Preserving Modern Architecture in Quebec, Canada and Elsewhere: Heritage Challenges and the Mobilization of Knowledge

This conference at the Université du Québec à Montréal takes place from October 14-17, 2010, and welcomes architects, engineers, urban planners, landscape architects, designers, conservationists, visual artists, archivists, museologists, art historians, architectural and cultural historians, sociologists, anthropologists, teachers, students, property owners, and real estate managers and developers


The goal of this conference is to provide an update on the conservation of the modern built heritage in Quebec and the rest of Canada, a heritage characterized – here as elsewhere – by its abundance, unfamiliarity, fragility, and obsolescence. Initiated in followup to the Conserving the Modern in Canada conference held at Trent University in May 2005, which brought together Canadian practitioners, managers, professors, and students concerned about the preservation of the postwar built environment (1945–1975), it seeks to pursue and broaden their discussions by inviting foreign researchers and professionals to join the conversation.


Even though Canada’s modern heritage is increasingly – albeit unequally – protected by cultural and urban planning legislation across the country, and renovation, rehabilitation, and restoration projects are multiplying, our knowledge of this heritage remains rather limited, as does public recognition of its value. The patrimonialization of a built environment born of the modernist values of newness and universalism is no easy task, given its often negative associations with traditions and heritage preservation measured against the yardsticks of identity, and with the goals of sustainable development, one of the central societal challenges facing us this century. We therefore propose to delve deeper into the theoretical, methodological, and technical problems and the cultural and political issues raised by modern heritage conservation by focusing on two themes: the heritage challenges posed by modern buildings, civil engineering works, urban ensembles, and landscapes; and the mobilization of knowledge.


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