Protecting the built environment without killing the idea

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


Often conservation strategies for the built environment advocate focus on architecture and originality and these are interesting features of many university campuses. But this focus could also fossilize the buildings to such an extent, that they cannot support the main activities of a university. If this happens, what have we really kept for the future? A university must live and evolve and the built environment must often change with it. Can we preserve the atmospheres, the lives lived and the purposes of universities as integrated into the built environment. Should conservation focus mainly on the mundane as well as the signs of use and change? Integrating traces of the past into refurbishments and new buildings can be a way forward. But we need to be very vigilant about our choices and the effects of them. There is more at stake than practicalities. The preserved becomes symbolic, often idealized, and affect identities. If houses as Bourdieu claims can make us reproduce patterns of behavior, our conservation strategies carries very deep messages. One message could be that the past and the future are connected at a university.
Period8 Jun 2017
Event title18th Universeum Network Meeting: Mobility of University Heritage
Event typeConference
Conference numberXVIII
LocationBelgrade, Serbia
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • heritage
  • Architecture
  • Campus
  • Preservation
  • Idea
  • Conservation
  • University