UBC Graduate Research

Reclaiming History : Preservation of the everyday Mavis, Derek


Preservation has historically privileged the monumental. The concept of historical preservation grew from political ambitions to claim legitimacy and a desire to promote an idealized city. The historical provenance of a building became the only determining factor when deciding whether or not to preserve the buildings. A Buildings value, however, is much more complicated than it’s singular historical provenance. A building is a place of interaction with humans. We form memories with buildings, and imprint ourselves onto the buildings. Architecture can be read as a physical copy of the story of humanity. But as buildings decay and are lost, chapters of humanity are lost with them, unless they are preserved. Shifting how we view preservation and what we value as historically important can change what buildings we preserve, and how we preserve them. Looking towards the everyday life of buildings and people as equally important as the broader cultural significance avoids the everyday becoming lost to the monumental. Preservation of the everyday, while contrary to the monumental, preserves what the monumental tries to invoke.

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