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NEW LIFE IN MEDIEVAL CASTLES. REVALORISATION EFFORTS IN PRACTICE AND DESIGNS

A. Gaczol
Friday 9 November 2018 by Libadmin2018

ABSTRACT

Medieval fortified castles occupy a place of their own in the collective conscious of society, being constantly present in the world of our imagination due to their expressive place in the landscape. After a period of greatness in the Middle Ages, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries there occurred a decrease in the military significance of castles. The contemporary role of medieval castles appears to be that of a status of tourist attractions and this necessitates their adaptation to this function. The forms of this adaptation and their exhibition are a subject of discussions among conservators, museologists, as well as tourists who visit a given site, discussions that remain unresolved. For on the one hand there exists a group of proponents of limited intervention in the preserved substance of fortified castles, while on the other - there are proponents of the preservation of the valuable substance of these structures while simultaneously introducing new elements and functions serving the contemporary use of historical castles for utilitarian purposes. New structures and elements built using contemporary technological systems, in some cases reversible ones, e.g. steel and glass, steel and stone or timber, which are becoming more and more popular in western European countries. The combination of a historical masonry structure with a system-based structure provides a designer with the possibility to clearly and safely implement the adopted design objectives and introduce new life to castles that are in ruin, while simultaneously increasing their aesthetic value, which is also important in contemporary public perception. A new life that provides opportunities for the continuous obtainment of financial resources for their preservation for future generations. The article presents examples of the contemporary use of medieval castles for utilitarian purposes, primarily in Poland, in addition to other various architectural and conservation concepts of their revitalisation prepared by Engineer’s and Master’s candidates, as well as students of the Faculty of Architecture of the Cracow University of Technology, as a part of the programmes of their education at the Institute of the History of Architecture and the Conservation of Historical Monuments.

Keywords: medieval, castle, revitalisation, architecture


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