EUL Academician Mısırlısoy touched upon the topic of “Reuse of Cultural Heritage Buildings”
Public awareness should be increased on the reuse of historical buildings
European University of Lefke (EUL) Faculty of Architecture Faculty Member Asst. Prof. Dr. Damla Mısırlısoy made statements on the subject of “Reuse of Cultural Heritage Buildings”.
Stating that the reuse of cultural heritage structures provides social, cultural, economic and ecological benefits to the region and the people living there, Mısırlısoy said that the structures that have lost their function should be used with new functions in order to ensure the continuity of the structure, but that the new function to be given to the building is necessary to ensure the continuity of the cultural heritage. She stated that the heritage structure can be realized with the protection of heritage values.
Reuse is a method that has been going on for centuries.
“Reuse and adaptation is defined as the process of making an existing building suitable for new use, and this process may include some interventions, changes, additions to the existing building, improvements and other similar applications. Reuse, the concept called ‘adaptive reuse’ in English, has existed for centuries. It is an ongoing method. However, while in the previous periods, the only purpose was to reuse the existing building stock, today, considering the cultural heritage values of the building, the function of the building to be reused is based on more scientific foundations,” said Mısırlısoy. She stated that historical buildings may lose their original function over time for different reasons and that when the building loses its original function in the period it was built, the building should be re-functionalized and brought back to life in order to preserve its originality. Indicating that the function of transferring the building to future generations is a very gradual and not easy process as there are many factors in the decision stage, Mısırlısoy also drew attention to the necessity of considering the cultural, social, environmental and economic dimensions of the building in the process of deciding with which function the cultural heritage building will be used.
Misirlisoy continued her statement as follows; “Giving the building the most appropriate function is an important decision in terms of preserving the cultural significance of the building. In the process of refunctioning historical buildings, first of all, the existing structure should be analyzed in detail. Apart from maintaining the building physically, it also needs to preserve its authenticity and heritage values. This can only be achieved by suggesting the functions and users appropriate to the character of the building. In order to determine the most suitable function for the building, detailed analyzes and necessary examinations should be made to determine the needs of the region, and all factors affecting the adaptation process of the building to reuse should be considered with a holistic approach. One of the biggest problems we encounter in cultural heritage management, especially in public buildings, is the property status of the building. For sustainable reuse projects, the needs of the region should be determined, the participation of the society and the cooperation of the stakeholders should be ensured. On this issue, both public awareness should be increased and decision-makers and stakeholders should be educated on this issue.”
One of the biggest problems encountered in the conservation and reuse of cultural heritage is the lack of budget to cover maintenance and repair costs.
“One of the biggest problems in the conservation and reuse of cultural heritage is the lack of budget to cover maintenance and repair costs. The restoration phase is a very long, arduous and very costly process. In addition, after the completion of the restoration works, interventions should be made at certain intervals to the building,” said Mısırlısoy, adding that it is necessary for the cultural heritage to generate profit in order to provide a budget that can meet the future maintenance and repair costs, and in this context, it is important to prepare a management plan for the future sustainability of the building in the decision process.
Mısırlısoy finally concluded her words as follows; “Public awareness on the reuse of historical buildings needs to be increased. As these structures are evidence of the lifestyle and culture of the people living in or around them, their preservation, not demolition or damage, should be encouraged. Public participation is important in the adaptation process to reuse. The people living in the area will be the future users of the building. Therefore, local people should be involved in the decision process. This type of work increases social interaction and the community’s responsibility to its local cultural heritage. The way to transfer these structures to future generations is to reuse them while preserving their heritage values.”