Built Environment professionals, myself included, tend to focus on the latest trends concerning sustainability, smart growth, and recent technologies for construction.
Many times we end up relegating historical preservation and everything concerning Built Heritage Conservation as a métier only for experienced professionals, who embark on these projects as a way of closing their careers, as part of a well-established portfolio of previous and more traditional types of projects.
In other words, we don’t see restoration or conservation as often as we see office parks or condos.
But all of that is changing and increasingly more professionals are involving themselves with the massive work that helps to extend a building’s useful life, and several incentives have been created to promote this.
Here in Argentina the Central Society of Architects and the Network of International Centres for the Conservation of Architectural Heritage recently recognized outstanding work in restoration by creating the National Award for Best Architectural Heritage Intervention.
The six public and private projects from Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Santa Fe, below, were awarded first place, under the categories of restoration, recycling, and urban scale value:
- The Blue Room of the National Congress;
- Pastrone House, corner of Hipólito Yrigoyen Crucible;
- Mariani-Teruggi House;
- Ex YPF, Research Laboratories of the National University ‘ Arturo Jauretche’;
- The ‘Art Plant’ usina del arte musical arts complex;
- Cultural Corridor Molino, Federal Park and La Redonda.
The jury’s assessment focused on rewarding work that solidly established a restoration methodology through both materials and concept. In addition, it took into account the emotional dimension of strong works with testimonial value treated with great simplicity, seeking to preserve for future generations the footsteps of the past.
It is exciting to realize that there are opportunities for preserving the built heritage of our country, and to see this trend also growing in places outside Europe (traditionally the ones concerned with this matter). It is also a major requirement considering the housing deficit experienced in Latin America. Recovering our built past can be a way of reassuring our future.
Is Built Heritage a priority for architects in your country? What buildings would you save in your city?
Credits: Data and images linked to sources.