LEARNING SUSTAINABILITY THROUGH ARCHITECTURAL PRESERVATION

C. Mileto, F. Vegas, V. Cristini, L. García Soriano

Universitat Politècnica de València (SPAIN)
Sustainability represents a too used and till some point wasted word because of an improper and often commercial use of it. Sustainability, as a value of environmental, social, cultural respect and economical and energy-saving is nevertheless one of the values that students of any discipline should learn. It is a general concept applicable to any field of knowledge, production, use and management. In the case of architecture, sustainability is a concept that may apply to its whole vital process, from the extraction of raw materials, elaboration of the constructive elements, to the construction process, use, possible re-use and destruction of it. Sustainability and architectural conservation have many common points that the authors of this paper try to offer to the students of the subject Architectural Conservation, within the architecture curriculum of the School of Architecture at the Universitat Politecnica of Valencia. The study of traditional architecture, its materials and constructive techniques allow the student to have an approach to sustainability from the point of view of the relationship and the respect for the place of origin of the architecture, its symbiosis with the landscape, its adaptation to the climate, the use of natural resources and the energetic saving. Besides, the subject architectural conservation is focused within the projects that the students develop during the academic year as recovering of the cultural and social memory, traditional and centuries-old culture of maintenance of buildings, as well as a respectful intervention in the surroundings through the choice of materials, products and processes compatible with the building and the environment. The concept of sustainability is thus approached through its meaning of compatibility in a vast sense, comprising use, materials, environment respect, social aspects, energetic cost, economic investment, etc.