The value of reconfiguring historic buildings for the functional needs of the modern society

(Abstract excerpted from the final dissertation of the MSc in Project and Enterprise Management)

September 2014

The reuse of the built heritage for modern functions is a controversial topic in the contemporary society.  Some scholars highlight the importance of preserving its historical and artistic values, conserving the integrity of buildings in their original features. On the other hand, historic assets may offer the opportunity of satisfying the requirements of the modern society, passing down cultural values.

This research stresses the significance of reconfiguring historic buildings into new uses, developing vernacular environments. The literature review demonstrates the positive effects over the whole society. In fact, growth and enhancement affect the environmental, economic and cultural domains. In addition, qualitative analysis of two case studies, in Italy and in the UK, focuses on the specific aspects of the project front-end for the reuse of two historic buildings. Exploratory interviews hinge on the experience of decision-makers and stakeholders, disclosing strategies adopted in an initially necessary system of relationships. This management approach demonstrates the significance of an early collaborative system among all the players involved, defining the complementarity of requirements and proposals. Social network analysis illustrates integrated responsibilities and power through behavioural linkages of learning loops. Final results prove the uniqueness of each case study in its cultural context, achieving the client’s functional needs and the conservation of local identities.

Keywords: Historic Heritage Reuse, Front-end Analysis, Relationship Management, Social Network Analysis; Collaborative Approach.

Francesco Ciccarelli