ICCROM Built Heritage Forum at Tongji: Third Day Site Visit

On the last day, we visited two buildings in Shanghai, one slaughter house built in 1920s and Shanghai Centre finished in 2015. The former was an Arts and Crafts building purpose built as a slaughter house. Made in concrete and with the architect unknown, the design was different from any building found in Shanghai.

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ICCROM Built Heritage Forum at Tongji: First Day Morning Session Notes

The common themes during the morning speeches:

  • Heritage is not about admiring heritage itself but the value for development
  • Man = heritage/heritage = man
  • Heritage is not static
  • Heritage needs to be more process-driven and contribute to urbanisation
  • Destruction of heritage in China is too fast = protection is not fast enough
  • Culture as driver
  • Combine theory and practice
  • Heritage as an asset/resource

Alain Marinos from Chaillot in Paris

  • Case studies of heritage places utilized by the new generation and ‘third spaces’ in France
  • La Halle Pajol in Paris, his son works in there as one of the start-ups
  • Parc de la Vilette by Tsumi
  • The project is started by the community
    • It is from the ground up and government performs a supporting role to enable its visualisation
    • The government has since then been able to use this as a case study to support other kinds of community activities
    • What is essential is the community and their initiative

陈薇教授 from Northeast University

  • 金陵大报恩寺与塔的前世今生
  • Jin Ling Da En Temple and Tower
  • The tower had a heritage that existed in words, not in physical form
    • That is representative of Chinese heritage which was transmitted differently than Western heritage
  • The tower exists as ruins in some parts and completely absent in others
  • Different sections merit different strategies of conservation
    • Based on their historical importance
    • Issue of authenticity is key
    • How do you connect pieces?
    • How do you reconstruct history?
    • Framework is the most important to connect the pieces
      • From that people would be able to perceive and imagine with and within the framework – they can become active participants
    • That framework knowledge is understood through surveying and evaluating

张杰教授

  • 景德镇工业遗产
  • Regeneration of ceramic industrial heritage in Jingde Town
  • Intangible heritage and transmission/dissemination
  • Three key pointers
    • Conservation through social and economic development
    • Public space and urban infrastructure
    • Continuity of craftsmanship
  • Use industry as a driver of urban development (also providing employment)

ICCROM Built Heritage Forum at Tongji: Background Information on ICCROM

Built Heritage: A Cultural Motivator for Urban and Rural Development

In terms of ICCROM, the international organisation is more focused on training in the heritage sector. In terms of size, the order would be UNESCO > ICOMOS > ICCROM. In terms of operations, UNESCO takes charge of listing, ICOMOS takes charge of recommendations and identification and ICCROM in terms of training and education of people in practice. ICOMOS has been referred by people in the field (e.g. Matthias) as a ‘black box’, talking about its dire need to be more transparent and become less of a club and more of an inclusive organisation. UNESCO’s top-down approach of Charters and documents have also been commented on as being not effective on the ground, or even not been cared about. The ICCROM is, on the other hand, a much less known branch in built heritage. However, it is associated with WHITRAP, a training arm of UNESCO and was started in Suzhou, as an initiative by the Chinese government to bring people together since 2004.

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Linked Hybrid

Went to Steven Holl’s Linked Hybrid, which turned out to be much shorter than the impression that I got from the pictures, perhaps because the buildings beside it were at a Chinese scale of 50 stories. The architecture was unsurprisingly like the photos. I almost wished that there were more surprises to discover, even though the cinema was rather pleasant to find, especially when this building did not scream ‘look at me’ like the other ones. Unfortunately, the linked hybrid does not work as a public square as the entrances are heavily guarded. The combination of residential blocks surrounding public-serving restaurants and a stand-alone cinema was a wild stab by an American architect trying to create publicness in a residential community. But how can you prevent gated communities when the definition of ‘good’ is exclusivity? On the other hand, however, maybe it is a look at what the definition of ‘public space’ is. People who lived in the linked hybrid obviously enjoyed the courtyards and water features. There were mums with babies hanging out on the bridges and couples taking strolls. That use of space is public to its residents, a feature that is common in almost all gated communities. There is a need for public space close to home, or in other words, public spaces that have their basis in residential quarters. Why would other people use these public spaces other than for commerial/entertainment uses? So the question becomes, why does the gated communities need to be public to everybody?