Conservation Network


In its present form the Conservation Network of EAAE came into being in 2007. Prior to this event, two meetings on conservation had been organized by the “Lemaire Centre our la Conservation”, the Katholieke Universiteit at Leuven. The Network is an open one, structured around intensive workshops held every two years, hosted by a member school of EAAE. Eight workshops have been held: Genoa 2007, Dublin 2009, Bucharest 2011, Rome 2013, Hasselt 2015, A Coruna 2017, Prague 2019 and Porto 2022. Proceedings are peer-reviewed, published by EAAE and are accessible on the EAAE website under “Transactions”.

The workshops create opportunities for academics and practitioners in conservation, who are engaged in architectural education, to discuss the theoretical and practical issues encountered in conservation of the architectural inheritance of buildings, towns and created landscapes. Discussions take place in the context of real sites and participants are asked to relate the issues and experiences to the teaching of architecture. Each workshop has focused on distinct areas of concern, and the format adopted has responded to the experiences of the events and the feedback received from participants. Each workshop has posed different challenges to participants and to the organizers and coordinators. As always, the primary challenge is to remain open as to how best to achieve the goals of the network and EAAE.

In addition to the workshops, intermediate meetings are held to reflect on workshop experiences and to consider proposals for the next workshop event

Recent and continuing activities

The proceedings of Workshop 8, held in Porto in 2022, are currently in preparation. Papers have been edited, revised and re-submitted. Final editing is underway with the expectation of publication in June 2024.

Workshop 9 will be held in Genoa, Italy in September 2024 with the title, Conservation/ Creation: the contribution of Conservation to urban futures.

In the context of a fast-changing world, affected by natural and human hazards and by social and economic transformations, the workshop intends to discuss the role that Conservation can play as a positive source of energy, ideas, and tools in supporting the quality lives of places. We have chosen the city of Genova and its historic centre as a place to ground our work. Genova is a medium sized city (about 600.000 inhabitants) with one of the larger and more ancient historic centres in Europe, characterized by layered traces of urban and architectural history and by a very complex social and economic situation. It can thus be an interesting vantage point for reflection about the future of urban settlements around Europe, which face deep phenomena of change, such as gentrification, loss of population and of economic activities, immigration and increasing cultural mixite.

From this perspective, the management of change often seems to set in opposition the needs for conserving the physical inheritance, with all the values embedded in its buildings and spaces, against those of novelty and of new solutions. Conservation is seen as a reactive response, at the opposite pole to creative action. It is not. Even if we looked only to the conservation of material aspects, it implies change, innovation, and some degree of transformation. If we go beyond this level, we can easily see that the restoration project brings something new into being, renovating our living environments while respecting their histories and values. The workshop intends to move beyond polarization. Conservation is not simply the opposite of creation.

The term “creation” designates “the act or process of making, producing, or building something” (Cambridge Dictionary).
It is a fact of life that contemporary additions are sometimes necessary to give a useful life to historical spaces, buildings, and settlements, and thus involving creation as part of a conservation process. At the same time, an appropriate new use assigned to a redundant old building, as well as the regeneration of urban settlements, are conservation acts involving creativity, leading to the creation of a new life for heritage resources. And finally, conservation results in the creation of new social and economic values.

The workshop will put before the participants different situations and problems existing or emerging within the historic centre of Genova as a means of generating dialogue and debate on the following topics:

  1. Conservation as a medium for creation (or an expression of creation)
  2. Physical conservation as a condition for social and cultural vitality
  3. Old and new as dimensions of the future: the embrace of hybridity

 Co- coordinators:

Professor Stefano Francesco Musso, University of Genoa
Professor Emeritus Loughlin Kealy, University College Dublin