Teaching Profile

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Planning and Building in Existing Contexts - Historic Building Conservation

The topic of Planning and Building in Existing Contexts is becoming an increasingly important requirement in a society that is aware of its limited resources. The need for more extensive training in this area is based on the knowledge that future architects will, more than ever before, have to deal with existing structures and their repurposing, restructuring and expansion. Sustainable urban development and sustainable urban planning require different approaches compared to new construction projects.

Historic buildings are a limited social resource. Historic monuments make up only a small percentage, around 3 percentage, in this area, but they make a significant contribution to connecting the past to the present and making history tangible and visible. In contrast to the ever more extensive virtual experiences they represent the value of the original and the authentic.

There are no recipes for conservation measures, only theoretical foundations, that usually permit multiple solutions. Each building has its own individual story and every project poses a unique challenge to the architect. These can no longer be overcome alone, only in association with specialist colleagues: conservationists, building researchers, restorers, scientists, engineers and, of course, skilled craftsmen and -women who realize the repairs and redesign. The architect’s responsibility remains the creative, organizational and economic handling of the project. In order to be able to fulfil these tasks in high-quality, the architect needs knowledge and skills that go beyond the common standards:

  • Historical knowledge and architectural history understanding,
  • Methods of construction analysis and documentation,
  • Evaluation criteria for historical constructions and building materials,
  • Methods of repair and construction, constructive and technical knowledge

and, of course, love for old buildings, respect for the matured and the ability to criticize one's own work.