Industrial Archeology, a human heritage.

Seventy years ago, the architectural historian, Michael Rix, coined the expression “industrial archaeology”, to describe the state of abandonment of industrial plants, in Britain, after the Third Industrial Revolution. Over the decades, the phenomenon underwent an interesting evolution, getting the attention of the greatest international organizations that recognized some industrial sites part of the human heritage.

Industrial landscapes back to life

Industrial landscapes converted into green areas and cultural districts, the process for the recognition of industrial heritage and the definition of its destiny is not over yet. This especially because of a growing extension of abandoned industrial landscapes, which in recent decades have increased proportionally to the development of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, still underway, and strengthened by the long-term effects of the pandemic.

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Projects from around the world

Essays

This section proposes, in the first 24 pages, reflections and ideas concerning the main topic of the issue based on a critical and historical approach

Architecture & Plan

A total of 8-10 designs, both architectural and urban scale, of reputable international architects are presented with pictures, renderings, sketches, graphs, comments

Materials & Interiors

The interiors section is devoted to interior design, new materials, new forms of design.

The conversion of the old Guangxi sugar factory

Rosa Scognamiglio

In architecture, the theme of the re- use has always been one of the most complex. The tough challenge to which architects and urban planners have to respond is understanding in which direction the conversion of abandoned sites should go, investigating, first of all, the identity of these places in order to give them new meanings and not merely new functions.

Uses and society change and, consequently, spaces and architectures of urban centers transform. So, if it is true that the appearance of a city changes together with society, it is also true that buildings’ style and function are never separated from the present.
In a re-use project, the greatest difficulty consists, in fact, in working with an object designed by another architect. Deepening the correct level of knowledge, considering its material and immaterial values, weaknesses and shortcomings, finding the balance between empathy and critical distance are all elements that require an objective, “cold” point of view. «The architect pays the utmost attention to the pre-existing object and not to one’s navel».

Reading the evolution of reuse approaches, with particular reference to industrial architecture, allows us to outline the cultural context in which significant interventions for the use of pre-existing structures and strategies for the conservation of cultural heritage values have been developed. Hence, considering a recovery project as a stratification process of material values and meanings is fundamental in order to grasp the transience of the design action, starting from the peculiarity of each individual case.

The conversion of the old Guangxi sugar factory

Rosa Scognamiglio​

In architecture, the theme of the re- use has always been one of the most complex. The tough challenge to which architects and urban planners have to respond is understanding in which direction the conversion of abandoned sites should go, investigating, first of all, the identity of these places in order to give them new meanings and not merely new functions.

Uses and society change and, consequently, spaces and architectures of urban centers transform. So, if it is true that the appearance of a city changes together with society, it is also true that buildings’ style and function are never separated from the present.
In a re-use project, the greatest difficulty consists, in fact, in working with an object designed by another architect. Deepening the correct level of knowledge, considering its material and immaterial values, weaknesses and shortcomings, finding the balance between empathy and critical distance are all elements that require an objective, “cold” point of view. «The architect pays the utmost attention to the pre-existing object and not to one’s navel».

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