Re-encoding Remains of Dehabitation

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskningpeer review


While the major cities in Denmark experience growth in population, as well as in economy, the sur-rounding rural areas face abandoned villages and an increasing stage of decay.
This research project focuses on the abandoned houses, seeking an alternative to today’s practice, which is based on EU and state funded demolition programmes. These programmes are executed massively without questioning the consequences of loss of material and immaterial values such as cultural heritage, building density and local narratives.
The project relates to similar migration tendencies all over Europe and involves discussions of in-ternational efforts in the field, though the main focus will be rural Denmark. Previous studies main-ly focussed on economic development in rural areas . The present project tests the possibilities of transforming abandoned buildings in order to distil and disclose embedded hidden values. Accord-ingly the project is addressing the question: Can transformed abandoned buildings contribute to the development of rural areas without growth as primary objective?

Fig. 1 Students work: Intervention in an abandoned farmhouse 2012

The cases
The project consists of three case studies, executed as a series of full-scale transformations of abandoned buildings. The case studies vary in contents as well as in the time perspective, in order to broaden the discussion. The aspect of time is ubiquitous in the migration mechanisms leading to dehabitation, therefore the period of each case study will decrease proportional to the progression of the project. The three case studies will be evaluated individually as well as in a continuum.

The aim of the case studies is to develop and test full-scale transformation prototypes in an au-thentic environment. Local media will be used to reinforce interaction with the local people. This interaction and direct response can be seen as real life peers and is considered an important im-pact indicator and supplement to the physical transformations. Gained experience will be inherited from case to case in order to shape framework of following cases .

The project originates from three educational workshops from 2011 to 2013 at Aarhus School of Architecture (fig. 1), where the case study framework has been tested. The case studies will bene-fit from gained experience and will be implemented as research based teaching.
The geographical area for the case studies is limited to the Municipality of Thisted, Denmark, ideal due to its many identified small communities in varied stages of dehabitation.

In this abstract we focus on Case 1: Transformations of three buildings into controlled ruins, con-sisting of two parts. First part is the planning, execution and documentation of the transformations themselves as research based teaching. Second part is an evaluation hereof, which will be repre-sented as drawings, time-lapses, photos, and media responses as well as video interviews with lo-cals, municipality and students. It is envisioned to repeat this type of transformation after some time in the same environment, hereby testing and comparing the different stages of decay and lo-cal response over time in multiple transformations. Case 1 will be executed March 2014 and first results will be evaluated before ISSRM 2014.

The two remaining case studies will be developed later on. Case 2 will be based on de-implementation of a new function in a part of an abandoned industrial plant. Case 3 will consist of event based short-term transformations of several houses as a theatre installation, focusing on the entire period of the process, thus from the time of loss of function to the completion of the demoli-tion.

Contrary to common practise, the present research begins with full-scale transformations with build-in use of local responses as feedback mechanism and develops into a strategic planning level.
Architects and artists like Gordon Matta-Clark and Rachel Whiteread have worked with transfor-mations of abandoned buildings though an artistic approach in the 70ties and 90ties. In addition this research project seeks to connect architectural practice through physical transformations to both local community and rural planning level.
At the ISSRM 2014 we can present: Three transformed buildings, reactions and discussions with the local people, students, politicians and municipality, and possible feedback from the local press, hereby broaden the understanding of the local feeling and atmospheres in the community.
This presentation will be based on these findings as well as reflect on its future potentials for rural planning policy.
Publikationsdato11 jun. 2014
Antal sider2
StatusUdgivet - 11 jun. 2014
BegivenhedISSRM 2014 - IASNR, Hannover, Tyskland
Varighed: 9 jun. 201413 jun. 2014


KonferenceISSRM 2014


  • tranformation
  • affolkning
  • forfald
  • ruin

Kunstnerisk udviklingsvirksomhed (KUV)

  • Ja