The architect’s house, the home the architect builds for himself, is a tool more powerful than one would imagine at first. As being the client, as well as the designer, the architect has hardly any constraints during the design and construction process, besides his own wishes. He can use his own house for instance as a unique opportunity for a technological or architectural experiment and cultivate his sense of “entrepreneurial daring” to the fullest. The house can also become a manifest, a pilot project, a masterpiece or turning point in the architect his career. Thereby it represents the best possible business card within the profession.
The conservation of architectural heritage is achieved by various stakeholders together, ranging from researchers to practitioners, owners, heritage organisations and policy makersc. All these actors have different objectives, operate in various manners, and can have an impact on different aspects on different scales. As the type-specific values of architects’ houses are also related to various aspects on such different scales (the local urban fabric, the architectural oeuvre or professional network), each stakeholder plays an important role in the overall valorisation of an architect’s house. Several modalities to valorise these type-specific values often already exist within the framework of each stakeholder (such as specific restoration strategies and determinations of the heyday, guided tours, different sorts of listing, etc.). Yet, there is a strong focus on case-specific values while type-specific values are often overlooked, resulting in a disbalance between the actual values of the house and the ones currently being recognized and valorised.
Therefore, the research team of the project "Architects' houses in Brussels. Strategies for valorisation" is developing a hands-on toolkit to facilitate the successful recognition, integration, interpretation and qualitative assessment of the newly-identified layers of significance and subsequent type-specific heritage values throughout the heritage sector. The objective is to offer a high-quality methodology representing only a limited additional workload in time and effort to easily intagrate a new layer to architectural-historical analyses and value assessments. As such, we provide a qualitative and supportive base for improved descion-making and a more inclusive set-up of projects. Seen the variety of stakeholders involved in the valorisation of arcihtects' houses (such as architects, policy makers, academics, heritage organisations, etc.), the toolkit is available in different formats, tailored to the needs and specific workflows of each stakeholder.
The toolkit provides all necessary information, tools and guidelines to perform a micro-scale analysis on the individual scale of the building complemented with a meso-scale analysis (quick scan on the oeuvre and career) and macro-scale analysis (positioning of the house within the building type and its urban context) to easily retrieve and assess the type-specific values of the architect's house concerned. The analyses are all condensed in a highly graphical manner that allow an easy interpretation. For instance, the meso anlaysis is conducted through the creation of a set of interlinked schemes (see toolkit output example below). Moreover, seen that the added value of these schemes is not only limited to stakeholders involved with architects’ houses (they also include monographic information on architects and their oeuvres) a central repository for these schemes to facilitate future research and valorisation perspectives is being created. The toolkit is currently being tested, fine-tuned and optimized for the use by the various stakeholders and will be available from the summer of 2021 onwards.
More information available soon.
Output example: tools 3-6
On the left, the visual result of the quick scan of the oeuvre generated with the toolkit is shown. The map displays the geographical spread of the architect's oeuvre, colour-coded based on the construction date of his personal residence. On the right, the functional and formal typological assesse-ment of the oeuvre is summerized and positioned within the geographical-chrono-logical framework.
© Linsy Raaffels, 2020
2. Micro-scale ckecklist
The case-based aspects of importance for a profound understanding of the architect's house (such as the building history, circulation patterns, materiality, etc.) are condensed in a checklist that architects can elaborate using their own in-house methology, models and workflows. For stakeholders less familiar with suchlike assessments, research fiches are included based on international standards and templates (e.g. Dublin Core and, DOCOMOMO Registers) to document the individual building, and are complemented with literature on how to perform these assessments.
More information soon available.