Architecture MDPI – The Future of Built Heritage Conservation

Submissions Due – 30 June 2023

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The traditional understanding of heritage as tangible (physical) sites that represent authorized discourses and histories is being challenged by the postmodern conceptualization of heritage as a dynamic and pluralistic process (or performance) across space and time. Critical heritage studies, contemporary conservation theory and adaptive reuse are all contributing towards the idea of heritage as an immaterial, people-focused activity that has the power to include or exclude.

Beginning from Laurajane Smith’s (2006) established premise that ‘all heritage is intangible’, this Special Issue is seeking papers that critically evaluate, through experimental and theoretical results, how architectural heritage and adaptive reuse relate to this critical conception of heritage. What is the relationship between approaches taken towards built heritage and the contemporary thematic issues made prominent in critical heritage studies? How can architectural, conservationist and adaptative reuse strategies evolve to maintain relevance to the topical debates and issues in relation to what heritage is and means in contemporary life? What other developments in neighboring fields of inquiry and professionalism (e.g., heritage management, archaeology, cultural heritage studies) might be appropriate to consider when thinking about the evolution of built heritage conservation in this way?

This Special Issue welcomes papers that consider the future of built heritage conservation from the following perspectives:

  • The dynamic(s) between physical and non-physical heritages—intangible cultural heritage safeguarding within built heritage conservation, the transmission of intangible heritage through physical heritage(s), folklore and storytelling within the conservation process.
  • Built heritage conservation and participation—inclusive conservation, equity through conservation, community engagement and ethical considerations within the conservation process, the social process of conservation.
  • Built heritage and memory—contentious heritage, memory making and memory practices, multi-cultural and minority heritage representation, representation of the recent past, memory and conservation methods.
  • Architectural heritage and the climate emergency—the future of retrofit and reuse, anastylosis and recycling materials, natural materials movement, social sustainability, philosophical dilemmas related to material permanence and decay.
  • Digital futures for built heritage—future experiences of heritage, digital conservation and reconstruction methods, web-based methods, data mining, the role of the metaverse, evolving understandings of ‘authenticity’ in a digital context.

This Special Issue welcomes papers from a variety of architectural and non-architectural backgrounds providing the discourse is framed around the conservation and/or adaptation of built heritage. Papers can be methodologically motivated, data-driven, case study-focused or wholly theoretical.

Dr. Johnathan Djabarouti
Guest Editor