Control Shift – European Industrial Heritage Reuse in Review

The “Control Shift” research project focuses on the practice of Industrial Heritage Reuse in Europe, with special emphasis on the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Spain and Greece, and provides a much-needed alternative framework for the conservation of industrial heritage. The Jury recognised “the quality and relevance of this research, as well as its potential for development in various European countries. It has made a major contribution to a better understanding of the issues involved in preserving Europe’s industrial heritage”.

The research project was conducted by Dora Chatzi Rodopoulou in the framework of a Ph.D programme in the Heritage & Architecture group, AE+T, TUDelft, and the Urban Environment Laboratory, School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens. The project was funded by a four-year scholarship awarded by the Onassis Foundation. Further funds were provided by the British School at Athens, the Stichting Fonds Catharine van Tussenbroek and the EU Erasmus+ programme.

The research explores a fundamental issue that lies at the heart of heritage conservation, namely the range of potential tensions, contradictions and trade-offs between the conservation of heritage cultural values and the functional, social and financial requirements of its use.

Control Shift - European Industrial Heritage Reuse in Review, GREECE/NETHERLANDS

Apart from extending the academic body of knowledge, the intention of this doctoral research is also to become a useful springboard for the practitioners that engage with industrial heritage reuse across Europe. In order to achieve that, the dissertation presents an international and retrospective review of industrial heritage care, allowing experience drawn from one country to inform approaches to safeguarding via reuse in other countries. Furthermore, it offers inspiration and raises awareness through the detailed analysis of twenty case studies of best practice and the ‘ReIndustrialHeritage’ online knowledge platform (ReIH): an extended digital registry of more than 150 case studies of converted industrial sites across Europe.

Through a systematic analysis of practices, and following a rigorous methodology, the mechanisms that decisively influence the reuse of industrial heritage are highlighted. It is not only the characteristics and opportunities presented by the architectural objects themselves or of their environment that are taken into consideration, but also the role of the actors that is evaluated, as well as the influence of the different components in the management of the transformation of the projects and the quality of the interventions.


On this platform, the Jury said: “The ‘Stakeholders Maps’ present the operating structures specific to each country in terms of industrial heritage preservation and should be extended to all European countries as well as to other categories of heritage.”

We appreciate the important work of synthesis which led to the ”Guidelines for an enhanced Industrial Heritage Reuse practice’. The objective is to enable contemporary expectations and requirements to be considered, in a context of globalisation and ecological concerns, in order to encourage the preservation of a significant part of European heritage. The linking of objects built on a local and international scale, in a network with a European scope, is of fundamental importance”, the Jury added.

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