Course

Cultural Heritage in Transformation


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Cultural Heritage in Transformation: Learn how to define, explore, conserve, utilize and manage cultural heritage.

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In recent decades the sustainable conservation of cultural heritage has become a crucial global challenge. In this context, the trend towards largescale urbanization raises questions as to how new development can take place which respects and maintains the intrinsic values and unique qualities which have been handed down from previous generations, particularly within urban areas.

The course addresses these themes by providing participants with the skills to define, explore, conserve, utilize and manage cultural heritage. Throughout the course, you will be introduced to various methodologies and thematic approaches relevant to these skills using the City of Aachen as an example. Through case studies drawn from Aachen and beyond, you will explore examples at a range of spatial scales; from landscape and city scale to individual buildings and artifacts.

Revision questions and assignments will enable you to consolidate your newly acquired skills and to implement these approaches within the city or town of your choice.

  • The process of defining cultural heritage
  • Various methods to explore cultural heritage
  • Practices dedicated to sustaining cultural heritage and its assets
  • Adaptation strategies regarding the utilization and the management of cultural heritage

WEEK 1: Approaching Cultural Heritage: Introduction to the Course
Week 1 covers the introduction of RWTH Aachen University, its Faculty of Architecture and the Cultural Heritage Group in which several departments team up to approach cultural heritage from various perspectives but with a comprehensive and systematic approach.

WEEK 2: Approaching Aachen: Introduction to the City and its Cultural Heritage
In Week 2, the City of Aachen and its cultural heritage are used as a starting point for the course. The history of the city is briefly outlined and its heritage features are introduced at their different spatial scales, from landscape and city scale to individual buildings and artifacts.

WEEK 3: Defining Cultural Heritage
In Week 3, the process of defining cultural heritage is discussed. This process is approached through criteria-based and also from socially based perspectives. The module gives special emphasis to UNESCO World Heritage, with the Aachen Cathedral providing an outstanding example.

WEEK 4: Exploring Cultural Heritage
Week 4 is dedicated to using various methods to approach and describe cultural heritage. These methods range from archeological to experimental research. They are again exemplified by the City of Aachen’s heritage features.

WEEK 5: Conserving, Utilizing and Managing Cultural Heritage
During Week 5, an insight in practices dedicated to sustaining cultural heritage and its assets is provided. Due to ongoing challenges such as urbanization and the globalization of markets, the conservation of heritage for intrinsic value alone is not always possible. Against this background, adaptation strategies such as the utilization and management of cultural heritage are explained during this week. Whilst developing these themes, the presenters will move beyond the example of Aachen and report on innovations which have happened in other European regions.

Cultural Heritage in Transformation
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