Renovation of social housing: a tectonic dialogue between past and present?

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaper without publisher/journalResearchpeer-review

Abstract

“…designers work with that of others who have preceded them, when working to alter a building, and also in precedence of those who will come after them. The work of intervention and alteration is thus collective, across generations…” (Scott, 2008, preface). In this phrase, Fred Scott advocates an understanding of the built environment as a spatial continuum that is in constant alteration. When we engage in the renovation of a building, we inevitably enter into a dialogue with this continuum.

The motivation to alter an existing building may be decay and change in the use, or, as has been the case in Denmark in recent years; environmental or legislative demands for energy optimisations. The vast majority of the existing building mass will still be in operation in 2050, and as such, the question of energy renovations form an important part of the government’s strategy to reduce the overall energy consumption in the building sector. This planned transformation towards a more energy-efficient building mass involves changes in the building envelope and, as such, is likely to influence the experience of the built environment dramatically, both interior and exterior. Recent research shows, however, that there is limited attention to the vital aspect of experienced architectural quality in contemporary energy renovation practice. This demonstrates an urgent need for strategies in articulating the spatial potential within this technical transformation process in coherence with the continuum that Scott describes. As a response, it is the hypothesis of this paper that the development of a tectonic approach to energy renovation can help bridge the gap between spatial and technical aspects in the energy renovation process and there through support an improved architectural dialogue between the past and the present in the renovation of social housing.

Methodologically, this hypothesis is investigated by re-reading the task of energy renovation through the lens of tectonic architectural theory. Specifically, Eduard Sekler’s etymological distinction between structure, construction, and tectonics is developed as a framework for addressing the spatial implications and potentials of technical initiatives in contemporary energy renovations within the continuum described by Scott. The framework is applied in two case studies of recent energy renovations of social housing dwellings. Finally, the paper discusses whether the technical concepts applied in these alterations have been realised in a manner, which supports the everyday living tectonically through articulated ‘spatial gestures’ that add to the architectural experience of the dwellings.
Close

Details

“…designers work with that of others who have preceded them, when working to alter a building, and also in precedence of those who will come after them. The work of intervention and alteration is thus collective, across generations…” (Scott, 2008, preface). In this phrase, Fred Scott advocates an understanding of the built environment as a spatial continuum that is in constant alteration. When we engage in the renovation of a building, we inevitably enter into a dialogue with this continuum.

The motivation to alter an existing building may be decay and change in the use, or, as has been the case in Denmark in recent years; environmental or legislative demands for energy optimisations. The vast majority of the existing building mass will still be in operation in 2050, and as such, the question of energy renovations form an important part of the government’s strategy to reduce the overall energy consumption in the building sector. This planned transformation towards a more energy-efficient building mass involves changes in the building envelope and, as such, is likely to influence the experience of the built environment dramatically, both interior and exterior. Recent research shows, however, that there is limited attention to the vital aspect of experienced architectural quality in contemporary energy renovation practice. This demonstrates an urgent need for strategies in articulating the spatial potential within this technical transformation process in coherence with the continuum that Scott describes. As a response, it is the hypothesis of this paper that the development of a tectonic approach to energy renovation can help bridge the gap between spatial and technical aspects in the energy renovation process and there through support an improved architectural dialogue between the past and the present in the renovation of social housing.

Methodologically, this hypothesis is investigated by re-reading the task of energy renovation through the lens of tectonic architectural theory. Specifically, Eduard Sekler’s etymological distinction between structure, construction, and tectonics is developed as a framework for addressing the spatial implications and potentials of technical initiatives in contemporary energy renovations within the continuum described by Scott. The framework is applied in two case studies of recent energy renovations of social housing dwellings. Finally, the paper discusses whether the technical concepts applied in these alterations have been realised in a manner, which supports the everyday living tectonically through articulated ‘spatial gestures’ that add to the architectural experience of the dwellings.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
EventNAF 2017 Symposium: Reflecting Histories and Directing Futures -
Duration: 15 Jun 201716 Jun 2017
https://www.nmbu.no/studier/evu/kurs/node/30175

Conference

ConferenceNAF 2017 Symposium: Reflecting Histories and Directing Futures
Period15/06/201716/06/2017
Internet address

    Research areas

  • Tectonics, Architectural alteration, Energy renovation
ID: 257606420