MINISTRY OF
THE ENVIRONMENT
SPATIAL PLANNING
DEPARTMENT

As follow-up to the European Spatial
Development Perspective (ESD...
PAGES 058-059 / URBAN IDENTITY / PRESERVATION AND/OR AUTHENTICITY

PRESERVATION
AND/OR
AUTHENTICITY
Karl Otto Ellefsen

Th...
VENICE, ONE OF EUROPE’S MOST IMPORTANT

scientific, rational argument for new sur-

torical monuments, buildings and histo...
PAGES 060-061 / URBAN IDENTITY / PRESERVATION AND/OR AUTHENTICITY

ANALYSIS OF SEVILLE’S STRUCTURE AND DIVISION INTO

envi...
VITORCHIANO - THE PLACE GROWS OUT OF

rials, similarity of form, historical continuity

strategies. The theories of the ar...
PAGES 062-063 / URBAN IDENTITY / PRESERVATION AND/OR AUTHENTICITY

“URBAN LIVING ROOM”, COMPETITION ENTRY FOR THE

marks i...
RESTORATION OF THE RIVERBANK AND JOZE

ter. Thirdly, the approach to discussing the

principles are clearly shown? The div...
PAGES 064-065 / URBAN IDENTITY / PRESERVATION AND/OR AUTHENTICITY

BERLIN: A MAP THAT SHOWS (IN RED) NEW BUILDINGS

Discus...
RESTITUTION OF RENAISSANCE HOUSES FROM THE SQUARE

trate this strategy. The Danish SAVE sys-

Authentic comes from the Gre...
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Karl ottoellefsen preservation_and_or_authenticity

  1. 1. MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT SPATIAL PLANNING DEPARTMENT As follow-up to the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP), the Danish Presidency is focusing on the implications of globalisation and the role of cities in regional development. In three main sections, this report deals in detail with the problems relating to the role of cities in regional development. A number of Scandinavian researchers have contributed to the report. The report is a contribution by the Danish Ministry of the Environment, Spatial Planning Department to the international conference European Cities in a Global Era - Urban Identities and Regional Development. It is intended as a supplement to the conference, introducing key aspects of the issues discussed and providing background reading. URBAN IDENTITIES AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT The first section includes the Copenhagen Charter 2002 - the Danish Presidency’s suggested agenda for a discussion on future urban and regional development - as well as a number of operational recommendations. The second section deals in general terms with globalisation’s impact on Europe’s cities and regions. Finally, the last section deals with different aspects concerning the development of an urban identity concept. EUROPEAN CITIES IN A GLOBAL ERA EUROPEAN CITIES IN A GLOBAL ERA EUROPEAN CITIES IN A GLOBAL ERA URBAN IDENTITIES AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
  2. 2. PAGES 058-059 / URBAN IDENTITY / PRESERVATION AND/OR AUTHENTICITY PRESERVATION AND/OR AUTHENTICITY Karl Otto Ellefsen The preservation of historic urban areas is today the general strategy for maintaining and strengthening identity and local character in the majority of European towns and cities. However, current preservation strategies are not unproblematic. There is often a conflict between, on the one hand, preservation and, on the other, a town or city’s need for transformation and space for the expression of the identity of our age. In such a situation, it is important to be aware that there are many different methods of preservation. Those responsible for safeguarding make a number of choices - either consciously or unconsciously. Reality operates with very different perceptions of the meaning of authenticity and identity. The author shows the spectrum of European preservation practices and indicates the attitudes the different strategies express. Finally, he has some critical comments and requests for those who must make the choices in future preservation. The need to renew the physical surroundings and abandon old ideas has been a dominant concept inherent in industrial society’s urban development and has been a credo for modern urban planning. The concept of preservation grew as part of what we can call the general criticism of modernism in architecture and urban studies, which developed through the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. This criticism was primarily based on dissatisfaction with the results of modern urban development, the destruction of old cultural environments and the building of new environments that met all functional requirements but that did not meet the social and cultural patterns requiring space in European towns or cities. The criticism led to changes in the values that guided urban planning. Attempts have been made to replace universal solutions, or environments that in principle could be placed anywhere, with regional or local solutions. Modern building technology and high-technology materials no longer only yielded benefits. The
  3. 3. VENICE, ONE OF EUROPE’S MOST IMPORTANT scientific, rational argument for new sur- torical monuments, buildings and histori- MUSEUMS AND AN ENTERTAINING THEME roundings no longer had the same power in cal urban cores. PARK. A STRONG AND COMPLETE HISTORICAL public debates. It was safer to choose the MONUMENT, BUT APART FROM THE MUSEUM empirically proven good and traditional There have subsequently been significant solutions. The historical town or city as a changes in European preservation author- FROM THE MUCH LESS CHARMING MESTRE monument gained an increased cultural ities’ ambitions, values, and preservation ON THE MAINLAND. value, because as an authentic monument it strategies (see for example the two bears the town or city’s collective identity. UNESCO reports from 1995). Preservation VISITORS (TOURISTS), A DYING CITY WHERE MUSEUM GUARDS COMMUTE EVERYDAY of surroundings has become a much larger issue and is seen as being a far more com- From the Venice Charter to “clusters of authenticity” plex problem. The Venice Charter (1964) was the first Firstly, preservation is not only limited to a international political superstructure for a unique historical object, but also includes new preservation policy. The Charter’s pri- the historical character of the surroundings. mary goal was to preserve the cultural her- We are not as concerned with the docu- itage that was partly destroyed by the war. mentation of the typical as with the docu- Architecture and urban planning was also mentation of the unique. The time perspec- being greatly influenced by modernism’s tive has been extended from the genuinely values, and reconstruction was therefore historical to include the recent past, and in also seen as being a threat almost as great some cases the surroundings produced as war itself. The specialists behind the today. Age in itself is no longer a necessary charter focused on formulating operational criteria for preservation. Ambitions have, in international guidelines and they limited other words, expanded from focusing on their area of interest to the undisputed his- “dead” ancient monuments to include living
  4. 4. PAGES 060-061 / URBAN IDENTITY / PRESERVATION AND/OR AUTHENTICITY ANALYSIS OF SEVILLE’S STRUCTURE AND DIVISION INTO environments that are a product of histori- ing in a Norwegian village than in a central AREAS. cal processes - cultural environments that European pre-Roman town or city. THE PLAN IS INSPIRED BY ALDO ROSSI’S INTERPRETATION OF THE URBAN ENVIRON- are seen as being threatened by physical, social and cultural transformation. The specialists behind the Venice Charter were architects and art historians. The cur- MENT AND DIVIDES THE CITY INTO AREAS BASED ON STRUCTURE AND TYPOLOGY. THE Secondly, monuments are seen in the con- rent approach to preservation is based to an HISTORICAL CORE IS DELIMITED IN THE MID- text of which they are part, a place, a town equal extent on ethnology, social anthropol- DLE. WITHIN THIS AREA, ELEGANT HISTORICAL or city, a cultural landscape and perhaps ogy and linguistics. The criteria for evaluat- AND TYPOLOGICAL SURVEYS WERE CARRIED also a region or a territory. The concept of ing what is worth preserving in a cultural place and how local character is described is environment in the Nordic countries has, of particular interest. however, expanded from including histori- OUT AS NEW INTERVENTIONS WERE DISCUSSED IN CONNECTION WITH PLANS FOR THE WORLD EXPO IN 1990. cal value, age, different types of craftsmanA further trait in the current approach to ship and aesthetic qualities, to include a set building preservation is that universal of various socio-cultural criteria such as rep- norms have been shown to be difficult to resentivity, identity, symbolic and environ- use. The discussion around an object’s or mental values. environment’s preservation value and the choice of preservation strategy is in practice A consequence of this is that the concept of relative to culture. Authenticity in western authenticity, which is closely linked to iden- cultures has mainly been associated with the tity, and which has always been a central preservation of physical materials. However, concept in the discussion around preserva- in Japanese and Chinese cultures, authenti- tion, has received a new content. From being city has equally been linked to stability of unambiguous, the concept of authenticity form or (in other words) that the building has expanded to become a relative concept is documented and that craftsmen’s tradi- comprised of many different dimensions. tions are preserved so that it is always possi- “Clusters of aspects of authenticity” is a for- ble to build it again. The history of the mulation that was used at UNESCO’s Nara 1800s has a much greater value in the USA conference in 1995, when the principles in than in Europe and the concept of “histori- the Venice Charter were reformulated. cal traces” has a completely different mean- Authenticity can be linked to original mate-
  5. 5. VITORCHIANO - THE PLACE GROWS OUT OF rials, similarity of form, historical continuity strategies. The theories of the architects THE VOLCANIC ROCKS ALONG THE GORGE of use, unchanged traditions of craftsman- Aldo Rossi and Christian Norberg-Schultz FORMED BY THE TIBER, AS SHOWN IN A PIC- ship, and to continuity of the landscape or can illustrate the thinking behind the new TURE TAKEN BY CHRISTIAN NORBERG-SCHULZ. construction in which the object is placed. approach to urban architecture. They have THE RANGE BETWEEN LOCAL CHARACTERISTICS (PLACE), AND HOW THE PROPERTIES OF different views of how identity is linked to PLACE CAN AFFECT OTHERWISE UNIVERSAL Our approach to preservation today means the city, and their perceptions are also part SOLUTIONS, IS A CENTRAL PROBLEM IN THE that we often find ourselves in a situation of the current debate. In other words, by DISCUSSION OF LOCAL IDENTITY. THE LATIN where very many objects in a historical going back to Rossi and Norberg-Schultz NOUN LOCUS PRIMARILY MEANS PLACE OR building environment and very many urban we can improve our understanding of the LOCALITY, BUT CAN ALSO REFER TO A SPECIAL environments are eligible for preservation. situation today. POINT, SITUATION, TERRAIN OR REGION. When the field is expanded to include “living”, expanding, and economically flourish- Rossi’s central theoretical work L’architettura ing urban areas, conflicts arise between della città (Rossi 1966) was inspired by con- preservation and many other social, cultural temporary structuralism and can also be seen and political urban development goals. as being a part of an Italian academic tradi- Preservation is an interest that, with an tion in understanding the urban environ- authority that is disputable, competes with ment. Italian towns and cities were only other interests. This conflict is particularly bombed lightly during the war and suffered obvious in developing countries where the little damage. However, economic develop- need for economic growth and modernisa- ment, particularly in northern Italy, has tion is unquestionable. placed great pressure on historical town and city structures. A town or city is in Rossi’s theory a “manufakt”, a historically produced Architecture, historical identity and place result. A town or city as it exists today is an As a part of the criticism of modernism the way physical surroundings have devel- from the 1960s onwards, theories were oped as a tool to satisfy these needs. The developed which focused on local character, town is therefore a structure where the throw- and which formed the background for offs of all eras are incorporated and reused. In many later architectural and urban planning other words, a town or city’s architecture expression of need, its change over time and
  6. 6. PAGES 062-063 / URBAN IDENTITY / PRESERVATION AND/OR AUTHENTICITY “URBAN LIVING ROOM”, COMPETITION ENTRY FOR THE marks its history. It bears and expresses col- gave it its distinctiveness. Locus was also VESTBANEN AREA IN OSLO, ARCHITECTS: OFFICE FOR lective memory - the town or city’s identity. primarily understood within a religious METROPOLITAN ARCHITECTURE, 1ST PRICE. context, as a holy place and this can illus- NARRATIVE PROTECTION. THE OLD STATION Rossi, from an analytical viewpoint, sees trate the meaning Norberg-Schultz gave BUILDING IS LEFT AS AN ANECDOTE THAT the town or city, on the one hand, as an place in his architecture theory. TELLS ABOUT THE STATION AS IT ONCE WAS expression of general principles. The town AND IS AN EXAMPLE OF GOOD INSTITUTION- or city builds on a language (basic struc- Norberg-Schultz was inspired by the AL ARCHITECTURE FROM THE END OF THE ture) with a given number of elements or philosopher Martin Heidegger, and his the- 1800S. IN THE PROJECT, THE NEW URBAN basic units (types); building types, struc- oretical approach was phenomenology. He tural and topologic principles. This lan- wanted to discuss the surroundings as they guage forms a structural unity where the really are, as objects and entire places, not units mutually define each other. As for divided up into categories. His concepts are other languages, the town contains its own not precise in the conventional scientific grammatical rules for its own change. The sense, but are characteristic such as use, fea- town’s structure is also the basis for self- ture, atmosphere, and character. Every place regulation, but also a potential object for must possess its own aesthetic quality. The transformation in the sense that new needs problem with new development is that it can demand new structural principles. often does not manage to retain these place AREA IS NOT DETERMINED BY THE STRUCTURE AND FORM OF THE BUILDING. characteristics. A “loss of place” therefore However, on the other hand, the town or city occurs which is also a loss of identity. The can be seen as being something singular and task of architects and urban planners should special, as a locus solus - a distinctive place. It therefore be to give people reference points can also be seen as an artefact. For example, a by creating meaningful places or in other building or a specific part of an urban envi- words through making genius loci visible. ronment is an expression of the general principles of architectural order but also has If we compare Rossi’s and Norberg-Schultz’s unique aesthetic properties that point back to theories, three points are particularly inter- the unique historical events at this place. esting. Firstly, Norberg-Schultz searches for a comprehensive description and flexible Christian Norberg-Schultz developed the categorisation of the urban elements that concept of place and gave a different inter- Rossi’s urban theory inspired. In addition, pretation of its content (Norberg-Schulz Norberg-Schultz emphasises the natural 1979). The antique place was governed by landscape and the cultural landscape’s mean- the genius loci, the place’s divine spirit that ing for a place’s spatial structure and charac-
  7. 7. RESTORATION OF THE RIVERBANK AND JOZE ter. Thirdly, the approach to discussing the principles are clearly shown? The diversity ˇ PLECNIK’S PROJECTS IN LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA relationship between town or city/place, in approach is shown in the field’s abundant ARE A RARE AND VERY SUCCESSFUL EXAMPLE physical surroundings and identity are very concepts expressed through small but signif- OF HOW A RESTORATION PROJECT OF AN different. Place, for Rossi, is a continually icant differences of approach, conservation, changing “manufakt” that documents place restitution, regeneration, rehabilitation, history and therefore bears place identity. reconstruction, renovation and restoration. For Norberg-Schultz, a place’s meaning or There are very different views on how and identity is a fixed quantity that can be inter- to what extent guidelines should be given preted through taking care of the existing for new development in preservation areas. architecture and through new architecture. Preservation and transformation should be ENGINEERING AND ARCHITECTURALLY VALUABLE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT CAN STRENGTHEN A CITY’S IDENTITY. seen in the context that new building development should submit or mimic old build- Preservation strategies ings through using guidance on form. But European towns and cities demonstrate a it is also possible to claim that towns and wide spectrum both in terms of objects cities are constantly changing and that new selected for preservation investment, and architecture should primarily express the how preservation is carried out and set in needs of the day by adding an authentic the context of other urban development. In expression of this onto the old form. practice, all preservation involves intervention in reality and affects the surroundings, European towns and cities demonstrate the either physically, or through changing their breadth in the discussion around which his- meaning. Throughout European history torical elements should be highlighted as there have been detailed discussions not either history-bearing or identity-creating. only of what should be preserved but also Glasgow’s celebration of its industrial histo- how preserved objects should be maintained ry and the ritualisation of the Ruhr area’s and where relevant treated. Should an area industrial monuments in Emscher Park, or an object be returned to an assumed which Jens Kvorning wrote about in his original form based on fragments of know- article (pp. 50-57), attempts to link the ledge? Or does a town or city ruin lose its town or city’s identity with recent history. authenticity, its beauty, charm and patina so Other towns, such as Oslo, prioritise pre- that it becomes in practice a false copy? Or serving their landscape characteristics. can this be avoided by the preservation process clearly showing the divide between Most towns use very hybrid preservation authentic material and the new so that the strategies that vary from area to area.
  8. 8. PAGES 064-065 / URBAN IDENTITY / PRESERVATION AND/OR AUTHENTICITY BERLIN: A MAP THAT SHOWS (IN RED) NEW BUILDINGS Discussion of these complex strategies can wise, is that structural preservation allows THAT WILL BE BUILT IN THE PERIOD 2000-2010 AND AN however be reverted to the purer approach- greater freedom for new projects to rede- es, with clear theoretical justifications. fine historical traces, transfer new princi- EXAMPLE OF A RECONSTRUCTION STRATEGY. ples of architectural order onto the histor- THE GOAL IN BERLIN IS NO LONGER TO REINVENT OR CONVERT IT TO A MODERN CITY, • On one side there are the museum ical traces, and develop typologies. BUT TO CARRY OUT A SCENOGRAPHIC RECON- preservation strategies where total and STRUCTION WHERE THE CITY IS REBUILT authentic preservation of urban areas has • Narrative protection emphasises the his- USING PRINCIPLES TAKEN FROM THE HISTORI- precedence over all other considerations. torical-narrative (history-telling) elements CAL ARCHITECTURE. THIS IS ACHIEVED BY In this strategy, all new building is unde- of a town or city. Preservation work is sirable. Venice is the best example of this not focused on the whole, but on the type of strategy. often incomplete fragments. These, com- PRESERVING AND RECONSTRUCTING HISTORICAL BUILDINGS AND BY BUILDING NEW BUILDINGS IN ACCORDANCE WITH MODELS bined with new urban development, rep- OF THE OLD. USING THIS POLICY, BERLIN WANTS TO STRENGTHEN ITS HISTORICAL • Reconstruction strategies involve the resent a resource that projects can use IDENTITY AS GERMANY’S CAPITAL. THE GOAL recreation of something that has existed and make clearer. Narrative protection APPLIES TO MUCH MORE THAN THE DESIRE previously. The Polish restitution of his- therefore makes it possible to combine TO RECREATE MONUMENTS AND MAKE HIS- torical monuments and urban centres is the need for change, the need for new a clear example of a reconstruction strat- cultural expression and the documenta- egy (Karsten 1987). tion of historical continuity. The strategy TORICAL STRUCTURES VISIBLE. THE SEMANTIC ASPECT OF MORPHOLOGY IS GIVEN MEANING IN ITSELF. THE TOWN IS SEEN AS A TEXT THAT is politically and professionally more THE NEW PROJECT WILL COMPLETE. FIGURATIVE ELEMENTS THAT VISUALLY COM- • Structural preservation involves differen- MUNICATE ARE IMPORTANT FOR THE “DISCUS- tiating between stable historical structures SION” TO WORK. pragmatic than consistent reconstruction and more transitory expressions of form. Preservation work focuses on the princi- or new structural entity concepts. • General preservation of urban environ- ples that have controlled the town or city’s ments can be seen as being a fifth strat- architecture and has resulted in structures egy, even though in practice it will with a high degree of permanence. In a include elements of the four previously built-up area with a city block structure, mentioned strategies. The difference structural preservation will involve pre- with this strategy is that it builds on a serving the block division and possibly wide approach to what has value in the also the buildings’ typology. However, surroundings and links the identity con- maintaining the building pattern and the cept of built-up areas, physical proper- style may be of lesser importance. A sig- ties, and spaciousness to the concept of nificant difference between this and quality. Attitudes to what should be pre- reconstruction strategies, critical or other- served in Copenhagen’s city centre illus-
  9. 9. RESTITUTION OF RENAISSANCE HOUSES FROM THE SQUARE trate this strategy. The Danish SAVE sys- Authentic comes from the Greek word IN POZNAN. tem’s analysis methods for recording authentes for instigator. The concept means “urban architectural values” focuses on that an object is completely genuine and just these qualities. This is not primarily reliable. Authentic is a demanding concept THE HISTORICAL TOWN OR CITY HAD ITS about a complex antiquarian discussion, to use because everything is an authentic FIRST DRAMATIC BREAKTHROUGH IN EASTERN nor a thorough survey of the city’s histo- expression of what it is. The distinction EUROPE AND THAT THIS BEGAN IN THE PERI- ry, but a systematic observation of that between the genuine and the false is diffi- OD FOLLOWING THE SECOND WORLD WAR. IN which is considered to be of value in the cult to draw and changes over time. That POLAND, THE DESTRUCTION OF POLISH CUL- city’s architecture as it appears today. which was considered in its time to be a IT MAY SEEM LIKE AN ANACHRONISM THAT THE DESIRE TO TAKE CARE OF AND REBUILD TURE WAS A PART OF THE NAZI OCCUPATION cultural expression of little value can be PROGRAMME. TO REMEDY THIS PROGRAMME OF DESTRUCTION, IT WAS DECIDED IMMEDI- seen later to have value as a cultural monu- Authenticity? ment. An object’s meaning is dependent on TORICAL OBJECTS AND URBAN AREAS WHICH All preservation work is simpler than it was culture and changes with it. HAD BORNE POLISH HISTORY WOULD BE some decades ago, because cultural monu- REBUILT. ment protection has acquired political force Even so, the concept of authenticity is throughout the whole of Europe. However, important in the discussion of preservation at the same time, cultural monument pro- strategies. Urban architecture is no con- tection has become more difficult because stant. Architecture is always a tool for the whole authenticity problem with the changing societal needs, and these cannot historical narrative and meaning-bearing always be met within the historical urban International Charter for the Conservation and Resto- aspects of preservation-worthy objects and structure. The natural consequence of this is ration of Monuments and Sites, ICOMOS. Venice 1964. their environments has become more diffi- that the historical town or city makes space Karsten, I.A.: Minnesmerket - en Del av Vår Identitet. cult to relate to. Monuments rise above the for the urban functions that do not come Historiske Byer i Polen og Tsjekkoslovakia. Academic discussion. They raise ideological problems into conflict with it. While the need for dissertation at Stockholm University, Department of Art in restoration, but have a meaning-bearing physical transformation, which is the History 1987. ATELY AFTER THE WAR THAT DESTROYED HIS- REFERENCES Gjenoppbygging, Revaluering og Regenerasjon av weight that can only be damaged by authentic need for today’s urban society, is Conférence de Nara sur l’Authenticité. Japan 1995. destruction. Problems arise when the sur- met by other parts of the urban structure. Proceedings, UNESCO, 1995. roundings we use daily as part of the living The problem in the historical core can then Larsen, K.E. (ed.): Nara Conference on Authenticity - Norberg-Schultz, C.: Genius Loci - paesaggio, ambiente, city (with the power of society’s economic, be that it exists as a theme park for histori- Operational Guidelines for Implementation of the productive, social and cultural activity) cal monuments that primarily serve as World Heritage Convention. Intergovernmental become monuments worthy of preservation. wings for tourism and as an entertainment Heritage, UNESCO 1995. The fear of losing history can empty such centre in the developed urban region. The Rossi, A.: L’architettura della città. Padova: Marsilio historical monuments of meaning and make quality requirement for new architecture is 1966. them into aesthetic figures without depth. then simple - it must be like the old. architettura. Milano: Electa 1979. Committee for the World Cultural and Natural
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