Zurich / 30.09. - 2.10.2021

  Group photo meeting in Zurich 2021 Copyright: © AKTLD

Avant-garde or uncool?

Historic preservation in the transformation society

Annual Conference of the Working Group Theory and Teaching of Monument Preservation e.V.
in cooperation with ETH Zurich / Chair of Structural Heritage and Historic Preservation
30 September to 2 October 2021 in Zurich

The discipline of historic preservation has always been confronted with the prejudice that, as a preserving authority, it seeks to prevent and even hinder change and progress, even though it has been actively involved in major changes in building policy and society in the course of the 20th century, especially in the area of urban transformation processes.
and social changes in the course of the 20th century. At present, our society is once again facing major challenges in view of climate change and the ongoing discussions about the consideration and use of resources stored in existing buildings.

In addition to the obviously diverging internal and external perceptions of the discipline, the annual conference of the AKTLD will focus in particular on the new issues facing the institutions and how historic preservation is positioning itself in the current debates. An important role will be played by the self-image of the various actors active in the field of historic preservation, their
The self-image of the various actors working in the field of historic preservation, their view of their own actions, and the external perspective, which perceives historic preservation less as an "avant-garde" and more as the opposite of innovation, play an essential role. In view of this, the question arises as to whether the terms "Baukultur" or "bauliches Kulturerbe" that have recently been increasingly circulating actually also
other concepts of preservation? Or is this not rather to be understood as cosmetic terminology for an institution perceived as "uncool" - which then reappears in the concept of "monument preservation without monument conservator", although it seemed to be overcome here at the same time?

The outlined questions were discussed in three sections - which, of course, were not meant to be selective, but rather suggestions. In addition, a first section was dedicated to superordinate approaches.

Actors and interest groups
This section deals with the internal and external perception of the subject. What unites official monument conservators, university lecturers, foundations, associations and societies, civic initiatives and practical architects, restoration and planning offices, etc. in their work on monuments and what separates them? What alliances and alliances do they form? Furthermore, it can be observed that in debates about
Furthermore, it can be observed that in debates about cultural heritage "the preservation of monuments" appears as only one among many social actors, whereby the fields of conflict are often illuminated as part of a public discourse from the perspective of cultural studies, sociology, or anthropology. So who feels entitled to speak competently about "historic preservation," and who determines this? Who calls themselves a historic preservationist and why?

"Friday for Monuments": historic preservation as the vanguard of the climate change movement?
This section discusses the meaning of historic preservation and the connectivity of its methods in the context of current social and scientific debates about the causes and consequences of climate change. Can and should historic preservation position itself as an avant-garde in the current climate change debate? Where are historical, but also current, points of connection between nature conservation and historic preservation? To what extent can international impulses such as the CultureNature Journey coined by ICOMOS Australia/ICOMOS USA be made fruitful for the European discourse? Could heritage conservation operate as part of integrated urban development as a future field of climate-friendly urban development?

Communication and public debate
Here, the focus is on the question of communication patterns in and around historic preservation issues. Since time immemorial, construction projects in the context of historic preservation have evoked emotionalized and long-lasting controversies in the public. In addition to the classic print media, debates on historic preservation are increasingly being conducted in
but also fast-moving social media. Which topics are being discussed and which are being discussed? How and by which disciplines (journalists, scientists, planners, architects and politicians) are opinions and patterns of perception controlled? Part of the questioning of this section is furthermore how the preservation of historical monuments itself communicates to the outside (but also among and with each other).