EMPTY SPAIN AND VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE. AWARENESS AND CONSERVATION FROM THE TEACHING OF ARCHITECTURAL RESTORATION
Universitat Politècnica de Valencia (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:The First Industrial Revolution brought about the attraction to the cities of much labor force coming from the countryside. In Spain, this migratory phenomenon accelerated during the period of development of the 1960s. Today, even it seems not to have reached bottom: there are already many deserted areas in the so called "empty Spain" and more the nuclei that will disappear in the coming years if nothing remedies. This territorial imbalance has led, on the one hand, to the pollution and overpopulation of large metropolitan areas, often located on the coast, and on the other, to the progressive extinction of an ancestral way of life that has been maintaining a tight balance with the natural environment through agricultural exploitation.
It is in this context that the Empty Spain teaching initiative arises, applicable to several subjects of the degree in Fundamentals of Architecture taught at the ETS of Architecture (Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain), and encouraged by the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda promoted by United Nations, especially with regard to No. 10 “Reduce inequality” in point 10.3 “Equal opportunities”; No. 11 “Sustainable cities and communities", in particular in 11.4: "Cultural and Natural Heritage"; and No. 12: "Responsible production and consumption", focusing on point 12.8: "Education for sustainable development". A team of professors with a long teaching and research career linked to the course on Architectural Restoration promotes this idea.
The experience was developed in two phases: a learning phase and another of dissemination. In order to undertake the learning phase, a triple challenge was proposed: raising awareness, knowing and acting. Awareness of the seriousness of the problem and the urgency of finding viable solutions provide the necessary framework for sparking motivation and addressing the two remaining challenges. The next challenge is aimed at fostering knowledge of the architecture of the affected areas, where traditional and vernacular construction predominates: knowing is loving! This interest derives not only from the intrinsic cultural value of these houses, but also from the recognition of their sustainable quality, a model of optimization of natural resources through local economies and little impact on the environment. And to close the circle, acting becomes necessary. An action that was embodied in architectural proposals, based on the conviction that the recovery of the built legacy is possible and desirable, without renouncing the current quality of life requirements, nor sacrificing the picturesque charm that popular architecture treasures.
For its part, the dissemination phase is being deployed in parallel through several channels. A temporary exhibition is organized with a selection of the most suggestive works aimed at the students and teachers of the School. This initiative is joined by participation in two international congresses, one on research, focused on the most relevant technical-constructive issues, and the other on teaching, where the objectives, methodology and results of this teaching innovation experience are discussed. In addition, dissemination continues indefinitely thanks to the open publication of the proceedings of both conferences.
Keywords: Rural exodus, rural heritage, architectural restoration, Sustainable Development Goals.