for the inventory and monitoring of damage to a monumental building.”
Public involvement carries on with an interactive platform inviting the audience to contribute photographs, information and other forms of documentation. The platform will be open access meaning all collected data, therefore, have an open-access GIS form connected to European modern architecture databases.
Concrete played a defining role in our history and art, for better or worse, it is a part of our heritage. Whether out of necessity or aesthetic choice, concrete buildings is a shared feature of cities internationally and their conservation should see more recognition.
Heritage, no matter its materiality, is the embodiment of our identity and society, therefore deserving equal care.
The Paris argument:
One of my less popular personal views is about the city of Paris, while widely considered the most beautiful city in the world, I invariably resented the fact that for the last 200 years Haussmannian architecture has dominated the Parisian landscape. Opting to preserve one historic period leaves out of the historical record the societal needs and lives of the inhabitants. – and gives you buildings like Pompidou when space is made available. Lifestyle and technology constantly change since the 1800s, for me, I enjoy seeing their traces through architecture rather than pleasing aesthetics.
I want to learn more: