Architectonic Allotropy : Towards Palimpsestic Preservation of UNESCO World Heritage Sites Zlatinis, Kosta
The regeneration of urban areas is a polemic discourse which re-establishes and redefines the complex (and ambiguous) relationships that bind the old and the new. The preservation of our built heritage renders architecture not just as brick and mortar, but a medium charged with economic, cultural and political value involving the struggle between the forces of technology and tradition, identity and memory, globalization and identity, city branding and tourism, and heritage and preservation. Centuries of architectonic interventions resulted in the emergence of a palimpsest architectural expression that embeds the traces of two (or more) architectonic characteristics resulting in architecture with a successional space/time character. Operating at the intersection of design and activism, the architectonic allotropes can go beyond UNESCO’s repetitive mechanisms that make our architectural heritage operate as an actor of political agendas. This thesis is an attempt to propose strategies and devices capable of challenging these mechanisms of preservation and to identify an alternative method for restorative preservation to the hegemonic rules established by UNESCO’s World Heritage Preservation Program. The possibility of allotropy fosters the mediation of relations between past and present - the lost, the ruin, and the new. Historical architectural works are subjugated to architectonic allotropy in their reconstruction in order to reveal the conflicts and dependencies that the restoration to the “original” conceals. In the same way, designs that are produced by allotropy attempt to reorganize societies they participate in so that these projects can act within the tensions and controversies they are part of.
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