In 1972 Unesco created the World Heritage Convention linking together the concepts of nature conservation and the preservation of cultural heritage. Based on the understanding that sites and monuments are threatened with deterioration or disappearance over time, the organization determines that those of outstanding universal value deserve special protection from the dangers they are facing. Therefore, the efforts to identify, protect, preserve, and value the sites included on this list are meant to safeguard and pass the world's cultural and natural heritage on to future generations.
World Heritage: The Latest Architecture and News
On August 17th, Brazil celebrated its National Heritage Day. Created in 1998 to honor the historian and first president of IPHAN (National Historic and Artistic Heritage Institute), Rodrigo Melo Franco de Andrade, who would have turned 100 years old. This date aims to reinforce the recognition and appreciation of the country’s cultural heritage.
The object of this architectural restoration is the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Vistabella, the work of Catalan architect Josep Maria Jujol (16 September 1879 – 1 May 1949). The original design dates from 1917 with the construction completed in 1923. The building is a magnificent and personal work of Catalan architecture.
The simplicity of the materials used—basically brick, mortar, and stone—contrasts with the spectacular formal richness of the structural solutions: columns, arches, and vaults that generate a complex, rich, and surreal interior space typical of the mysticism of Jujol.
Buenos Aires' contemporary urban landscape as we know it today provides a tempered mix of historical and recent construction projects. As one of the most beautiful cities in South America, it's wide boulevards and grand buildings, based on European models, have morphed to embrace the needs of a modern metropolis.
These images show just how profoundly time affects our cities (and how centuries-old foliage can powerfully transform spatial perception).
Browse the 20 interactive images of Buenos Aires before and after.
Small stories and architectonic practices that existed in each character filled village and provinces in Buenos Aires are here rescued by Juan Viel when he captures their atmospheres and particularities through his camera.
The variety of images and their subjects invite us to reflect on the substance and architectural heritage in these small Argentinian towns, and to think about the places where we live.
With a short career of only thirteen years, Italian architect Giuseppe Terragni (1904-1943) left an important legacy of built works that are now used as classic references of modern and rationalist architecture.
We traveled to Como and Milan to visit Terragni's emblematic works that clearly reflect his style. These projects are based on the organized configuration of architectural elements that individually appear clean, pure, and expressive, but together also form a harmonious whole.
These are: Novocomum, Casa Rustici, Asilo Sant'Elia, Casa Giuliani Frigerio and Casa Lavezzari.
The UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (commonly referred to as UNESCO) has named 17 projects in 7 countries by revolutionary Modernist architect Le Corbusier to their list of World Heritage Sites. Given to places of special cultural or physical significance, the designation will help to protect and preserve the buildings for future generations. Citing Le Corbusier’s inventive architectural language, UNESCO praised the collection of projects for “[reflecting] the solutions that the Modern Movement sought to apply during the 20th century to the challenges of inventing new architectural techniques to respond to the needs of society.”
“The inscription on the World Heritage List of 17 buildings of sites by Le Corbusier represents a strong encouragement to continue all along Le Corbusier's built work to maintain this living heritage and to hand it down to future generations,” said Fondation Le Corbusier President Antoine Picon in a statement. “It also contributes to the understanding of that complex and fragile legacy and helps its dissemination to the widest audience.”
Continue after the break for the full list of projects and images.
In 2011, after the partial collapse of the Matrera Castle in Cádiz, Spain (dating back to the 9th century) the city decided to restore the remaining tower, with the aim of preventing its collapse and protecting the few elements that were still standing.
The challenge fell into the hands of Spanish architect Carlos Quevedo Rojas, whose design received the approval of the Regional Government of Andalucía, in compliance with the Historical Heritage law 13/2007, which prohibits mimetic reconstructions and requires the use of materials that are distinct from the originals.
In the words of the architect: “This intervention sought to achieve three basic objectives: to structurally consolidate the elements that were at risk; to differentiate the additions from the original structure (avoiding the mimetic reconstructions that our law prohibits) and to recover the volume, texture and tonality that the tower originally had. The essence of the project is not intended to be, therefore, an image of the future, but rather a reflection of its own past, its own origin.”
The polemical restoration has provoked a broad international discussion about heritage restoration, and the Izquierda Unida group has said it will bring the case to the Andalusian Parliament’s Culture committee to see if the restoration was the result expected by the Ministry of Culture. On the other hand, while the building had previously received only sporadic visits, it has now become a new tourist attraction in the area.
Why has a restoration based on the anastylosis technique – which exists around the world – caused so much controversy? It is it really a “heritage massacre” as the media has said? Do you think it could have been carried out in a better way?
Join the debate and leave your comments after the break.
Italy and UNESCO have signed an agreement to create a special Italian task force to protect art, cultural sites, and ancient artifacts that are located in areas of war or conflict around the world. They will also form a center in Turin to train cultural heritage experts. The agreement arose from a proposal presented by Italy last October that was backed by 53 countries and the UN Security Council.
Conceived as the cultural version of the Blue Helmets -- the UN’s peacekeeping forces -- the group will initially be composed of 30 police detectives specializing in art theft, and 30 archeologists and art restorers and historians, who “are already operational and ready to go where UNESCO sends them,” said Dario Franceschini, the Italian Minister of Culture, during the ceremony to sign the agreement.
Since time immemorial, and more recently, humans have wondered what the world looks like from above. This fascination has historically manifested in the plan drawing and aerial photography. In this vein, and using a motorized paraglider, National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz has captured a stunning bird’s-eye view of the ancient city of Ghadames, in Libya.