Interview to Benjamin Mouton by Built Heritage and Heritage Architecture

Chang Qing and Plácido González

The growing interest of heritage in architecture education is a reflection of deeper changes in society, which claim for a renewed attention to the built environment. This purpose needs specific training such as the programs that the School of Chaillot in France has been developing since it was founded in 1887, and that now serve as a reference for the cooperation in joint education experiences between this institution and Tongji University.

Professor Benjamin Mouton is a fundamental bridge in the communication between France and China, and works intensively on this purpose since his incorporation to Tongji University in 2016. Educated and trained as an Architect, he was Professor at the School of Chaillot between 1983 and 2016 where he also served as Co-director of Studies. Chief Architect of Historic Monuments since 1980, he is an expert in heritage conservation, whose experience covers monuments such as the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, the Basilica of Saint Denis, and the Hôtel National des Invalides in Paris, as well as other buildings in France such as the Cathedral of Quimper. His institutional dimension is a prominent one, leading the French chapter of ICOMOS, and serving as Vice President of this organization between 2011 and 2014.

The conversation with Benjamin Benjamin Mouton reveals a highly interesting path between the architectural discipline and the many dimensions, both tangible and intangible, that inform the idea of heritage as a social construction today. Benjamin Mouton’s reflections about the practice of conservation and restoration solve the gap with the practice of architecture, through the principles of creativity and the continuity of the transformation of the built environment throughout time. Of particular interest are also his opinions about authenticity starting from the evaluation of the ICOMOS Venice Charter, and his search for coherence in the relationship between the new and the old, questioning all kind of dogmatisms and putting the need of continuity with the past at the forefront of the production of contemporary architecture.

Shanghai, April 18, 2018

 

[Chang Qing]:

We can start by reflecting on your experience at the School of Chaillot, about what is the underlying philosophy behind the School and the role that it has in architectural education.

[Benjamin Mouton]:

The school of Chaillot offers undergraduate level education for architecture and heritage, following two important principles. The first main idea is to form and to educate practitioners, giving them the competences for making designs, surveys, and being active in the field of heritage conservation and restoration.

The second main idea is to conceal this ambition within a limited lapse of time: it is impossible to give the students all the necessary knowledge in just two years. So we provide the students a methodology, enabling them to organize their research and works. Then they would know which door they have to open to go further when they find an important question. But we don't say them what is it behind the door because it would be too important.

So the methodology provides basically a guide to go where to they have to go; roughly and mainly, it is to be practical in the field of active conservation. Therefore, at the end of the first year the goal is to prepare students to conserve and act in cases of emergency, saving buildings in a bad situation. At the end of the second year, they will be able to go up to the scaffoldings to be very practical and concrete.

[Plácido González]:

What is the role of the School of Chaillot, in the education of the Architect of Buildings of France (ABF)?

[Benjamin Mouton]:


The role of Chaillot in the education for ABF is very limited. Chaillot offers a small selection of courses, while there are many courses from the Ecole des Ponts et Chausees (School of Bridges and Roads). That is a different focus, mostly oriented towards management than to the practice of architecture. The role of Chaillot is first to educate postgraduate architects of heritage; what we call in French ‘Architectes de Patrimoine’ (Heritage Architects), and if they after try to win a tender, the School of Chaillot would then form them as Chief Architects of Historic Monuments (CAHM). It is basically an education for state employees and very competent specialists in the practice of conservation.

[Plácido González]:

This is a very unique system that belongs to the French tradition in the high-class education that is at the origins at the Ecole National d’Administration (ENA, National School of Administration), too.

[Benjamin Mouton]:

Yes, that is true for the education of ABF, it works like a normal state school of Administration. For the case of the CAHM, with so much load of technical issues, then it would be more related to the idea of a “Polytechnic of Heritage”. So it is a very high level of education, and it is the only one of its kind referring to heritage around the world.

[Chang Qing]:

Yes, maybe it would be useful to establish this distinction because to our knowledge, ABF are the national architects for monument restoration, which we call in Chinese “法国建筑师制度”, and who have higher qualifications than common architects.

[Benjamin Mouton]:

To be clear, ABF are State employees which are not allowed to make designs. They are in charge of the maintenance of the historic monuments that belong to the State. And they are in charge of giving consultancy and advice about the conservation of historic monuments and protected sites in urban or rural environments, as well as about their surroundings.

CAHM are also State employees in charge of the major works of restoration in historic monuments: first in historic monuments belonging to the State and secondly in classified historic monuments and private historic monuments. The main difference would be that CAHM would be working like private architects; that is to say, receiving commissions and depending on the importance of the work they develop, they have established honorarium to run their offices.

So the main difference is that in the past, the ABF were ordinary architects of historic monuments, giving help to the CAHM who sits in a higher step in hierarchy. Therefore there is a difference of rank, of kind of work and responsibilities.

 

[Chang Qing]:

According to this, they are controlling the situation between old and new, between historic monuments and new buildings, as well as the environment around the monuments…

[Benjamin Mouton]:

Beyond that stage, some of the CAHM can raise to the rank of General Inspector. General Inspectors also belong to the State, and are in charge of offering an expert view on the new projects developed by the CAHM, also giving advice to the French Ministry of Culture, which is finally responsible to authorize their works. So in practical terms, the General Inspector is the highest level in this kind of responsibility. It is a very well established system that has been working for about one hundred and twenty years.

[Plácido González]:

Certainly, this organization is a reference in Europe and in the world.
Referring back to the educational mission of the School of Chaillot, what is the potential of the cooperation and exchange in heritage education between Tongji and Chaillot?


[Benjamin Mouton]:

I think there is an important one. We have developed four crossed workshops between Chaillot and Tongji since eleven years ago, which have been a fundamentally experimental work. Those experiences were highly informative to observe that both Chaillot and Tongji share many similar approaches to heritage. After these workshops we have started to develop a further cooperation with Tongji: my role in this cooperation is to act as a bridge and bring the most interesting aspects of Chaillot’s education to Tongji, to educate practitioners for practical activities in heritage conservation and restoration.

[Plácido González]:

Do you think that this focus on the practical issues is a way to overcome cultural differences in heritage conservation?

[Benjamin Mouton]:

Yes, because the problem is how to identify and understand the difference of culture. And as you can identify them you can analyze them and you can conserve and respect them. There is no real difference between conserving a Drum Tower in the Dong countries and the Bell Tower in the Cathedral of Chartres. Both examples are only buildings, which you begin to survey and analyze, with their materials, stone, wood, plaster, mortar, tiles.

Drum Tower in the Dong countries. Source: Tianyu Chen.

When we had the crossed workshops it was very interesting to look at how Chinese and French students worked together. French students felt aware about this difference of culture. They would ask their Chinese colleagues the reasons for doing things a certain way, and the Chinese students would say that they had always seen and done things that way and that so doing is normal. Then the French students would ask why it is normal, and then the Chinese students would say “ah, yes, that’s a good question”, and vice versa.Both were trying to understand together what made things being ‘normal’ as they would say. So it was a movement for all together to try to understand why, the reasons and motivations. So in this kind of methodology there is no such cultural difference, it is just a matter to understand because a building is a building. That's all. And for me it was absolutely fantastic to discover this.

[Plácido González]:

This is a very rational perspective that can lead us to the 1964 Venice Charter. It has been considered the reference document for a modern scientific approach to heritage conservation, which is being challenged today by the proliferation of other charters, recommendations and new ideas about key conservation concepts like authenticity. We would like to know your opinion about this situation: to what extent do the principles of the Venice Charter apply today?

[Benjamin Mouton]:

 

I'm very happy to answer to your question, because I consider the Venice Charter is the best charter that has ever been written about conservation. Before the Venice Charter, there were two congresses of architects and technicians. The first one was in 1931 in Athens (just one year before Le Corbusier’s Charter of Athens), and the second one took place in Paris in 1957. After each Congress there were some expressions, wishes and statements that finally led to the Venice Charter in 1964. Therefore, the Venice Charter comes from a very long way before in the past.After the Venice Charter, every ICOMOS Conference has aimed to make a new charter or draft new guidelines, producing many other documents since then. And when you read the Venice Charter, there are two main pages, not more, that basically describe the main orientations necessary for conservation and restoration. Now the Venice Charter is more than 50 years old and its sense and spirit are still valuable today. Take for example conservation, and its application still makes sense; about restoration, it is in the sense of going back to very clear idea of architecture that was developed in very cautious and conscious ways.The Venice Charter does not specifically speak about authenticity, but it conveys a sense of respect to all the layers of the story on the building in case they are interesting. So it is a principle for analysis and judgment that still applies today. The Venice Charter was not strict or severe defining a doctrine or a professional way to work. Much to the contrary, it is a very open document, generous and optimistic for the conservation of buildings and for the human beings that inhabit them. It was also written in a very elegant way, using very little words to express very large ideas. So for me, it discovers all the problems of today.And your question is also very interesting because this year 2018 is the European Year of Cultural Heritage. And the French chapter of ICOMOS has decided to launch a question about the validity of the Venice Charter today, which is quite similar to your question. I am in charge of this question, and we are trying to produce an answer gathering contributions from all ICOMOS chapters in Europe. The idea is to compare a selection of buildings which were restored just after the Venice Charter around 50 years ago, and the restoration of monuments which have been recently completed.This is still an ongoing process and probably we will be finding some differences; but also probably we will find there is none. Or maybe it is a question that lies inside the architect’s mind, about the development of a contemporary sensibility and so on. But going to its deepest sense, I still consider the Venice Charter is still valid today; maybe not in the exact words, but definitely in its spirit. And about the notion of authenticity; I think it is a very easy word to say but very difficult to apply as many questions arise: What is authenticity? When does it begin? When does it stop? Is there any authenticity in the future? What is the authenticity of intangible heritage? How can you measure it? And so on. And I can’t answer that; I don't know; it's a lot.

 

[Chang Qing]:

 

In my opinion and applied to monuments, authenticity means both real and original. And maybe you can tell for the most part of architectural heritage in China, by saying simply that a building is not original if it is merely an imitation of the form. But another issue about originality refers to how changes happened in any kind of building with the passing of time and history. So the question: what is authenticity? Implies quite different ideas, for which we have different answers in different architecture systems, therefore I don't like to use the word authenticity. I wonder if you agree with me…

 

[Benjamin Mouton]:

 

Yes, I understand and agree with your argument. It recalls me that I gave a lecture last year, asking about how many authenticities were to be found in Notre Dame. And I remember it was very interesting question, for which I have no answer.

 

[Plácido González]:

 

In fact it is a social political construction. There are so many issues that in the recent years have started to inform the concept of authenticity, that the question has become culturally even more complex. This idea of authenticity refers also to the two following questions; which are the relationship between Viollet-le-Duc and the concept of stylistic restoration, and also the idea the relationship between conservation and re-creation. (30:20)

[Benjamin Mouton]:

 

I can give you two examples for the first question. First is Notre Dame: Among other works, Viollet-le-Duc had to restore the West Gate and to rebuild the Spire; two elements about which he already had documentation. So it was difficult for him to propose something different than to recreate whatever had been destroyed; to bring it back thanks to the documentation.

The second, very interesting example is the castle of Pierrefonds. It was partially demolished at the beginning of the 17th century. And at the end of the 19th century, the Emperor Napoleon III asked Viollet-le-Duc to have a country house, a little palace in the countryside, where he could spend his weekends. So Viollet-le-Duc started to analyze and study the building, and began to restore. And there was a time when Viollet-le-Duc said: ‘I must stop, I can't restore anymore because I don't know what is the basis for this’. And the Emperor told him: ‘I didn’t ask you to restore, I asked you to give me a country house, so continue the works, please’.

The castle of Pierrefonds. Souce: Philippe Berthé

So Viollet-le-Duc agreed and said ‘Okay, I will’, and he had two ways to finish the work. The first, for example he needed to cover one of the towers and he thought it was possible to make a copy of the other towers, in order to achieve a harmony with the rest of the skyline. He chose this because most important for him was the harmony of the result, and not the difference between what was authentic what was not. So the idea was not a historic authenticity, but probably his work referred to the ‘authentic’ character of Architecture as an act of creation.

 

And it is very interesting to see that it was not built in the medieval style; but something melting the Gothic style and the new modern styles from the end of the 19th century and beginning of 20th century; it was just so advanced for his time. So the concept ‘stylistic restoration’ applies to Viollet-le-Duc, but only in the 

sense of achieving something which is harmonious and homogenous. And this is very interesting to think about. When after Pierrefonds we speak about conservation and recreation, we must ask ourselves what kind of result was Viollet-le-Duc aiming to achieve: something harmonious like one single architecture, even though some parts may be very ancient and authentic, and other parts may be new, but just similar to the original ones.

Because when people look at the castle of Pierrefonds today, they do not ask themselves if it is right, false, ancient or new. They want to perceive one building; they don't need to ask themselves such a complex question. If a specialist needs to reflect on this, and is specifically trained to answer this question, then he or she may have some documentation from Viollet-le-Duc -he produced a huge amount documents from every work he made-, and probably some of these documents will give indications on the nature of old materials and new materials.

Answering to the question, the relationship between conservation and restoration or re-creation is: for conservation, you maintain as you discover. That is to say, you would not add or take off anything from a building in bad condition, but just perform the minimal actions to maintain it as it is. For a restoration or a re-creation, your evaluation consists in saying what is good, what is bad, what is interesting, what is not, what hinders an understanding of its architecture and what is helping to understand it. After this evaluation you make a judgment, according to which you would take off and create, obtain finally a new architecture.

So conservation is in the field of maintaining, and restoration is in the field of recreating or creating architecture. For the first subject very highly technique principles include physical and chemical issues. And on the other hand, restoration is in my opinion a matter of architecture.


[Chang Qing]:

This means that in your opinion, sometimes a little bit reversible addition is necessary?

[Benjamin Mouton]:  

Yes, I think even if you are not absolutely sure for something but, you may try to do so departing from the documentation and analysis you made about the building, such as structures and aesthetic coherency and materials and so on.

[Chang Qing]:

This would be maybe the case of Viollet-le-Duc’s intervention in the Spire of Notre Dame?

[Benjamin Mouton]:

The spire of Notre Dame was built in the 1250s. Then it was removed in the 16th century. Then it was dismantled at the end of the 18th century. So within the volume of the roof, there are all the remaining of the spire from 13th and 16th century. After he made an analysis of the remains, Viollet-le-Duc understood how the 13th and the 16th century spires were, and he proposed to recreate the older one because it contributed to what he understood was a more homogenous aspect of Notre Dame.

The north tower of Saint Denis.Souce:Pierre Richer

For example, nowadays the spire of the north tower of Saint Denis is to be rebuilt as it was in the 19th century before Viollet-le-Duc dismantled it, because before doing so, he made a survey and made an exact measure of each stone, so we know exactly how it was. But we need to consider also that this spire is not an original one, but one from the 19th century built by Debret only ten years before Viollet-le-Duc. So the question is very interesting to be discussed.

[Chang Qing]:

 

As you say, it is the history of the evolution of a building. Not a result, but a process.

 

[Benjamin Mouton]:

 

Absolutely, and the process doesn't stop today.

 

[Chang Qing]:

 

I remember many years ago, when we were studying the history of Western architecture for bachelor’s degree, how we learned from the results, which are always the great buildings. But we didn’t consider about the process of the building; what changes happened on it, its internal history, and this is a very important thing.

[Benjamin Mouton]:

Yes, it is quite interesting. Because we are on the line, we are not at the end of the line, but in the middle of the line, and the line is following! And tomorrow will be tomorrow for me and for the buildings too, and for their authenticity as well.

[Chang Qing]:

What were the major changes you brought to Notre Dame when you served as Chief Architect? Maybe you did some replicas of damaged parts in order to replace them and bring the damaged elements to the museum?

[Benjamin Mouton]:


No, not so many changes, I think. You know, I was the restorer of two or three cathedrals already and I didn't ask myself this question. It is interesting since it’s coming for you. I had to do what you mention to conserve some sculptures on the top of the north tower of Notre Dame. They were very interesting despite being from the 19th century, so I decided to replace them with copies, putting the original ones in the best conservation conditions. I also made some repairs to crests of the roof, changing them slightly to make clear that they were new copied elements. I sum and to answer your question, I didn't make many restoration works, but mostly conservation. I guess I invented nothing, nor re-created anything.

[Chang Qing]:

This refers to the matter of integration, which is very important as you mentioned in your class: sometimes it is not just about authenticity, and we may need to perform some little changes to achieve the work’s integrity.

[Plácido González]:

What has been the most challenging project that you have developed? How do you think your ideas about conservation have evolved after your long experience?

[Benjamin Mouton]:

Well, it is a difficult question because my memory is fading. One of the most difficult questions I had to face was the consolidation and reinforcement of the Quimper Cathedral due to very important stability problems of the buttresses. This was an interesting subject for me, especially because I was beginning to be in charge of the courses of reinforcement in Chaillot, so it was a great challenge. I tried to make a very light solution with tension cables inside of the masonry, and it was a very interesting process because the owner of the cathedral, the State, and also the Ministry of Culture gave me very high confidence. So I was very free and responsible to manage this according to my ideas.

How did my approach evolve? I guess it has done so because at the beginning of my work I thought that the conservation of historic monuments was mainly a problem of technique. I considered that conservation was not architecture; I thought they were different, but now I am sure they are not. The reason for this change is that I understand that the problems of restoration and the sense of historic monuments no longer refer just to mere icons. They are something useful for society, useful for human beings, and useful for the future as the sense of historic monuments evolves to the sense of built heritage.

The Quimper Cathedral. Source: Getty Images.

https://www.vcg.com/creative/1007674547

So now for me it is a matter of architecture, as it is a part of society. And this is the sense in which my ideas have evolved: not in the sense of techniques, maybe in the sense of doctrines because with time I understand the difference between conservation and restoration in these terms; conservation is not intended to create a collection of pretty looking things. Its conception needs to reflect on how is it more useful for society, because it is defining something about the memory and the intelligence of our society, of our culture and our civilization.

[Plácido González]:

We would also like to know your opinion about the potential that you envision for the use of technologies in the future of conservation? And with this I would refer not only to material conservation, but to many other economic, social, cultural dimensions of heritage that have been developed in the last years.


[Benjamin Mouton]:

I think first about the tools for survey: we can have now 3D images offering very precise measures of buildings. They are all very important and very useful. But I would stress that they cannot replace the human tools which are the eye, the brain and the pencil. This is to say that you may have as much information as you want, but it is completely useless if you are not able to understand it.

We also have new technology possibilities such as chemical treatments for material conservation, as well as tools to analyze the mechanism of decay which are very helpful for us. But not everything is related to avant-gardist solutions. For example, we have a very important laboratory in France which belongs to the State, called the
“Research Laboratory for Historic Monuments”. This laboratory engages in practical research for the application of particular conservation methods.

I had their help in many times, and what is interesting is that they have information about which techniques have been applied to a variety of monuments during their conservation history, and it is remarkable to see how they are starting to recover very simple methods and treatments of conservation. So thanks to the laboratory, we are going back to very simple and traditional ways of conservation. So we are facing the very interesting situation, where research on new technologies is helping us to go further and at the same time, giving us confidence to recover ancient ways of conservation.

[Plácido González]:

What are the main challenges that the research and practice of conservation are facing now in China?

[Chang Qing]:

You have some experience of projects on site. For example, in Shanghai, the Forbidden City in Beijing, in Ningbo…

[Benjamin Mouton]:

I have had no opportunity to see in detail many issues about design, or conservation problems, or approaches to different ways to restore in China, so this is a rather difficult question for me. About the challenges in the field I have been working on, mainly in the framework of the cooperation with Tongji, I would say that both France and China need to create stronger platforms to raise the level of exchange and competency in the field of conservation. That is to say to take experience from practitioners in both countries in order to create something new from old established practices.

[Chang Qing]:

How about the Forbidden City? How many times have you visited the Forbidden City in Beijing?

[Benjamin Mouton]:

It has been actually three times. The first time I was on my way from Xi’an to Paris and I had 30 minutes and I ran to the Forbidden City, I think, from the North Gate to the South Gate. I saw some gardens and many red walls, but it was impossible for me to see something else.


The second time was the following year, when there was a formal appointment with some institutional representatives and delegations. But this was finally just a 30-minute trip from the West Gate to the East Gate. I was on a Monday, so the Forbidden City was closed and it was not possible to have a proper visit. This third time I joined the students from Tongji because they were making a survey in the West Gate. We visited a restoration work in the roof of a large house. It was very interesting for me, and thanks to the scaffoldings I could discover other more interesting features as a practitioner.

I also had the opportunity to meet Mr. Zhao, a young Conservation Architect of the Forbidden City and he gave me a lecture about the way they conserve; later I gave a similar lecture rather about the conservation work in Notre Dame, with an insight to the role of technicians and organizations, together with some examples of our restoration works to date. So it was very interesting because he made a conservation program for the Forbidden City until 2035. I told him I was very impressed, and asked the reason for that date. And he told me it was not for anything related to the building, but because that is the year of his retirement (chuckles).

[Plácido González]:

And after your long experience, which building or type of heritage buildings would you like to study, work or intervene here in China?

[Benjamin Mouton]:

Well, I guess there is not one singular building but a variety of buildings. I have always been very interested in the traditional ways of housing in China. This comes from my experience joining the Tongji-Chaillot workshops: every time we arrived to a village, visiting and surveying very traditional houses allowed me to gain a conscience and discover the quality of life in these places, thanks to different questions related to the climate, the culture and so on. So maybe the answer to your question would be: I would like to restore an ancient house for living in a traditional way with nowadays shower, water, electricity, but very few.

I also have a great interest on other topics. For example, I went to Sichuan just after the earthquake, sent by the French Ministry of Culture, because of my experiences in similar cases in Romania and Assisi (Italy). I was very surprised to see how ancient buildings built in wood for example, did resist the earthquake in a very good condition; and how others, especially those built in concrete or using masonry, did not. I was then eager to understand how this happened, aiming to survey and to discover how building types, especially pagodas and towers, are resisting to seismic effects. I wouldn’t say that their pillars go very deep into the ground, I am sure that is not the main reason. For example, the Drum Tower we saw in Guizhou, did not have any foundations deep into the ground: it was just lying on the stones and that’s all. So for me, this would be the second subject I would be interested to study. I am sure I would need to spend a lot of time to understand these issues, but nevertheless I would like to try.

[Chang Qing]:

Our last question relates to the lecture you will hold tomorrow evening, entitled “Are architects afraid of heritage?” I am very interested in this subject; could you elaborate in this issue?

[Benjamin Mouton]:

The first topic for this lecture is: “are heritage and historic monuments the same?” and the answer is that we used to consider that heritage and historic monuments are the same thing, and this mindset is wrong. Because historic monuments are icons, while heritage is about memory which is something you receive from your parents. It is something you don’t want to lose and it is something you want to live with. And if you want to live with it, then you need to choose to conserve what is important and to change what is not. For a historic monument as an icon, you might change nothing but a little, whereas for heritage you must be able to change according to what are its interesting characteristics. So this is the first question: heritage is not historic monuments. Therefore, it is important not to apply the strict rules of historic monuments to heritage because otherwise you would be blocking everything and spoiling the whole idea: people would just say that is enough with heritage; that there is too much heritage; that we need to get rid of heritage.

The second idea I am working on is “what is heritage today”. It is important to know that it is not only a collection of very pretty things; it is something that we need because the globalization of society is making people lose their orientation and references. They need something to know where they stand, and heritage is giving them this thing they need. So I am raising the answer saying that heritage is necessary for the future and for building a future society.

[Chang Qing]:

It is something to do with identity, the local identity, the family identity and personal identity, right?

[Benjamin Mouton]:

Yes, it comprises every matter that constitutes heritage: the materiality; the style; the comfort; the use; the memory of people, that is to say so many things. And also including the deepest, most important sense of heritage, which is its intangible sense. For historic monuments are mostly material, and heritage is mostly an intangible issue.

The third part of my lecture comes from a workshop we had with the Sapienza University of Rome several years ago, in which I presented the methodology we followed to restore a castle. The case matters because it was not a very interesting castle, and the key would be to conserve something we doesn't which is giving no emotion, no sense because impossible to understand. As I argue, the goal of the architect’s work is to understand what happened, how it was before whatever happened; how to decide the chances of the building to move forward considering its history and its architectural interest.  

And the last question I address in my lecture is about the work of non-specialized architects in the transformation of historic monuments. This is a relatively frequent situation in France: you have a program to make a museum, hotel, school or anything else on a historic monument. As I argue, modern architects seldom understand these buildings; they answer to them in opposition, or in contrast, sometimes almost literally fighting against the building. And the frequent outcome of this situation is not one single architecture, but two completely different architectures; so the reverse question arises: “should heritage be afraid of architects?”

And I think that our main challenge is to offer architects the necessary methodology to understand heritage not to be afraid of it; to develop a conservation idea, with the outcome of having one single architecture, and not two different ones. So my conclusion for this lecture is to say that heritage is not the dead part of architecture, but a very important living part of it instead. Because heritage is everywhere, there is no place without memory and I cannot accept that heritage architects are the only ones entitled to work on heritage, for this should be an issue shared by all architects.

We need to overcome many difficulties to achieve this. Because heritage is the most difficult work that an architect may develop due to the need to understand, to calculate and to imagine so many different aspects and facts. So the last open question would be how to enable all architects to understand heritage through training and formation, and this is a big challenge for which we have many steps ahead to climb.

(Transcript by Feiran Huang,proofread by Placido Gonzalez.)

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