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One of the architect’s missions consist of acting on an existing building that presents problems.When we refurbish a building we are trying to maintain what we refer to architectural heritage.

What is heritage?

The set of assets acquired by inheritance.

What is a Culture?

It is the set of lifestyles, customs, knowledge and degree of artistic, scientific, industrial development, in an epoch, social group

And Cultural Heritage?

It is the set of assets that have to do with the culture of a people, nation, city, society…
This concept is important because it implies the cultural identity of a people.


In the 2nd half of the 20th century the concept of CULTURAL ASSET broader than the one of monument is formulated. It integrates objects with historical or artistic value, monument.

If traditional history had focused on the great political events, military events, scientific conquests, discoveries … and therefore monument constituted its best representation,
then new history centers its interest in man and his existence, the instruments of work, the utensils of everyday use, showing an all-encompassing dimension. Cultural asset constituted its best representation in this last case.

Why preserving heritage?

Preservation is a method of not losing the VALUES OF CULTURAL IDENTITY.

The VALUES of Heritage:
• cultural value
• artistic value/aesthetic value • historical value
• value of authenticity
• value of antiquity
• functional/social value
• economic value

What should be preserved?

a) Protection of values:
Protect not only the physical architectural heritage but also its values
b) Physical conservation:

  • matter
  • construction techniques
  • shapes, dimensions
  • colours, materials, textures – character
  • use
  • environment
  • meanings…
    c) Enhancement (valorisation):
    Make the building show and explain its values.

How to preserve them?


  1. Protecting by laws and riles
  2. Inventorying
  3. Cataloguing


  1. Preservating the environment

Operations to be performed on the good to ensure its survival against hazards or possible damages (environmental incidences, weather…).

2) Maintainance with constructive technology

An operation designed to prolong and maintain as long as possible the materials from which the object is made.

3) Replacing

In the case of buildings, it means to fix the damaged parts: roof, walls, eaves, gutters…

4)Consolidating the structure

Consolidation is a particular way of preserving, reinforcing structural, constructive or material elements by giving them greater consistency or solidity.

5) Renovating the aesthetics

It is a direct intervention on the monument whose purpose is the restitution or improvement of the legibility that is lost over time

6) Adapatating its function

Enable or return something to its former state of efficiency or functionality. Also new functions and uses are possible.

7) Reconstructing its identity

It is a procedure of integral or partial reconstruction of the building

8) Anastylosis

Archaeological term for a technique whereby a ruined building or monument is rebuilt using original architectural elements.

9) Restoration of history

Action of returning a monument to its earlier