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From Disposable Architecture to Industrial Monument – The Concept of Contemporary Industrial Heritage in Quebec and in Germany

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From Disposable Architecture to Industrial Monument – The Concept of Contemporary Industrial Heritage in Quebec and in Germany

Borck, Anja (2013) From Disposable Architecture to Industrial Monument – The Concept of Contemporary Industrial Heritage in Quebec and in Germany. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This dissertation stems from a simple question: how do western societies, shaped by continual industrialization, form a heritage concept when confronted with their contemporary industrial building stock? The purpose of comparing Quebec’s attitude towards its contemporary industrial heritage to that of Germany was done to understand what effects were at play that led to different outcomes even though a number of significant parameters seemed very similar in both locations. The first two chapters of this thesis will show that both Quebec and Germany look back to a century old tradition in commemorating historic industrial sites, but the motivation to do so was coming from very different directions. This indicated that the two countries started their involvement in industrial heritage protection from differing positions. In Germany, not only was legal preservation of industrial sites gaining continued strength after it was re-established in the 1970s, but in most of the German Länder preservation curators included industrial machinery (technical or mechanical equipment) both inside and outside of the buildings, when adding an industrial site to their heritage list. The case studies show that the country’s curators have integrated already contemporary industrial sites in their protection demands. They treat these sites as historic records that store valuable information in the material itself and should therefore be treated with care, specifically when economic considerations requested to convert these sites.
Quebec’s officials hesitated for a much longer time to include industrial sites in their legal monument protection program, and when they did, it was implemented in a more arbitrary fashion. Quebec listed more than anything else small rural workshops to represent the province’s contemporary industrial heritage. The more representative large industrial complexes of the post-World War Two era remained without recognition. These sites are increasingly coming to the end of their intended life. Even if they have outstanding historical, artistic or technical qualities, they face demolition long before any possible heritage value could be addressed. This will lead to a gap in Quebec’s historic narrative in the future. Germany seems, in regard to contemporary industrial heritage recognition, some steps ahead of Quebec. Can Germany therefore be an inspiration for Quebec? This dissertation shows that there is no easy answer to that question but that an analysis by the reader of this thesis helps to guide, in a fruitful direction, the much needed discussion in Quebec.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Borck, Anja
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Art History
Date:2013
Thesis Supervisor(s):Belisle, Jean
ID Code:977147
Deposited By: ANJA BORCK
Deposited On:17 Jun 2013 15:04
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:43
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