Adaptive Reuse in Urban Areas

International Student Workshop in Nicosia (C3) - Presentation by M. Philokyprou

The practice of reusing an existing building is not a recent phenomenon and it is as old as building itself. During the past, there was a variety of approaches with regard to the integration of a new use into an existing structure. While during antiquity the change of use was mainly guided by the functional needs of the users without any consideration of other values of the buildings, today this has changed dramatically with the historic, aesthetic and social values being taken into serious consideration. When historic buildings cease functioning, they tend to be abandoned and eventually collapse. The best means for preserving a historic building and safeguarding it for the future is to reuse it for a new purpose. Today, the tendency towards rehabilitation is generally adopted due to many historical, emotional and economic reasons as well as due to the understanding of the importance of historic buildings and the desire to preserve them. According to the Venice Charter (article 5), the conservation of monuments is always facilitated by some socially-useful purposes. Such purposes are desirable but should not change the character of the building.


In this presentation, the revitalization of a number of historic buildings in the walled city of Nicosia and their reuse for various new purposes (such as educational, cultural etc) are examined. There is always a preference for the preservation of the original use but if this is not possible, a new compatible use of similar nature to the original could be integrated. In this way, the existing layout of the building will be preserved. The preservation of the original use of a structure safeguards a continuity in the life of the structure and often offers a functional and social continuity. This is often the case of vernacular residential dwellings. In many cases, historic buildings (industrial, storage, defensive) are being reused as museums as well as educational and cultural centers.

Author: Maria Philokyprou
Associate Professor, University of Cyprus

Maria Philokyprou is currently Associate Professor of the Department of Architecture at the University of Cyprus and the Coordinator of the Inter-Departmental Postgraduate Programme: Conservation and Restoration of Buildings and Sites. Her research activities focus on the areas of vernacular architecture, environmental design characteristics, traditional materials and sustainable conservation. She participates as coordinator and principal investigator in several research programmes (VernArch, BioVernacular, BioCultural) funded by RIF, European Commission, Erasmus+ Programme (Hersus, Smart Rehabiliation) and the University of Cyprus. Within her private practice, she carried out heritage restoration projects, one of which — the Monastery of Panagia tou Sindi — received a Europa Nostra award.
For nine years (2001-2010) she was employed as a planning officer in the Conservation Sector
at the Town and Planning Department. She has also participated on several scientific committees,
and acts as a reviewer for international scientific journals and editor for conference proceedings
and books. Her research work has been widely published in refereed scientific journals, special
issues and peer-reviewed international conference proceedings.

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