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About this book

This book approaches the field of built heritage and its practices by employing the concept of heterotopia, established by the French philosopher Michel Foucault. The fundamental understandings of heritage, its evolution and practices all reveal intrinsic heterotopic features (the mirror function, its utopic drive, and its enclave-like nature). The book draws on previous interpretations of heterotopia and argues for a reading of heritage as heterotopia, considering various heritage mechanisms – heritage selection, conservation and protection practices, and heritage as mnemonic device – in this regard. Reworking the six heterotopic principles, an analysis grid is designed and applied to various built heritage spaces (vernacular, religious architecture, urban 19th century ensembles). Guided through this theoretical itinerary, the reader will rediscover the heterotopic lens as a minor, yet promising, Foucauldian device that allows for a better understanding of heritage and its everyday practices.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
The chapter offers a brief description of the subject of the volume. It introduces the hypothesis of heritage through the heterotopic lens, of heritage as heterotopia , and identifies the main arguments of this approach, along with the main perspectives involved—heritage theory, conservation and restoration theory, and urban and architectural theory—in order to identify the coordinates and functioning algorithms that can create, shape or condition the heterotopic character of the heritage object.
Smaranda Spanu

Chapter 2. Heterotopia and the Utopian Project

Abstract
Utopias and their architectural embodiment. The ‘Heritage Utopia’. The chapter focuses on one of the main identifying features of heterotopia: its utopian coding. The utopian vision is able to ‘describe’ the social ordering in which it emerges, encapsulating its features—the good, the bad and the desired. As Foucault explains, heterotopias and heterotopic spaces are the materialized instances of such utopian impulses, projections and ideals. Several architectural materializations of utopias and their orderings are explored (Boullée, Ledoux, Fourier, Buckingham, Godin, Owen, Howard, Sitte and Unwin, Wright, Sant’Elia, Soleri), along with their inherent derivatives or hybrids—the spaces that inherit the coding of the model and with it its heterotopic coordinates. Although utopian projections gradually become more focused on the built form, imagining various ‘functionings’ of the tripartite mechanism (community, built form, production), they remain incapable to solve the issues addressed and to initiate new orderings. More than often these imperfectly materialized utopias remain one of a kind “laboratories” of unfulfilled idealized orderings, and in time become the subjects of heritage listing. Assessing these materialized utopias from a heritage perspective, heritage itself reveals its utopian encoding. Cultural heritage-as-utopian-projection is explored along with its potential heterotopic features, its translation into material manifestations entailing a heterotopic functioning. Focusing the analysis on the built heritage object, the impact of heritage listing is addressed as the main trigger of heterotopic functioning.
Smaranda Spanu

Chapter 3. The Heterotopic Character and the Function

Abstract
One of heterotopia ’s main interpretation directions in the examined specific literature points towards the function of the object—term understood as the binomial pairing of architectural programme and the associated characteristic practices. This direction is first justified through the very structure of the referenced Foucauldian text (Of Other Spaces ) which offers one such architectural programme as exemplification of each heterotopic principle, be it the binomial pairing of object plus practices (cemetery) or space plus practices (the festival, the colony); each of these palpable examples or programmes addressed in the philosophers text are read within their context (historic, social, political, geographic, etc.) appearing as mechanisms created by and for its functioning and necessities. This chapter explores this direction following the six-principle structure described by Foucault and their more prominent function-focused interpretations (Dehaene, De Cauter, Cenzatti, Petterson, etc.). The main profiles defined by Foucault —the crisis space, the space of compensation , of illusion, etc.—as well as the ‘secondary’ interpretations—defining it as tertiary space , intermediate space, public–private hybrid or space of mediation —are discussed from the perspective of the functions of the space, the architectural programme, but also in their redefined instances as heritage spaces . The generalization of the heterotopic character for an entire functional category (or architectural programme) can lead to an excessive abstraction and equivocal interpretation, hiding the individuality of the single object and finally downgrading the concept. At a quick glance, several common heterotopic traits can be identified for each functional category (such as cemeteries, prisons); despite these, upon covering the various approaches found in the specialized literature, it has been observed that the structure of the physical space and the functional structure can indeed possess a heterotopic potential, more or less intense or manifest, but not necessarily an all-encompassing heterotopic character. As shown in the previous chapter, focused on utopias, the consideration of any embodiment and evolution of these utopias as a heterotopic space would reflect a superficial approach of the concept, as well as a devaluation of the complexity of its significations. A favourable valorization of the concept would be, as considered throughout this research, the pursuing of the heterotopic characteristics not only within the functional categories (where they manifest and can be observed as physical traits) but also as practices and as contextual relations—both spatial and temporal. As this research argues, the category can retain, and usually does, this heterotopic predisposition, or heterotopic potential, that can become “active” on an ‘object to object basis’, through the manifestation of specific practices and through its particular relationing to its spatial and temporal context. Thereby, this chapter argues that the interpretation of the heterotopic space must rely on both an analysis of functionality/architectural programme (the material) and an analysis of the practices that have generated it (historical practices) and that inhabit it (present practices) as well as an analysis of its internal and contextual relations.
Smaranda Spanu

Chapter 4. Architecture and the Heterotopic Concept

Abstract
The present chapter proposes the outlining and identification of the main instances of the concept of heterotopia as it has been employed and observed in the field of architecture and urban planning , or in other words, the conceptualisation of alterity and the methods in which it is employed. Thus, whether it is a design methodology or an architectural composition technique, it is deliberately employed so as to create alterity ; it can also operate as a device for compatibility or interconnectivity, as a centralizing formula, or simply not only as a go-to solution for creating iconic objects, but also as a mnemonic dispositif . The attempts to identify an architectural heterotopic profile have managed to pinpoint as heterotopic either architectural typologies , specific architectural languages or certain functions, either have led to the condensation of specific design methodologies (deliberate creation of alterity ), engaging numerous advocates (Porphyrios, Jencks, Teyssot, Tafuri). From a strictly formal reading of heterotopia , as a deliberately created architectural discontinuity (volumetric, spatial)—as seen in Porphyrios—the approaches gradually steer towards a more nuanced interpretation—as seen in Jencks, the heterotopia as an organism (architectural and urban form as well as functioning). The annulment of alterity is discussed in the context of urban planning . Throughout the chapter, the relations developed by the heritage space as well as by the heritage object have been steadily observed, be it a built object, built ensemble of the area and recognized or not within the official heritage frame. The heterotopic spaces are finally identified in the stance of the heritage object. These approaches reflect different degrees of relating to and intervening in the historic fabric, yet all sharing the necessity of its conservation , for its capacity to act as a reference point, as a source for its own postmodern expressions (local/regional typologies) and as the already crystallized context in which the postmodern intervention must be accommodated. Shifting the focus onto heritage , the issue of authenticity is discussed, in relation to the postmodern architectural search and expression of traditional types. Assimilated and similar until indiscernible, the intervention in the heritage built fabric , the very context it values and it invokes as model and source. This sensitive issue of the heritage object and fabric is discussed in relation to the architectural production and the discourse of postmodern architecture (Quinlan Terry, Christopher Alexander and others) as well as through the connected issue of authenticity or reconstruction . Based on these, the research has pursued the identification of the heterotopic character of the heritage space, along Foucault ’s coordinates and through the restoration intervention —which ultimately reflects the perception and conceptualisation of heritage . The analysis of the various interpretations of alterity and of the concept of heterotopia unfolded in this chapter, focus on the identification of a space-oriented and heritage -oriented reading. The evolution of the attitudes towards heritage as well as its perceptions—given its transition towards a more objective “gaze”, the accumulation of meanings, the creation of and the relationship with the heritage ideal , the impact of the official status previously analysed—can explain the way in which the heritage object and the heritage space acquire heterotopic coordinates .
Smaranda Spanu

Chapter 5. Heritage as a Heterotopic Space. The Tertiary Character and the Hybrid Characteristic as Arguments of Its Heterotopic Character

Abstract
The chapter presents in a condensed fashion the main argument of the present research, outlined along the lines of the initial theoretical segment of the work. The heritage’s tertiary and intermediate character—or otherness—is argued within the preamble, understood as a conceptual entity (the conceptual heritage space, of theoretical space defined through concepts, theories and attitudes that shape the perspectives onto the heritage built object. Related to the thin intermediate character it is also discussed the dichotomist structure of heritage. Underlying this concept is the ideas of selection, of inclusion and exclusion, of valuable and non-valuable, that have (historically) fashioned the heterogeneous nature of heritage itself. Imagined as n-conceptual entity, heritage expresses simultaneously two contradictory desiderata: the utopic one, of unity and universal and democratic representation of all identities, and that of the selection of value, of division between valuable and non-valuable. The heritage requires and establishes numerous internal hierarchies, ramifies series of criteria, values, intensities and nuances, different degrees of protection, etc. The source of this imperative of creating hierarchies and divisions can be encountered in the very desire for unity and inclusion. The entire heritage normative apparatus functions as a mediating dispositif, necessary for managing its heterogeneous nature. The dichotomic, the tertiary or intermediate character are further discussed through an example, the decolonization process, pre-eminently unfolded within the heritage sphere. Thus, the us/them separation in never a fixed one: in relation to the context in which it is discussed, the categories change their “content”. Heritage appears as an assembled reflection, continuously re-adjusted through the negotiation process between the two focal points. Finally, this chapter proposes a condensed analysis tool based on the heterotopic profile. This set of coordinates can allow, in the proposed interpretation, the identification of the heterotopic character and functioning of a specific place. This heterotopic functioning, in its turn, is able to signal an insufficiently visible heritage potential, it can explain a specific evolution of a space and it can also signal the dilution of a heritage value. Traced back to the basic reading of the Foucauldian text, these heterotopic spaces (both conceptual and material) ultimately reflect the image of the society in a specific moment in time and in a specific context; the reading of the heritage space through this heterotopic lenses can delineate such an image not only retrospectively but also in the present—an image that is usually more difficult to grasp due to its very proximity. The ensuing case study focuses on a particular manifestation of balneal spaces—the development of the leisure profile of the Romanian Black-Sea coast during the communist regime. The large scale, state-patroned project is analysed via its material form (architecture, and urban planning), its practices, and its contextual relations—in order to identify its basic heterotopic profile and functioning. Via its leisure profile, the project illustrates a strong multilayered utopian encoding, enhanced through its contemporary evolution. Analysed through the proposed grid of heterotopic coordinates, the coastal network of resorts reveals its heritage potential, threatened by its ongoing processes of disintegration.
Smaranda Spanu

Chapter 6. Case Study

Abstract
In the final chapter, heterotopia is explored via a case study. This analysis identifies the set of heterotopic features common to the wider category of leisure spaces, identifying the basic heterotopic ‘components’ common to spas, balneal or coastal resorts, and observing how these navigate from foreground to background in different temporal and spatial instances of leisure spaces. This concept of a basic heterotopic profile, previously argued in the book, implies that the built object can harbour a heterotopic potential within its spatial and physical features—features that are in themselves carriers of encodings of specific social orderings, imprinted on and shaping the object. The case study is designed as a comparative analysis of several concrete examples, followed by the focusing on the modernist time frame and the evolution of one Romanian embodiment of leisure space, (re)embodied under the communist regime. The heritage point of view is closely explored, in support of the book’s main argument: the heritage-as-heterotopia premise. The focus onto a specific spatio-temporal evolution of a leisure space—one of the categories of ‘other spaces’ approached by Foucault—showcases the heterotopic potential of the heritage object.
Smaranda Spanu

Chapter 7. Conclusions

Abstract
The final chapter underlines several general conclusions of the research, as well as the overall intention of the demarche. Here, the arguments in favour of the applicability of the proposed heterotopic profile (and the analysis grid) are restated. Its utility and its potential are underlined, especially when taking into account the contemporary context, the coordinates and the evolution of a very diverse and increasingly fragile built heritage. Finally, the overall approach of the text is reconsidered in retraced in terms of its theoretical demarche, as a fragment in the continuous process of (re)defining the concept of heritage.
Smaranda Spanu

Backmatter

Additional information