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CALL FOR PAPERS — Heritage values of 20th century architecture: what recognition?
Critical review and international
forward-looking vision

deadline of submission : Decembre 2020, 15th

Scientific coordination

Direction générale des Patrimoines, service de l’Architecture.

  • Corinne Tiry-Ono, Head of the Bureau de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère (the Architectural, Urban and Landscape Research Office, BRAUP / SDESRA).

  • Isabelle Bertrand, Special Advisor to BRAUP.

  • Sophie Masse, Assistant Director of the Bureau de la qualité de l’architecture et du paysage (the Architectural and Landscape Quality Office – BQAP / SDAQCCV).

General context

The heritage values of 20th century architecture, whether they be cultural, social or technical, remain relatively complex to assess, and thus to share, due to lack of perspective and knowledge. The architectural and urban production of the second half of the 20th century was particularly prolific, sometimes remarkable, even exceptional.

The energy, ecological transition, the changing habits and lifestyles are leading to the gradual transformation of this built heritage reaching to the end of its life cycle.

Today, many countries with a post-industrial economy are confronted with the challenge to bring about changes in these buildings and neighbourhoods in order to meet the increasing social demand, without compromising their original architectural interest and qualities.

Since the 1990-2000’s, a movement for heritage making has developed, which leads to many questions relating to possible and desirable developments of these architectural achievements. It was propelled in particular as a result of the Council of Europe’s 1991 recommendation n° R (91)13 that encouraged Member States to implement strategies for identification, study, protection, restoration and awareness of 20th century architecture. This heritage making finds its expression in the creation of various schemes for recognition -labels, prizes or awards, whether at the international, national, regional or local level.

  • 1 . In this context, the incentive multiannual research programme (2016-2020) “Architecture du xxe si (...)

In France, the Ministry of Culture created the “Patrimoine du xxe siècle”, “Heritage of the 20th century” label (1999) that then became the “Architecture contemporaine remarquable”, the “Remarkable Contemporary Architecture” (“ACR”) label (2016- LCAP Act). The “Stratégie nationale pour l’architecture”, “National Initiative for Architecture” (2015) and the “Stratégie pluriannuelle en faveur du patrimoine”, “Multiannual Strategy for Heritage” (2017), in keeping with the Ministry of Culture’s architectural policy, have fostered an impulse to numerous works in favour of awareness, knowledge, enhancement and qualitative transformation of this 20th century built heritage1.

Main orientation of the issue

This issue of In Situ seeks to take a European or international critical perspective on the architecture of the 20th century and to highlight practices and examples of schemes, policies or projects, rich in lessons. It thus seeks to review the international scientific progress on:

Doctrines and positions adopted, depending on the country and actor, in terms of appreciation of heritage values of the architecture of the second half of the 20th century and its evolution capacities. Historical, cultural, social, political considerations could be taken into account. Critical observations are awaited on the political and scientific role and positionings of actors or structures (private, public or parapublic) that contribute to report, spread knowledge, exercise an alert warning role, provide advice and accompany project processes.

The policies and schemes of protection, recognition and awareness concerning 20th century buildings and public places today, including labels, prizes (urban regeneration, renovation…), alerts… The follow-up to the Council of Europe’s 1991 Recommendation, in terms of public policies, like in France, the “Patrimoine du xxe siècle”, “Heritage of the 20th century” label then the “ACR” label, could be investigated. Likewise, the reception by the inhabitants and users of such marks of recognition acknowledging the tools and cultural mediums mobilised (films, exhibitions…) as well as citizen involvement in these issues.

The practices on terms of activities directed at this heritage: restoration, transformation… How do the public policies (regulations, standards, incentives…) relate to each other and influence these activities? Which practices are resulting from them? Which aspects are blocking or raise questions? Examples of projects are welcome to illustrate these issues, and the different attitudes the actors involved (clients and project supervisor in particular) take in response.

Specific topics that could be considered

  • The relations between the schemes for recognition of 20th century architecture/public policies of renovation/operational practices;

  • The contribution of scientific knowledge and researchers to the recognition policies of 20th century architecture, on the one hand, and to public debates related to architectural and urban sensitive projects of transformation on the other hand;

  • Public and private funding allocated to actions and policies pursued concerning the recognition of the values of 20th century architecture;

  • The role of recent technical innovations in the evolution of 20th century architecture (energy adaptation, questions concerning materials and risk…).

Insights on the practices in other European countries being expected, comparative articles or articles focusing on certain countries are requested.

Proposals initiated by teams pairing of researchers/private or public actors are especially welcome.

Case studies are expected, and illustrations are required.

Contributions proposals

The articles submitted must contain an original part of research, hypothesis or updates; they should not simply repeat the entire content of an article that has already been published. They should be widely illustrated, including sound and/or audiovisual examples.

If you would like to contribute to this issue, we thank you for sending us by 15 December 2020 a summary of your proposal with a maximum of 1, 500 characters, as well as a short CV by post:

Ministère de la Culture
Direction générale des Patrimoines
Revue In Situ
à l’attention de Laurent Bruel
6 rue des Pyramides
75001 Paris

or by e-mail:

Please send a copy of your proposal to:

Corinne Tiry-Ono :
Sophie Masse :
Isabelle Bertrand :

The texts of the articles corresponding to the selected proposals are expected for 30 May 2021. The length of the articles should range between 15,000 and 35,000 characters, spaces and notes included. You can either write your article in French or in your working language. They will be published in their original language and in French translation.

The recommendations for authors about the number of pages or pictures, the rights on illustrations, the insertion of notes and links, etc. are available on the website of the journal:


1 . In this context, the incentive multiannual research programme (2016-2020) “Architecture du xxe siècle, matière à projets pour la ville durable du xxie siècle”, “20th century architecture, projects material for the sustainable city of the 21th century” involves thirteen interdisciplinary research teams and many partner actors under the scientific direction of teacher-researchers from Higher National Schools of Architecture.

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