Critical encyclopaedia of restoration and reuse of XXth century architecture
Design for existing structures, whether concerned with rehabilitation or functional refurbishment, restoration or conservation, or with technical-constructional skills, requires capability and practical knowledge of ad hoc design strategies supported by appropriate critical and operational tools. Suitable strategies and techniques do not yet feature in current design teaching curricula in Swiss colleges, yet they ought to be part of the academic programs followed by architecture students, especially as 70% of the work currently carried out in the country concerns the existing building stock.Recent successes in reuse and rehabilitation, ranging from cases of individual buildings to urban schemes, whether concerned with traditional heritage or XXth century architecture, have shown how design begins with the study of history, leading to a reconstruction of the past life of the object and an examination of the various aspects that define its intrinsic character in relation to a precise given context. Understanding the material history of built structures (including the essential work of geometric survey and material-constructional analysis), together with historical and critical investigation supported by a state-of-preservation diagnosis and multi-level thematic assessments, are therefore key instruments. They are central to developing an understanding of the object and are useful in identifying design potential and defining intervention strategies.This project aims to develop a “Critical encyclopaedia of restoration and reuse of XXth century architecture”. The term “encyclopaedia” refers to the systematic sorting of knowledge and its delivery in an ordered and organic form; the adjective “critical” underlines the selective and non-exhaustive nature of the project.The Critical encyclopaedia will be a systematic inventory of subjects and learning referred to XXth century buildings as objects of guardianship, and a field for interaction between the many actors involved in conservation-restoration (historians, archeologists, architects, engineers, builders, anthropologists, etc.) opening up possibilities for inter-regional collaboration between different institutions. It will be essential for the training and practice of architects as well as other specialists operating in the areas of restoration and reuse of XXth century architectural heritage.