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Title: Valuing modern architectural heritage in the UK and China : case studies of the changing nature, expression and use of heritage value
Authors: Dai, Yun
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This research reviews how the heritage of modern architecture has been valued. In particular, it studies how modern buildings and their meanings have been created, disseminated, contested, revised and employed in different social, political, economic and cultural circumstances. Six case studies are examined, representing chronological episodes in the modern history of the UK and China. A variety of evidence, including documents and archives, is interpreted according to an interdisciplinary framework combining qualitative methods. Based upon a theoretical premise that heritage value is culturally and socially structured, the analysis focuses upon changing interpretations of the value of modern buildings, by identifying the factors influencing these changes and their consequences for the changing values of heritage conservation. The cases studies are grouped in pairs under three key themes examining the changing nature, expression, and use of heritage value. The first theme addresses the changing attitudes to the interpretation of early modern buildings in terms of the development of modern conservation. Two early railway stations – London Euston Station and Jinan Old Railway Station – are analysed, focusing on the shifting values attached to the buildings in changing historic, social and cultural contexts. Consequences of these changes are observed not only in the modernisation of technology and social culture, but also in the development of modern conservation in the two countries. The shifting values have also led to rethinking the demolition of both stations, which became a catalyst of controversial movement to rebuild symbolic elements of these stations. The second theme concerns national identities embedded in the case studies of modern buildings and their conservation. The architectural expression of national identity became associated with modernity, and has been perceived as culturally influential in national modernisation. This is examined through the Royal Festival Hall, London, and the National Museum of China, Beijing. The specific meanings of national identity and conservation measures are quite different between two buildings, with distinctive political attitudes, social cultures and recognitions of the nation’s past, present, and future in the two countries. However, maintaining or reconstructing a national ethos and culture was important in the conservation projects of both buildings. The third theme examines how heritage and heritage value have been used and integrated in modern social policy, particularly in social housing policy, through case studies of housing projects in Byker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Ju’er Hutong, Beijing. Both were originally constructed in response to social issues in relation to ideas of social welfare. Their utility value continued after the projects later became understood as heritage. The relationship between heritage and social policy here illustrates important challenges and potentials to urban development in the two cities. Summarising these three pair of case studies, the research concludes with an argument about the increasingly important role that modern architecture plays in heritage practice and study. Challenges and opportunities coexist in the conservation of modern architecture because of its close relationship to both modern history and contemporary development. In response, more diverse approaches are called-for in valuing and reconceptualising heritage today
Description: Ph. D. Thesis.
Appears in Collections:School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

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