Reconstruction and its interpretation in Russia - 2

Dushkina, Natalia (2005) Reconstruction and its interpretation in Russia - 2. In: 15th ICOMOS General Assembly and International Symposium: ‘Monuments and sites in their setting - conserving cultural heritage in changing townscapes and landscapes’, 17 – 21 oct 2005, Xi'an, China. [Conference or Workshop Item]


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Abstract (in English)

This topic was first introduced at the XI ICOMOS General Assembly in Sofia, 1996. Present paper is an outcome of the last ten years’ period analyses after continuous “historical reconstruction” expansion. This Russian phenomenon reveals the most intricate mixture of problems in the field of culture, conservation, ethics, ideology and power. Moscow historical centre living under the banner of “preserving the historical heritage” is the most striking example. Metropolis is going through gradual destruction of its historical fabric and swamped by the construction of surrogates, pseudo-historical buildings and reproductions. Since the mid 90s, dozens of clones of historical buildings have appeared, making up entire streets and architectural ensembles. On the one hand, there is no need to conserve, which is to say that the need for costly restoration work no longer exists. At the same time, there is no need to make any intellectual effort and attempt to construct a new building that is equal in quality to the old one or even surpasses it. What we get instead is a “reconstruction” of what has been just demolished. Of the three possible scenarios following the demolition of a building, the choice has fallen on the worst – which requires the least expenditure in terms of intellectual effort, creative imagination and materials. The growing numbers of such structures glorifying the cult of “newness” introduce an imbalance into the cultural space of the city, gradually shifting the historical architectural environment outside the range of the “heritage” concept and devaluing authentic architectural monuments. Thus, deformation of consciousness and professional qualification of both practising architects and restorers is going on. A genuinely professional approach, based on definite principles and a clear ideology has become unnecessary, valueless. It is replaced by activity that serves only the commercial interests. The brand of Russian capitalism has ushered in a new age breaking through legal and cultural restraints to take possession over the historical city.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Dushkina, NataliaUNSPECIFIED
Languages: English
Keywords: reconstruction; architecture; demolition; historic buildings
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 2005, 15th
Depositing User: Jose Garcia
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2010 14:32
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2011 19:14

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