Introduction and target audience
The various countries of the Baltic Sea region are linked both by the inland sea and favorable overland connections. The Baltic Sea region is diverse with respect to its shifting landscape and its rich variety of cultures, languages, religions and histories. Over the centuries, contacts through mutual trade and shipping have contributed to this region’s long, common history. The geographical position of the Baltic Sea states, forming a region in itself in northern Europe, has also contributed to the area’s shared sense of regional identity.
The conference From Postwar to Postmodern – 20th Century Built Cultural Heritage will be held in Kiel, Germany, in 2016, within the framework of the 6th Baltic Sea Region Cultural Heritage Forum. This conference addresses the historical legacy of postwar twentieth century architecture in the context of the Baltic Sea region and the different values that are ascribed to the architecture of this period through the end of the twentieth century. Of main interest are also the problems of how awareness of the challenges involved in preserving and maintaining postwar twentieth century architecture and cultural heritage can be raised. An equally important challenge is how this can be presented to various decision makers and professionals in the field. The target audience of this conference includes experts from the cultural heritage sector, architects, planners, researchers, municipalities, regional councils, property owners, developers, the Baltic Sea States Sub-regional Cooperation along with other stakeholders and other related professions.
Aims, objectives and main themes
The aim of this conference is to raise awareness of the built cultural heritage of the postwar- and postmodern period in the Baltic Sea region. In terms of cultural heritage, the architecture of the modern movement has a brief history. Although trends in twentieth century architecture have been accompanied by a contemporary historiography, with its canon formation, it was not until the last decades of the twentieth century that the environments of the modern movement were considered as part of the cultural heritage.
For various reasons, both the architecture and built heritage of the postwar era, and more recent decades, have not yet fully been considered from the perspective of cultural heritage. Thus, only a few monuments or buildings from this time are currently legally protected. The potential values that are embedded in postwar and postmodern twentieth century architecture are therefore deemed to
be at risk due to extensive social changes and perhaps also lack of recognition by society in general. The main objectives of this conference will be highlighted in the following three main themes:
• What is the historical legacy of postwar twentieth century planning and architecture? The majority of buildings in the Baltic Sea region derive from the latter part of the twentieth century, and even the effects of municipal planning from the postwar era are still prevalent. The former east-west division of the region from the Cold War period provides an opportunity to discuss and examine the different ideologies that determined municipal planning and the architecture of this time. Today, the legacy of postwar municipal planning and architecture faces great challenges, both socially and economically but also politically. What role does history play in society and which symbolic and political values are ascribed to postwar architecture and buildings? What do these buildings mean to us today and to our collective memory? Which strategies should be used when cultural heritage is lost due to terrorism or conflict?
• How can awareness of existing values in postwar and postmodern twentieth century architecture be raised, and how can this be integrated with contemporary urban planning and sustainable rural development? The condensation and expansion of cities and the depopulation of the rural landscape are ongoing worldwide trends. How shall society today manage these changes and what role does cultural heritage play in this gradual transformation? The existing architecture from this time is considered to be at risk in the face of these ongoing social and political changes. For example, these shifts are expressed in demographic mobility within the region but also in economic growth and changes in social and cultural behavior, that is, changes in lifestyle. Furthermore, there are different opinions regarding what shall be valued and why as the chronological perspective, in terms of cultural heritage, is still considered too short. That is why there is a strong need to investigate and discuss on what ground postwar and postmodern twentieth century architecture, in terms of cultural heritage, can contribute to social, cultural and economic aspects of sustainable development.
• Which strategies are used today in historic preservation, and how can we practically restore buildings from the postwar twentieth century? Which methods are used in cultural assessment and designation? Given the quantity and quality of monuments and buildings from the postwar twentieth century period different methods of preservation, in terms of fabrics and constructions, need to be discussed as do methods of inventory. There is also a need to discuss what legal protection is suitable for this mass of buildings and planned areas. Deeper knowledge of postwar twentieth century architecture and municipal planning in the region can contribute to better understanding the various values that can be ascribed to this period and facilitates, in turn, what is necessary to mediate to decision makers.