BUILT HERITAGE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
The University of Beira Interior (UBI) is one of the most recent Portuguese universities (1986). First polytechnic and then university it is structured in five faculties. The existing knowledge fields include engineering, social sciences, humanities, arts and letters, communication and health sciences. The Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture (DECA) is part of the Faculty of Engineering. The main degrees in the DECA-UBI are the Integrated Master degrees in Architecture and in Civil Engineering. These are a five year program which combines undergraduate and postgraduate study into a single course. The interdisciplinarity and interrelation, which link both research and education, are the basis for the production of knowledge at DECA-UBI.
Built heritage is a very important cultural asset as the evidence of any society development and it is a field of interest at DECA-UBI. It refers to all aspects of the man-made environment such as houses, places of worship, commercial and office buildings, monuments and other places of historical significance. Built heritage helps to define a sense of place and identity for communities. It is not only about monuments of exceptional value but also includes small modest vernacular buildings that represent other equally important historical, social and cultural values. The attention paid to the built heritage has increased in Portugal. It should be emphasized that some of these buildings are now used for functions that did not exist when they were built. Furthermore, the actual technical requirements are not always compatible with the former building. A regular maintenance of these buildings may include preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, reconstruction, adaptation and interpretation. Balance needs to be achieved. The future of built heritage conservation is focused on the sustainable built environment. Conservation does not require buildings to be preserved in their original condition to accept contemporary use. It may change over time as community values evolve. However it is important, as a cultural asset, to retain its original heritage features. While heritage conservation is a key player in sustainability planning, interdisciplinary skills that are needed to deliver the heritage studies and projects of the new generation architects which combine aspects of cultural heritage with the best preventive conservation, projects, methodologies and practices. For this purpose it is important to link with engineering sciences.
In this paper, the authors describe their experience concerning this link between research and education in the Integrated Master degree in Architecture, which is emphasized by the specific and multidisciplinary research performed as members of the faculty staff at DECA-UBI linking with other sciences of engineering as thermal comfort, acoustics and daylighting. A few examples presented are the analysis of the performance of acoustics and daylight of Cistercians churches, the acoustic analysis as a support for the architectural rehabilitation of an outdated theatre, the thermal performance of new housing of an adapted monastery, to perceive the user’s satisfaction of a vernacular housing through a post occupancy inquiry, the rehabilitation from vernacular ruins.