Facade and home

Living witnesses of our historical identity

Whether a facade is pleasing or not, whether it is perceived to be beautiful or ugly, be set aside - in any case, our built environment has an identity-creating function. Often controversial is which building is worthwhile and which is not what is meaningful and what is not. Oskar Spital-Frenking, architect and city guide as well as professor of architectural design at the Fachhochschule Trier, talking about facades, identity and monument protection.

EmcoPLUS: In the past, there were different types of buildings, which also reflected the appearance of the buildings. Today, a uniform architectural style prevails. Do you regret this development?

Prof. Oskar Spital-Frenking: Whenever a uniform, uniform architectural style is to be found everywhere, our lives are poorer because there is a lack of different experiences. All the same is boring.

To what extent does your architecture shape your architecture?

Naturally one is characterized by the social as well as the structural origin. An Indian has a different understanding of the social system than a Central European - and why not. He, of course, has a different understanding of building, as he feels connected to his culture. Previously, other countries, other customs. And, of course, a different building culture. This makes traveling exciting and interesting, at best also exciting. It is, therefore, possible to be bound by its origin, even if architecture is discussed and perceived in a global communication system, and thus a supraregional language seems to be obvious.

In many cases, historical facades are preserved and even rebuilt to preserve the identity of a place. Do we need the usual look to feel at home in one place?

Preserving historic buildings - and not just facades - is important because historical buildings are vivid witnesses to our historical identity. The German cities, which after the Second World War and the subsequent reconstruction phase of this historical legacy got rid of, suffer today. The need for identity to radiate historical urban spaces, to be satisfied with facade reconstructions is dangerous: not only is this a very superficial illusion, which is a very one-dimensional understanding of historical building culture, but the further conclusion also states That the historic building structure, which is still existing, would be interchangeable and replaceable by means of copies. They could be abandoned and replaced by new, more manageable, more marketable new buildings in historical robes - a catastrophic thought.

If we take a look from the city-building buildings to the everyday living environment of many, to functional buildings from the 50s and 60s, to heterogeneous city districts and settlements. Are the scales of value?

Looking at the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s of the last century, we must confess that these are construction phases, which are already seen as concluded historical phases. It may be difficult for us, but even these buildings are part of our historical identity, even though we may still have them as "young" and "up-to-date" in our personal memory. Monument protection impulses must, of course, also be applied to them - after examination and evaluation.

How do you proceed when you are building a historical context or rehabilitating buildings?

Our approach to objects in the historical context is analogous to the practice of a physician. We want to get to know the building exactly, so we make an extensive inventory. Then the results are evaluated and discussed. Only then - building on the good knowledge of the building - we develop concepts. But they have a lot to do with the conditions of the existing building.

Technical progress does not stop in front of existing buildings. The question of how to deal with the façade also arises again and again. What do you advise?

The technical progress and the monument - a monument has not been built for today's or future norms. It must be able to develop and change, but in a meaningful relationship. If an object is listed under monument protection, as a planner and owner, I have the great opportunity to ask questions about the meaningfulness of norms and regulations and not to have to comply with technical values ​​or rules. I can carry out a valuation of values ​​between monument protection and, for example, energy standards. If a historical building works well in terms of building physics and does not show any damage, I will not isolate and seal it without need, but will carry out a holistic view. The same is true for every existing building. The goal can not be a massively insulated, air-tight building. The future lies in alternative concepts that try to improve primary energy consumption and protect the environment by other means. Recent experience shows that excessive air tightness often leads to damage in buildings. It does not lead to an improvement in indoor air hygiene, but rather to the contrary.

In the picture: Adolf-Grimme-Institut, Marl; Photos: Photography & Design Eva Schwarz, DortmundRead all about facade ventilation from emcoklima: www.emco-klima.com