Bricolage as Institutional Maintenance Work: integrating new construction materials into heritage buildings

Abstract : Listed-buildings refers to buildings that are protected by the state because of their recognized status as national patrimony. Many listed buildings are currently undergoing various construction works, such as renovation or extension, to preserve them while keeping intact the function for which they were originally built. Increased use of construction practices pertaining to Sustainable Development is calling for insight into the process through which these kinds of buildings can be modernized by integrating new materials, without distorting their embodied cultural heritage. More specifically, this phenomenon raises the question: how do construction actors and different stakeholders of a construction work maintain the legitimacy of listed-buildings by intertwining the « old » and the « new »? Through a Grounded-Theory Methodology, the paper investigates this topic through three selected listed buildings in Denmark: two schools, Sølvgade Skole - Denmark’s oldest primary school - and Munkegård Skole, which was built by the celebrated Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, as well as the Nyboder neighbourhood, a housing estate intended for students of the Danish Defence. The project aims to identify some key processes of bricolage, a notion developed by Lévi- Strauss (1962), notably how bricolage is used as a form of Institutional Maintenance Work. The present study analyses how actors select and combine resources they have at hand, ranging from material artefacts and economic resources to cognitive elements and political concerns, and how they translate them at a micro-organizational level in order to achieve their purpose; i.e. maintaining the institution of listed-buildings, characterized by its essential leitmotiv of “keeping the original above all”.
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Sylvain Colombero. Bricolage as Institutional Maintenance Work: integrating new construction materials into heritage buildings. Giving visual and material form to ideas, identity and imagination: Architecture, urbanism and sustainable construction, WU Vienna, May 2014, Vienna, Austria. ⟨halshs-01112205⟩

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