Architectural qualities in protected buildings
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Background: This article provides a theoretical basis for the management of architectural qualities in protected buildings. A lacking focus on architectural quality is an obstacle for suitable protection and development of protected buildings. Architectural qualities are one reason for protection of buildings. Still, such qualities are not stressed in their management, which prioritize provable historic qualities and juridical framework. Research: The article has an ontological approach to protected buildings existence, use and legal protection. It poses four questions: (1) Is architectural quality of universal validity, or subjective? (2)Is there an upshot for architectural quality in a building, e.g. the original architects intentions? (3) Is architectural quality unaffected by whether the building is in use? (4) Are protected buildings living architecture, or do they belong to the past, as museum objects? Answers are sought in theory of cognition, Gadamers hermeneutics, due to its gravity and its emphasis on the cognition of architecture. Despite its recognition, it is not generally applied to the management of protected buildings. Results: Gadamer’s writings have provided added theoretical perspectives on architectural qualities in protected buildings, and incentives to protect, use and reinterpret protected buildings: the legal protection of a building is a formalization of the buildings existing significance. This makes premise for the use of a protected building, with a continued focus on and reinterpretation of its significance. Gadamer dismisses a subjective understanding of architecture, declaring that experiencing architecture is participation in a fellowship of meaning. New knowledge: The article offers a theoretical foundation for the management of architectural qualities in protected buildings. Applying hermeneutics to the management of protected buildings, leads to these conclusions: in the management of protected buildings, one should put emphasis on architectural quality, continued use and reinterpretation of significance. Implications: Enabling dialog on and management of architectural quality in protected buildings, and generally.