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Preservation Of Industrial Buildings History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Industrialization was a major chapter of the world development affecting cultural, social, economical as well as architectural the life of the previous post-machine 20th century citizens. Industrialization revolution had a great impact taking over the whole world, but its great growth also demanded a constant increase of factories shaping the industrial character of the era. The urban environment now was introduced with new building typologies the factories forming areas which were acting like poles of interest, areas were working and living was combined. This radical development involving the rise of big cities resulted to a pattern described as industrial buildings equal to the concept of a ¿½social condenser¿½ within the greater city network. Unfortunately, wrong management, and loss of money in many regions of the world resulted to the decline or even the death of Industrial Buildings in a worldwide scale. Cheaper labor, lower cost of materials and relocation of industries closer to their resources was some of the main factors that result to this phenomenon.

The idea of these buildings generation was a result of a fast growing development creating a productive manufacturing system which activated the socioeconomic system. Through the years this system started to decline and slowly result to the death or deactivation of some industrial building affecting the balance of this socioeconomic system. So these building by losing their value as social condensers now they become neutral spaces preserving their ex ¿½ activated memory and identity within their surrounding environment.

The need to preserve their architectural heritage during the past few year derive both from the state, that supports and promotes the process of re-establishment through generous economic and other motives, but also from the private architects that have learned to respect and enhance the value of architectural forms of past. Moreover, the wider public, the inhibiters and the users of these buildings, not only see the romantic and nostalgic side of traditional architecture, but also its functional and economic contribution in the modern way of life.

The import of new users in an existing shell constitutes a challenge for the architects and engineers. The combination of new and old, the respect to the history but also to the satisfaction of modern functional need determine the quality of result. ¿½What we need is continuity . . . historic preservation is not sentimentality but a psychological necessity. We must learn to cherish history and to preserve worthy old buildings . . . we must learn how to preserve them, not as pathetic museum pieces, but by giving them new uses.¿½ (Ada Louise Huxtable)

Industrial Buildings

The industrial buildings constitute a specific category of structures. Manufactured to satisfy the needs of economy in the past, have lost their authentic usefulness that is owed mainly to the restructure of the economy and deprived from a alternative use for years. Abandoned and destroyed they degrade the environment in which they are placed and the same time they are threatened with demolition.

The industrial buildings are often neglected because their industrial aesthetics. Nevertheless, they are carriers of important historical deposit and with their presence they have shaped the urban landscape of their region. In past few years, their value of heritage as well as the prospects of economic growth that they offer has been reevaluated. (Kizis,2007)

How these buildings affect the urban and social context:

1) Urbanization:

The concentration of work in the factories has involved the rise of big cities in order to it serves and it accommodates the economically active population. (Sullivan, 2009)

2) Exploitation:

The workers should leave their family so that they come to work in settlement and city where the industries are found. (Sullivan, 2009)

3) Change to family structure:

In the Industrialized societies exists a structure of many members families that is extended a lot of generations that remained probably in the same place for generations. In the industrialized societies the nuclear family, that is constituted from only by the parents and their increasing children, predominates. Children that reach in the adultness are more mobile and they tend relocate where the work exists. The bonds of many members family become feebler. (Sullivan, 2009)

4) Environment

Industrialization create a lot of health problems. Problems such as noise, air, the pollution of waters, the poor diet, the dangerous instruments, the impersonal work, the isolation, the poverty, the lack of roof, and the abuse of substances. The problems of health in the industrially nations it is as a lot of that is caused from the economic, social, politicians, and cultural factors as from pathogenic. The industrialization has become a important medical question worldwide.

History of industrialization and deindustrialization: the case study of Cyprus

Industrialization in Cyprus was a term that was early introduced to locals due to their agriculture work. After the B¿½ World war development in Cyprus took place in a such increase way affected from Europe and the universal development in general. This development was not only a turn into the technology but also a sociopolitical change due to the urbanism that was taking place in the island. It is now the time for change in life and parallel in architecture with the first modern building start to appear from young Cypriot architects that studied abroad. ( Pyla, 2009)

Never less the most important step to the ongoing increasing development in the island was the independence of the Cyprus Republic and the end of the British colonialism. It is then where Cypriot becomes independent in all sections such as economic and sociopolitical growth. This fast growth take place in many sections of the society such as tourism, agriculture, industry . The need for public buildings become more and more essential where the same time for industry with the needs of the state become bigger. Then we start saw the great examples of modern architecture in all kinds of buildings and especially the huge growth of industry in Cyprus. (Fereos, 2009)

What cause the decline and death of Industrial zones and Buildings in Cyprus ?

Globalization and inexpensive labor in other regions of the world has resulted in the decline

– Cheaper Labour

– Lower cost of materials

– Industries are closer to their resources

Industrial zones was initially located in green fields outside from the cities. Due to the fast growth development of the residential areas these zones become integrated and part of these areas forcing them to relocate their position among the society for several reasons.

Preservation and Restoration:

Cultural Heritage

The cultural heritage as a definition was created n the recent centuries which describes objects, building or even areas which are important for the modern society. This characteristic define them as important things which the either reflect or represent pieces of the culture itself. For example this heritage could be the ancient monuments, some art work or even territories where there importance is stated as necessary and their protection, restoration and conservation are policies that need to carried out from the current world. A late organization called ¿½UNESCO¿½ had recently set the scope of the protection of this heritage by defining this heritage as ¿½the entire corpus of material signs ¿½ either artistic or symbolic ¿½ handed on by the past to each culture and therefore, to the whole humankind.¿½ (Jokilehto. 2009. p1) This statement shows how we all have the responsibility to respect and protect the heritage that was carried from our predecessor and need to move on the next generation. This heritage belongs to everybody from the smaller to larger piece and their importance is reflected to the society itself.

– Authenticity, Integrity, Originality

As we see a brief history of how preservation and restoration of the cultural heritage was developed through ages but with most important in 18th and 19th century we understand that people had a unique aim: they respect their heritage and they feel the need to protect their memory. The fact that several opinions and ideas was developed was due to many condition and mostly about the understanding of what is original and authentic. If we start analyze the word authenticity we see again that is derive from the Greek word (ea?t??) which mean my self and Latin (autor) which means originator and authority. So we can conclude that this does not mean in any case to copy or add something. From the artistic point of view writer express that ¿½the authenticity of a work of art is a measure of truthfulness of the internal unity of the creative process and the physical realization of the work, and the effects of its passage through historic time¿½ (Jokilehto. 2009. p.296). This statement show the relationship of the a genuine piece of art and its passage through time, where an important piece will never stop to reflect its importance and memory. Never less authenticity is also mention as the opposite of copy and mimesis so one can say that the better for a renovation is to find a way to preserve the historical monumental parts of the building is a sense that they will keep their historical reference through memory maintaining their cultural importance in the society as it was the day it was build.

Even though then we should discuss the meaning genuine which stress the fact the by restoring a building you can succeed to preserve the same time its original style. Understanding the several meaning given from the book we realize that genuine mostly refer for the outer skin of the building and what is being seeing from the users pointing the materialistic part of the building. The issue that derive is how you can restore a building without copying anything and the same time make add on and attachments that will help this building to restart its life. The answer is given again through another term called integrity corresponding to the use and the technique that a conservator will use in order to incorporate a proper solution without disturbing the building monumentality. Unfortunately any restoration will affect is a sense the original face of the building but this will never stop to affect the buildings authenticity if its executed with a proper and honest use of the material. Authenticity should be related always to the memory of the building not only in terms of look but also other conditions like its use through time. Such as this conditions are extremely important to be evaluated from a conservator in order to understand the building itself and can proceed into a restoration that eventually bring in a new function the so called a building in new settings. Modern architecture and by extend modern life can be integrated with in monuments and co-exist in a balance where one will feedback to other reminding and informing the modern life for the predecessor. (Jokilehto. 2009.)

Definition of industrial heritage

¿½Industrial heritage consists of the remains of industrial culture which are of historical, technological, social, architectural or scientific value. These remains consist of buildings and machinery, workshops, mills and factories, mines and sites for processing and refining, warehouses and stores, places where energy is generated, transmitted and used, transport and all its infrastructure, as well as places used for social activities related to industry such as housing, religious worship or education.¿½

¿½Industrial archaeology is an interdisciplinary method of studying all the evidence, material and immaterial, of documents, artefacts, stratigraphy and structures, human settlements and natural and urban landscapes, created for or by industrial processes. It makes use of those methods of investigation that are most suitable to increase understanding of the industrial past and present.¿½

Renewal of use

The inevitable deterioration in which the buildings are submitted leads to the abandonment and the depreciation of construction of the building but also in the wider region where is situate.

The restoration, reutilization or the imposition of construction concerning with the improvement and the renewal of internal arrangement and the design of public historical buildings, renew their use, that contributes in the improvement of quality of life of residents and users of region. It gives the possibility for the historical continuity of traditional habits and social facts. Moreover, it constitutes the means of passage from the traditional way of life in the most modern expressions. (Louvi,2007)


In order to maintain a building, it is essential that it adapt a new use. In the case where the initial use is not neither the feasible neither desirable, import of new use contributes not only in the maintenance of building, but also the rebirth of surroundings in general.

Moreover, the restored buildings the help improve the quality of life of residents, since they enrich the infrastructure of region. The new users are attracted in the region and the probabilities for the economic growth and the new investments are improved.

The increase of sector of tourism and the need for a turn to the qualitative tourism, have led to the utilization of traditional architecture and her historical environment in general. Nevertheless, the new uses that are imported need to be balance well so much in order to lead to exploitation of economy with tourists as cultural product that will lead afterwards to the export of his cultural value.

The new uses are determined and simultaneously contribute in the demographic character of region. It is thus essential is achieved the balance between the various types of uses but also between the socio-economic groups of residents and the users that live or are in attracted in the region by these uses. The social polarization, that is to say the concentration of big number of individuals of particular teams of population can result in the creations of ghetto or the attraction of rich individuals that replaces the initial residents. The social and economic cohesion is essential for the viable growth of region. (Louvi,2007)

What is Adaptive Reuse?

The adaptive re-use is the process that old structures are adapted for reasons apart from them initially intended. When the initial use of structure changes or it is required more, since with the older buildings than the Industrial Revolution, the architects have the occasion to change the initial operation of structure, maintaining certain from the existing architectural details that render the building uniqueness.

The adaptive re-use, with the re-establish Brownfield, sees from many as factor key in the maintenance and the reduction of ground of sum of sprawl. It is more efficient and environmental responsible to reutilize the older buildings more near to urban cores than to support the new construction in the distant regions Greenfield. ( Cantell, 2005)

Importance of the Adaptive Reuse of Industrial Buildings:

– The industrial areas and buildings have impressive architectural value. The re-establishment of old urban industrial neighborhoods or structures is a question in the first line modern urban growth in the United States. A successful adoptive program of re-use can bring the redevelopment, the tourism of heritage, and the new life in a community. ( Cantell, 2005)

– Sustainable Aspect

1) ¿½ Recycling is a fundamental act in establishing sustainable development. Recycling and reutilization are actions which are increasingly natural and necessary on an individual and collective level.¿½ (Sherepeklis, 2009)

2) ¿½One of the most important benefits of reusing an old building is the retaining of the ¿½Embodied energy within¿½. That means that the energy involved in all the associated processes when building (sourcing raw materials, manufacturing of materials and equipment, labor, transport).¿½ (Sherepeklis,2009)

3) ¿½By saving this energy alone, an architectonic project of reutilization is more sustainable and ecological that any other new construction project and most cost efficient in the long term. ¿½(Sherepeklis, 2009)


In one hand the modern needs require technology, sanitary or other of installations of additions and the rearrangement of interior or addition of interval. In the other hand, the modern materials and the techniques render the process of re-establishment easier and more precise. But these alternations have occupied in order to exist or cannot correspond in the modern requirements, undermine often the value of heritage of building.

These two facts now bring to us front from a dilemma: in order to maintain the cultural heritage that is incorporated in the structure of historical building with any cost, or to allow the domination of new use. A balance between the heritage and the economic and utilitarian value should exist and succeeded. But where precisely this line is found ? Each building has a different value, the problems and the occasions of heritage. Accordingly, each individual building should be judged different. (??¿½????:2004)


The alternations in the traditional buildings are often essential in the order achieve the better functional planning and the satisfaction of new use but also for the import of modern infrastructure. These alternations should not affect the structural sufficiency of building or the hierarchy of initial intervals. Moreover the alternations should not overcome the remarkable traditional characteristic features.

In certain cases it is essential are added the new volumes of construction in the abroad of traditional building. Any addition should respect and harmonize with the traditional building while simultaneously is recognizable, showing the modern construction.

Any additions in the interior or exterior of a historical building should be easily reversible and recognizable. The new elements should show their period of construction and not replicate traditional forms. (Kizis,2007)

We distinguished 3 categories of preferable industrial buildings that have the prospect to be reutilized or preserved:

1) First category is that of monuments, buildings as museums of industrial archaeology could continue their life.

2) Second category is the case of import of new uses in the old factory that requires the cohabitation of new operations with some part of existing equipment and line of production.

3) Third category is only limited in the reuse of the buildings existing fabric, contributing often in the maintenance of industrial landscape that characterizes big regions of cities that experienced in the past corresponding activity and growth. (Kizis,2007)

Monuments and museums of Industrial Archeology

There is no doubt that a superannuated factory, left abandoned, that it stop to be productive and affective because its technology stop to support it have its architectural fascination because of its old equipment and its fabric which reference to its historicity identity. Never less this building changes its condition of production and economy to memory of cultural heritage. It becomes subject of investigation of industrial archeology. As long as it fulfills the criteria and the requirements it becomes part of the cultural heritage of a society under the protection of the state. This will reflect the culture of a civilization and its evolution through the time.

Although an industrial complex which it was sub urban now it becomes part of the urban fabric due to the ongoing expansion of the city. Once this building was a social condenser, as an attraction point for the worker of the industrial landscape, now it becomes strange to its new environment.

It will be stiffness and with no sense if we take as granted that all abandoned industrial building should be preserved as cultural heritage museums. The reason it is not only financial. The evaluation and the record of an industrial building, in order to be preserved, should be executed under specified criteria that will result to the selection of few representative examples of each period with main aim the preservation of the industrial equipment. This will result to a complete chain of industrial archeology samples that constitutes the history of a place.

Never less this chain of cultural samples should be complete with the preservation of industrial buildings and focus their interest as industrial museums of their technological and technical equipment. As result this building can inhabit only a specific use and this could be only the ¿½museum of themselves¿½.

Although the new use of industrial building to an industrial museum it is a preservation of the existing building this also requires a series of additions and improvements either to its structural system or to its technology. This improvements will ensure and create the proper conditions for the building in order to accommodate the new uses, according to the today¿½s requirements. Some of these changes could be the structural and antisismic reinforcement, architectural changes that will support not only the new functional requirements but also the mechanical and generally will provide to the building the support to function as a contemporary museum which most probably is not supported by the existing situation.

The task of the architectural interaction to the existing fabric of the building should be the district contrast with the existing and genuine parts of the building. In a way we treat the building as a monument in order to achieve any misunderstandings and confusions of the users and guests of the building in the future use between the existing and the additional parts.

Case Studies

We have a lot of examples around the world of industrial buildings turn into museums of themselves. But I found most interesting to show some samples of a country in the idea of cultural chain of industrial archeology. The specific projects making an attempt to reflect the history of the building and the same time the production line of the factory and its products. The main axis of the presented exhibition is a journey through production line along the mechanical equipment using mixed media. The architectural composition neither tried to reveal the new additions of in the existing building differentiate them either in material and style.

The first case study that interest me as an industrial museum of its self was the of the open air museum of hydrokinetic complex in Dimitsana, Greece apart of hydrokinetic corn mill, tannery and gunpowder mill located next to the river Lousios. In a delicate restored labs the visitors developed an experiential relationship with the space between the acting mechanical equipment. Driven through the thematic of the museum the visitors have the opportunity grasp with their own hands the flour of the corn which is milled in front of their eyes and then continue to the next spaces where they can watch several educational movies for the processing of the gunpowder.

In the other hand, another approach of a museum is the factory of oil Industrial Building in Lesbo, Greece. The aim of this full restoration was the cultural settlement the peripheral oil industry by emphasizing in the digital productions of representation. The visitors is subjected to presentations that will enable him to understand and conceive the functional part of the machines,( such as steam boiler, steam engine, movement axis, pressure engines ) and the process of crushing and compressing of the olives and then the division of oil with the steamer olive press.

Last but not least example is the mud brick and pan tile factory in Volos, Greece which in this case the thematic approach of the museum follows the production line start from the collection of soil till the final product. The journey interest that followed from the visitors is based on the production line of pan tiles and mud bricks where parallel the journey is enriched with several discoveries from the area. The users have also the opportunity to get inform through moving explanatory models for the general function of the imposing space that surrounds the mechanical equipment, the inactive belts and the pallets with the raw mud bricks and pan tiles. The rest of the museum thematic related with the history of the building located in a independent space with neutral architecture.

Small Museum coexist with new uses

The luck of the abandonment industrial buildings that cannot reutilized or even restored as museum is always architecturally questioned for their future in order to integrated them again into the urban fabric and contemporary life. This is the majority of the cases where if they become museums they will repeat them selves in a boring way and also it would very wasteful for the state to support such a strategy for all of them.

Never less this cases are treated with a different way that tries to balance between the museum and the new uses. The solution is given with the restoration of part of the mechanical equipment in combination of the reuse of the building fabric with complete new uses. This cohabitation of these two components will give the result of a small museum that is decorated with the new functions within the space of an industrial building or the .

Criticism through case studies

There several examples of treating an industrial building with this way where is some cases the result is good and some other not so successful of the co existence of mechanical equipment and the new uses.

The case study of the reutilization of the old factory ¿½Strihnokaprou¿½ in Volos, Greece with the housing for the activities of the handicap persons creates several questions and miss understandings from the users and visitors of the space. The issue that created from the users was the difficulties of understanding the production line of the factory and the connection between the several mechanical parts which they are spread around the building. And not only that the way the machines are used for stands for several creations and materials reveals that this experiment failed and the equioment that left there to bring the memory of the building is distracting than inspiriting the actions of the inhibiters.

In the other hand one experiment that succeed to coexist together the mechanical equipment and the new uses was the museum or ¿½Roman Sculpture in Centrale Electrica Monte Martini¿½ in Rome. This example reveals the parallel cohabitation of two exhibitions where in one hand is that of sculptures and the other those of the equipment. This case of museum is one that doesn¿½t have that of industrial archeology but use it as a background. In this background we see the one can see the mechanical equipment of the central power station. The new uses then is presented in a successful way as the continuation of the old uses as a habitant who use again its house ¿½furnished¿½ with the existing equipment.

This example shows the importance of the choosing the new uses for this kind of buildings and the preservation and coexistence of parts of the mechanical equipment. From the moment that these mechanical equipment is preserved just to decorate or supplement the new uses they become underestimated or even become burlesque. There are a lot of bars, higher institutes and cultural centers that use these mechanical equipments as decorative components for their spaces in transformed industrial buildings.

Reuse of industrial building fabric

Following the above issues then one can wonder if there is any sense to have a spread exhibition of mechanical equipment around the restored building were the practical approach should be the house of new functions that these building can offer as a building fabric. The conservation of a building fabric could the last chance to save industrial buildings in new uses. The reason for not demolishing them in order to give their place to a new contemporary building for the needs of the city is their architectural value and their importance as symbols of memory, landmarks.

Therefore their architectural interest is concentrated in their industrial landscape apart from the buildings that give also the character to area around them that will always recall to the memory and history of the production with no need to educate them with museum approaches.

Thereby the reuse of an industrial landscape should aim to the conservation of the memory of the place taking account that this place should function as a ¿½landmark¿½. But we should be careful again not repeat the above issue that could be created of restoring an industrial building and settle it as a decorative object within its urban context.

Case Study Tate Modern

Importance of Technological and technical equipment in Industrial Buildings

Old industrial Buildings characterized as historical buildings when they appear to have great architectural value. Nerveless today is strongly believed and acknowledge that this buildings host also another important cultural component, that of the technical equipment. This cultural component reveal the continuously effort of human resolving basic needs such as investigation on the solution and improvement of the quality of life. Technical culture is always interwoven with the human evolution and its record and research is become part of the history of technology. We must realize that industrial units with great architecture is the container of a production line with the support of this technological support and the human as the manager and controller of them. This equipment then could be characterized as the living organism of the building that function with only purpose the production of goods. If we remove this equipment from the building then is like we remove the soul of the building, creating a neutral space which was originally formed to host this equipment.

The network of this technological equipment then is becoming a great source of understanding of not only how this building was functioning and producing goods but also inform us for other things such as political, social and financial conditions, working place, rights and legal subjects, environment and ecological conditions, geological conditions and primary sources, etc.

Research on the technical equipment will rise several values such as scientific, technical, structural, aesthetic, ecological and financial.

– Scientific values, because of the investigation and application of contemporary knowledge on physics, mathematics, chemistry and other sciences.

– Technical and structural values because each time we have invention of new materials, methods and techniques .

– Aesthetic values due to the appearance of machines that sometimes mimesis from nature ( snail ), were in the newer machines we have variation on coloring, minimization of scale, aerodynamic shapes or extreme shapes that was prototypes for that period.

– Ecological values due to the concern of minimizing the blare and emissions, economy on energy, use of dangerous ingredients and recycle materials.

– Financial values with main aim the reduction of cost of production that is basically the main issue for a product and general a business to survive.

In order to protect and conserve industrial monuments requires the preservation and nomination of the historic technical equipment through a scientific approach that should contain a series of stages such as:

– Locate and record of industrial eq

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