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Understanding the Operation of Contextual Compatibility through the Relationships among Heritage Intensity, Context Density, and Regulation Degree


Medium: journal article
Language(s): English
Published in: Buildings, , n. 1, v. 11
Page(s): 25
DOI: 10.3390/buildings11010025

It is easy to assume that historic environments consist mainly of traditional pre-modern style buildings; however, contemporary architecture is continuously added to historic environments, and its construction is positively encouraged by international heritage organizations such as UNESCO and ICOMOS. The conditions required for introducing contemporary architecture to historic urban environments manifest through the concept of contextual compatibility. This paper examines the meaning and operation of this compatibility in changing urban historical and cultural environments. It offers an empirical interpretation of ‘compatibility’ using three new conceptual parameters: the level of conservation value and importance designated by the heritage conservation system (heritage intensity), the ratio of contemporary architecture in a historic environment (context density), and the range of controlling measures available for conservation (regulation degree). Based on a content analysis of the relevant literature and a case study of 24 sample sites, this paper illuminates how ‘compatibility’ operates in the field, which sometimes contradicts our common assumptions. The notable findings reveal that heritage intensity and context density in the historical environment are not directly proportional to regulation degree. Meanwhile, low context density tends to correspond with highly detailed regulations and emphasise the physical realization of traditional elements.

Copyright: © 2020 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This creative work has been published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) license which allows copying, and redistribution as well as adaptation of the original work provided appropriate credit is given to the original author and the conditions of the license are met.

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