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Architectural heritage and environmental mutations: typologies, representations, transitions

Héritage architectural et mutations environnementales : typologies, représentations, transitions

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Published on Friday, January 14, 2022 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

Even if publications, studies and trainings interested in a so-called ecological architecture areextremely numerous today, the vast majority of them do not apply on the long term and to the existing heritage. And when it is the case, the subject is generally related to the architectural and urban production after 1945. We would like to broaden this concern to other periods and inscribe the work of the proposed seminar in an environmental history.

Announcement

Argument

Even if publications, studies and trainings interested in a so-called ecological architecture areextremely numerous today, the vast majority of them do not apply on the long term and to the existing heritage. And when it is the case, the subject is generally related to the architectural and urban production after 1945. We would like to broaden this concern to other periods and inscribe the work of the proposed seminar in an environmental history.

Indeed, it seems to us that urban-environmental history poses many questions for architects, urban planners and landscape architects, starting with the potential expansion of the concept of heritage. It is no longer only a question of the material or immaterial products of cultures, inscribed in achronology, but of all that is threatened by the accumulation of waste and by the acceleration ofhuman activities. Among these threats, we know that industrialized construction and developmentare major ones.

Thus, it is a mode of financial, economic, social and architectural organization that is revealed through this environmental prism - or rather through a history that places the built environment at the center, echoing the historical concept of Lewis Mumford (Technics and Civilization, 1934) and the reflections of Frank Lloyd Wright (Disappearing City, 1932). The more recent works (Roderick Nash,1972), which were still based on an uncertain disengagement from an idealized representation of nature deeply rooted in the United States, were replaced in the 1990s by a more robust vision, coinciding with a broadening of interest in this research to other countries, notably India, England, Australia, and then, in the 2000s, the Scandinavian countries, Canada, Switzerland and Germany.

The rise of urban-environmental history came from the United States, with the pioneering works of Andrew Hurley on Gary (Environmental Inequalities: Class, Race and Industrial Pollution in Gary,Indiana, 1995), Ari Kelman on New Orleans (A River and Its City: Nature and Landscape in New Orleans, 2003) or the sum edited by Mohsen Mostafavi and Gareth Doherty, Ecological Urbanism (2010).

In France, Isabelle Backouche published her book La trace du fleuve, la Seine et Paris (2000), Sabine Barles L'invention des déchets urbains (2005) and André Guillerme La naissance de l'industrie à Paris, entre sueur et vapeur (2007). Simon Schama's book Le Paysage et la mémoire (1999) points to acertain poverty in environmental history, failing to propose methods. To what extent did the earlyworks of Fernand Braudel in l'Identité de la France in 1987, those of Emmanuel Leroy-Ladurie in l'Histoire du climat depuis l'an Milin1967 (revisited in 2009 with his study Le réchauffement de 1860 à nos jours), or those of Georges Bertrand (Pour une histoire écologique de la France rurale, 1975) give the impression that they had exhausted the subject? However, these works were attached from rather far to the urban environment, whereas architectures of theory (Reyner Banham, 1971) or of criticism (Archigram, 1961-1974), were already active, and also of numerous experiments of buildings employing the geothermic or solar energies.

Thierry Paquot in Urbanisme nr 348 (2006) and Geneviève Massard-Guilbaud in Histoire Urbaine nr18 (2007) provide synthesis articles: respectively "Éco-urbanisme" and "Pour une histoire environnementale de l'urbain". The latter had edited with Bill Luckin and Gilbert Schott Urban Environment: Resources, Perceptions, Uses (2005). Mireille Couréent published in 2011 only the fruits of a thesis defended since 1995: De architectiscientia. Idée de nature et théorie de l'art dans le Dearchitectura de Vitruve, warning us that the Roman architect's conception of nature gave "a framework to the practice of architecture". More recently, Jean-Baptiste Fressoz has traced a history of technological risks in L'apocalypse joyeuse (2012), Gregory Quénet has illustrated what an environmental history attached to the political project and architectural program can be in his book Versailles, une histoire naturelle (2015), Catherine Maumi has subjected the work of Frank Lloyd Wright to close scrutiny in a "presentation" of his Broadacre City, la nouvelle frontier (2015), and Charles-François Mathis and Émilie-Anne Pépy have published Histoire de la nature en milieu urbain (2017).

Thus, delving into a history that sometimes goes back to the origins of architectural treatises, the new generations of environmental history are gradually turning away from the initial nostalgia that was expressed by the vision of a nature oppressed and polluted by humans, to focus on the weighing of anthropized situations over the long term in urban environments. The question posed is no longer that of a state of nature opposed to an "anthropocene", considering one as ideal and the other asharmful. The degradation of the environment is not posed as a state but as a continuous and negotiated historical process in which the construction of a relationship between humans and their environment is analyzed in each period and each singular situation.

In relation to the question of architecture, heritage and creation, several approaches of contribution can be suggested. These are neither exclusive nor univocal, since it is a question of encouraging the transversality and the complementarity of our respective specialties and disciplines:

The historiographic approach. Concerns related to the environment and climate change are nowadays a consensus in the world of architecture and heritage. While avoiding any anachronism, we can try to interpret a certain number of practices and discourses, emerging since the Industrial Revolution and possibly even earlier, through the prism of a retrospective ecology. If, for example, the transformation of the existing, the reuse or the reversibility are currently put at the service of a sustainable architecture, how to interpret the older vernacular and empirical practices?

The technical and constructive approach. The methods of expertise, the diagnosis on the building, on the technological evolutions facilitating the transformations of the existing, on the restoration or on the improvement of the thermal performances of a building, could be the object of comparative analyses.

The theoretical approach. The modifications of the relation of the man to his environment, confronted with the questioning of the built and landscape heritages, are frequently analyzed in a fragmentary and not systemic way. To what extent do the texts, discourses and teachings on architectural heritage theories include an ecological problematic? What are the postures adopted by practicing architects and/or teaching architects with regard to this concern crossing heritage and environmental mutations?

The regulatory and legal approach. What are the effects of the policies initiated since the beginning of the 1980s and their implementation? What comparative framework can be drawn on a national and international scale?

Thus, focusing on both the short and the long term, paper proposals should be interested in the relationship between heritage and environment.

Understood in a broad sense and on different scales - architectural, urban, landscape - the notion of heritage will allow us to consider exceptional, ordinary and/or serial production with regard to specific technical devices aimed at learning from and taking advantage of new climatic conditions. Particular attention will be paid to the heritage of the habitat, its materiality, its organization and the relationships that these visions of the environment establishes with comfort, health and vulnerabilities.

Submission guidelines

  • Call for papers launched : January 6th 2021
  • Deadline for submission of proposals : February 6th 2022

  • Notification to authors : March 6th 2022
  • Holding of the seminar : May 12th 13th 2022

Propositions of 220 words are to sent to the organizers (seminaireapc6@paris-valdeseine.archi.fr) with a biography of 70 words. Texts in french or english (both are the languages of the symposium). 

Steering committee 

ENSA Paris Val de Seine

  • Philippe Bach, Directeur
  • Dominique Mathieu-Huber, directrice administrative de la recherche  
  • Anne Petitjean, directrice de la Communication 
  • Etienne Léna, MCF
  • Christel Palant, MCF
  • Dimitri Toubanos, MCF / réseau ENSAECO
  • Laurence Veillet, MCFA
  • Gilles-Antoine Langlois, PR, président de la commission de la recherche  
  • Donato Severo, PR
  • Elie Antoun, doctorant evcau-ensapvs
  • Zineb Bennouna, doctorante evcau-ensapvs

Scientific Network "Architecture heritage creation"

  • Philippe Dufieux, Professeur ENSA de Lyon,
  • Benjamin Chavardès, MCF ENSA de Lyon.

Scientific committee

  • Catherine Maumi, PR ENSA de Paris La Villette 
  • Marie Gaimard, co-directrice du laboratoire EVCAU 
  • Antonella Tufano, CNAM – Centre d’Histoire des Techniques en société.
  • Jonathan W. Reich, professor Architecture Department, California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo (USA) 
  • Laurence Gillot, Université Libre de Bruxelles 
  • Giulia Marino, Université catholique de Louvain
  • Zhang Chun Yan, professeur Université de Tianjin

Places

  • 3 Quai Panhard et Levassor
    Paris, France (75013)

Date(s)

  • Sunday, February 06, 2022

Keywords

  • histoire, mutation, environnement, patrimoine, architecture, urbanisme

Contact(s)

  • Christel Palant
    courriel : christel [dot] palant [at] paris-valdeseine [dot] archi [dot] fr
  • Etienne Léna
    courriel : etienne [dot] lena [at] paris-valdeseine [dot] archi [dot] fr
  • Dimitri Toubanos
    courriel : dimitri [dot] toubanos [at] paris-valdeseine [dot] archi [dot] fr
  • Laurence Veillet
    courriel : laurence [dot] veillet [at] paris-valdeseine [dot] archi [dot] fr

Information source

  • Christel Palant
    courriel : christel [dot] palant [at] paris-valdeseine [dot] archi [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Architectural heritage and environmental mutations: typologies, representations, transitions », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, January 14, 2022, https://calenda.org/953225

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