Immaterial Heritage in Architecture

Practice / Shortlisted

For many, a first exclamation when reading the title of this article will be: This is an Oxymoron!

Undoubtedly, it can be said that this title makes use of an ostensible self-contradiction, a paradox, to illustrate a rhetorical point: “Immaterial” and “Architecture” could be understood as a contradiction in terms. Indeed, when we associate “Architecture” to the term “Heritage”, the paradox even grows. The “UNESCO 1972 World Heritage Convention” indicates as “Architecture Heritage” those monuments, group of buildings and sites, with an outstanding universal value from a historical point of view, the arts or science.


The present reflection claims for an intangible value of Architecture, and we illustrate this way of thinking with a project that we have just finished in the orchards of Murcia (SPAIN): Although the original commission consisted of designing a new modern house to replace two existing ruins, since both of them
had a strong relationship with the orchard, besides other values that go beyond their materiality, finally the family understood that the ruins needed to be preserved.


To do it we followed a set of rules to take advantage of the poor building details in the old constructions and to transform them in to magic opportunities, as well as adding in the new home the notion of ruin as part of its history.


In collaboration with Alicante University in Spain, this is a contemporary project that proposes a model about how to work with the past.


Author: Javier Sánchez Merina



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