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The relation between a person (the subject) and the built environment intensifies at heritage sites. The tactility of the aged materials, the personal memories from the site, or the overarching historical atmosphere, can have a great impact on individuals. Established organisations and heritage experts often select and determent the value of heritage sites, whereas the individual perception and subjective attachment is disregarded.
When dealing with heritage, two aspects can be considered in relation to the perception of a historical site: an individual perception and a collective perception. Marc Augé describes in “Non-Places” the importance of places not being “completely erased” and having a relational value, historic value and an identity (Augé 1995). Emotions and the built environment are interlinked, but when dealing with heritage sites, the aged materials and the historical references are furthermore relatable for the subject. The impact of the senses or the emotional attachment to the site is individually perceived, however not detached from a collective understanding, which can be described as a ‘collective memory’.
When heritage is facing restorations, change of use and transformations (eventually generating alterations) the organizational approach is not “democratic”. Ultimately, heritage is strongly connected to an individual perception and a collective memory, hence the design methods should consist of an inclusive approach: a balance between top-down and bottom-up. Site-specific design interventions are often used in urban planning and this method strives to inform, include and invite the local community to participate in the development. Jason Fezer describes in “Catalyst Architecture: The Power of Temporary Use” how small designs can resemble acupuncture that, with a small needle, gives energy to an area beyond the small pin (Fezer 2013). The integration of the local community through design interventions can vary from e.g.: an actual cooperation/co-design, to casual interaction with the design (using it, watching it, touching it). A site-specific design intervention can target the diversity of a community, and it can be a mean to understand both the individual relation and the collective relation to the historical area/building prior to permanent design alterations.
Augé, Marc 1995, “Non-Places, Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity”, translated by John Howe, published by: Verso, London, England and New York, USA.
Fezer, Jesko, 2013, p. 165 in “Urban Catalyst: The Power of Temporary Use” by Philipp Oswalt, Klaus Overmeyer, Philipp Misselwitz, published in Berlin, Germany, DOM Publishers
Original languageDanish
Publication date17 Dec 2020
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2020
EventAMPS - Experiential Design: Rethinking relations between people, objects and environments - Florida State University, Tallahassee, United States
Duration: 16 Jan 202017 Jan 2020


ConferenceAMPS - Experiential Design
LocationFlorida State University
Country/TerritoryUnited States
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Artistic research

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