Bereft of people, beautiful buildings just empty shells

December 15th, 2008 - 1:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 15 (IANS) A building designed to recapture the past may evoke nostalgia, but bereft of real people, it will be like an empty shell. “Buildings and settings alone do not make a place,” said Kingston Heath, professor of historic preservation at the University of Oregon.

Heath draws attention to a niche architecture and urban design professionals who have begun to challenge the practice of designing structures that simply strive to reproduce the past. This field is called “situated regionalism”.

Regionally based architecture, Heath said, uses data, not imagery, of how buildings and their uses have changed over time to reflect what people can use according to needs, said an Oregon release.

“The end result may or may not look like something in the past,” Heath said, “but ultimately it will be situated in the current human condition” and needs.

As time moves on, new people, perhaps coming with different cultural traditions and preferences move in, modifying the way existing buildings are used.

Environmental conditions may change, along with new technologies and new ways of social approaches to building use. “Hybridity results,” he said.

These findings were presented at the annual meeting of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments in Oxford, Britain.

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