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Keywords

Modern heritage; award-winning buildings; modifications, legislation; code of practice, Library of Alexandria

Disciplines

Architecture | Arts and Humanities | Education | Engineering

Abstract

The practice of launching international architectural design competitions to key and important buildings in Egypt is not a new trend. Once built, those award-winning buildings usually undergo a modification process either by their owners or occupants. Owners or occupants always modify these buildings so that their performance would be adapted to certain local parameters. These modifications, however, may touch upon some of the original qualities that had donated those designs merits and recognitions at the time of their selection as prize winners. Many of these significant award-winning buildings might be considered as modern heritage resources, thus developing another layer of significance that might also influence the appropriateness of any modifications undertaken to them. This paper presents an overview on how some buildings have been altered. The aim was to infer the architectural qualities which were affected by the modification processes, and attempt to define some non-negotiable parameters that should be preserved in such buildings in order to keep their architectural merits. The research tried to answer the following questions: - Is it ethical, professional or legal to modify an award winning architectural project? - Are there regulations or codes of practice that control and/or prohibit modifications of certain architectural qualities in award-winning buildings? The paper also tried to examine the various heritage values that might be satisfied by the case study, which is the Library of Alexandria, and to examine the influences of these values on the adaptability of the modern alterations to the Library. The findings of the study, in relation to the new addition to the Library of Alexandria as a modern heritage resource, indicated that the addition was found to contribute positively towards some heritage values, such as the use value, and was also found to contribute negatively towards other values, such as the townscape value. The study recommends that the regulations of the international and local architectural competitions should explicitly involve guidelines that help in guiding architects while designing modern additions to such award-winning buildings, so as to guarantee the survival of the qualities that allowed these buildings the chance to win these awards.

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