Adaptive reuse processes aim to preserve heritage values while creating new values through the architectural interventions that have become necessary. This claim provokes a discussion about the meaning of values, how we can preserve them in practice and how we can translate them into architectural qualities that users experience. Riegl's understanding of the different perspectives of heritage values in the past and present opens up the possibility of identifying present values as a reflection of current social, material and political conditions in the architectural discourse.
This qualitative and practical study compares two Belgian projects to trace the use of values in adaptive reuse projects from an architectural design perspective. The Predikherenklooster, a 17th-century monastery in Mechelen that now houses the public library, and the C-Mine cultural centre in Genk, a former 20th-century coal mine, are compared. The starting point is Flemish legislation, which defines significance through values, distinguishing between 13 heritage values.
The study demonstrates the opportunities that axiological questions offer during the design process of an adaptive reuse project. They provide an overarching framework for tangible and intangible aspects that need to be discussed, particularly in terms of the link between what exists, the design strategy and their effect.
Adaptive reuse can draw on approaches from both heritage conservation and contemporary architecture and explore values as a tool for “re-designing” built heritage.
The authors would like to thank the team at Vlaams Bouwmeester and the City of Genk for kindly providing the documents. Further, the authors would like to acknowledge the reviewers' and editors' contributions to strengthening the text and its arguments.
Augustiniok, N., Houbart, C., Plevoets, B. and Van Cleempoel, K. (2023), "Adaptive reuse of built heritage: conserving and designing with values", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCHMSD-05-2023-0068
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