The Original Architect's Role in Conservation of The Recent Architectural Heritage


  • H. İlke Alatlı
  • Demet Binan


Heritage Conservation, Recent Architectural Heritage, Conser- vation of Modern Architecture


The scope of heritage conservation, as well as the definition of cultural heritage is inevitably broadening. Starting from 1960’s, conservation experts conducted studies for early modernist buildings to be listed as heritage. Over time, similar studies were made for many Modern, Brutalist, even Postmodern buildings claiming that some of them are cultural heritage. Recently, buildings such as Heydar Aliyev Centre in Azerbaijan by Zaha Hadid (2012), Museum Liaunig in Austria by Querkraft (2008) and B2 House in Turkey by Han Tümertekin (2001) are listed as cultural heritage.

In this regard, adoption of heritage status when a building is relatively young can mean that the original architect is still alive, and even continues professional life. From the perspective of conservation practice this can be a very favorable situation. Madrid – New Delhi Document (ICOMOS-ISC20C, 2017) suggests the importance of gathering information from primary sources in order to apply an appropriate conservation planning and management method. Undoubtedly, the original architect is the main resource to understand a design’s essence.

In the late 1990’s, like most of the performance spaces, Sydney Opera House needed improvements. However, the Opera House being a national heritage in Australia, a Conservation Management Plan was to be made before any intervention. For this purpose, the experts first contacted the original architect, Jørn Utzon, and with an exemplarily collaboration the Utzon Design Principles, which constitute a framework to the Conservation Management Plans, were created.

However, as much as this single example seems ideal, the original architect’s involvement to the conservation processes has many paradoxical sides such as legal, theoretical, practical and ethical. In some cases, conservation experts are obliged to obtain the consent of the original architect for any intervention according to the Intellectual Property Rights Act. On the other hand, sometimes this encourages the architect to make material, even design alterations that may damage the authenticity in the first place. In other cases, the original architects oppose to the heritage status of their design.

This paper aims to discuss these paradoxical issues from an architectural conservation perspective. Overall, as conservation of the architectural heritage of recent past is a dynamically evolving subject, it seems possible to state that, as conservation experts, we will be encountering many more similar cases.


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How to Cite

Alatlı, H. İlke ., & Binan, D. . (2020). The Original Architect’s Role in Conservation of The Recent Architectural Heritage. ICONARCH International Congress of Architecture and Planning, (Iconarch -IV Proceeding Book), 267–278. Retrieved from



SESSION 2B Theme: Conservation and Regeneration