ON THE CONSERVATION OF MODERN HERITAGE
IN DIFFERENT CONTEXTS
This document was officially announced together by Docomomo international President Prof. Ana Tostoes and Docomomo China chair Prof. Kecheng Liu.
Adopted in Xi’an, China
by the 1st Council Assembly of Docomomo China and
Delegates of the 2013 Xi’an International Conference on Modern Architectural Heritage
“Other MoMo, Other Heritage”
on 10 October 2013
Meeting in the ancient city of Xi’an on 8 October 2013, at the invitation of Xian University of Architecture and Technology on the occasion of the 1st Council Assembly of Docomomo China and the celebrations marking the foundation of Docomomo China Council and Docomomo China’s commitment in inheriting China’s longstanding endeavor to ensure the safeguard and conservation of modern cultural heritage as part of its sustainable and human development;
Benefiting from the broad range of discussions and reflections shared by professionals, historians, preservation officers, researchers and teachers from Docomomo International, ICOMOS and UIA during the 2013 Xi’an International Conference on Modern Architectural Heritage “Other MoMo, Other Heritage” and learning from a broad range of experience from China and world-wide authorities, institutions, and specialists in providing sufficient care and management for modern heritage buildings, sites and neighborhoods in appropriate methods and conservation/rehabilitation philosophy specific to each different cultural context;
Taking note of the international and professional interests in documentation and conservation of modern heritage in different context as expressed in the Eindhoven Statement (1990) and in many texts it has inspired, through International Docomomo Conferences, particularly the Fourth International Docomomo Conference “Universality and Heterogeneity“ at Sliac and Bratislava (1996) and the Ninth International Docomomo Conference “Other Modernisms“ at Istanbul and Ankara(2006) and also in international and national doctrines such as ICOMOS Xi'an Declaration on the Conservation of the Setting of Heritage Structures, Sites and Areas (2005) and Principles for the Conservation of Heritage Sites in China;
Stressing the need to address adequately the significance of context in the comprehension, definition, identification, interpretation, documentation and conservation of modern heritage, especially in the rapid transformation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods in globalization and also the widespread misunderstanding of modern movement as a total rupture with the cultural contexts;
Admitting that different understanding and interpretation of modernism based on varied cultural context forms a diverse global landscape of modernism in different context. Chinese modern architecture, as well as modern architecture in other region or in different cultural context is essential part to international modern heritage;
Participants of the 1st Council Assembly of Docomomo China and 2013 Xi’an International Conference on Modern Architectural Heritage -- “Other MoMo, Other Heritage” adopt the following Declaration of principles and recommendations, addressing it to members of Docomomo China, national and local authorities and all institutions and specialists to contribute through legislation, policies, planning and design practice, and management to better protect, conserve and sustain modern heritage buildings, sites and neighborhoods in their contexts.
1. The context of a modern heritage building, site or neighborhood is defined as the international, national or regional social, economic, technological, cultural and political background that has strong influence on, or contributes to, its significance and distinctive character.
2. The modern movement has known many different national, local and regional interpretations of universal principles. Buildings, sites and neighborhoods derive their significance and distinctive character from their representation of technical, social and aesthetical innovations that is closely related to their contexts.
3. Understanding, documenting and interpreting the context is essential to the definition, identification and assessment of modern heritage buildings, sites and neighborhoods.
4. The multiplicity and diversity in the nature of contexts requires interdisciplinary, cross-professional and integrative cooperation for its study, as a foundation to the assessment of heritage significance of modern heritage.
5. Based on research of the context of a modern heritage site, a site-specific documentation method should be devised and applied to record not only the building fabric but also its various connections to its context.
6. Given the far less attention modern heritage receives in the rapidly transforming cities, landscapes and society, interpreting, presenting and promoting modern heritage in context could better convey their representation of social, technical and aesthetical innovations and gain more understanding and support from the society.
Acknowledge the contribution of context to the significance of modern heritage: buildings, sites andneighborhoodsEncourage multi-disciplinary cooperation to establish context study for modern heritage
Identify and promote a systematic recording of modern heritage based on contextual researchBring the significance systematically of the modern heritage to the attention of the public, theauthorities, the professionals, and educational community by interpreting modern heritage incontext
7. Thorough heritage significance assessment of modern heritage through acontext-based method could reveal social, historic, artistic, aesthetic, scientific or othercultural value associated with its context. Besides commonly accepted universalmethod of heritage conservation, exclusive conservation approach should also beapplied to better preserve these context-specific values.
8. For the better understanding of the modern movement and its heritage, theawareness of the equal embodiment of universality and heterogeneity in modernheritage is essential. Positioning modern heritage in its context is indispensable inexploring and developing the knowledge of modern movement.
By the formulation of these recommendations to competent organisms and to the cultural world,the Assembly confirms the intention of Docomomo China to act and its readiness to promote andcooperate for the most rapid practical application of these recommendations.
Adopted in Xi’an (China) on the 10th October, 2013.