Seoul, Korea

25-27 August 2011

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Posted on 15 Mar 2011 by mAAN

Initiated in the United Kingdom in the later part of the 18th century, spread throughout Europe and the United States in the following era, and finally dispersed to Asia and Africa during the 20th century, the Industrial Revolution left numerous industrial heritage sites around the world. Formed under different historical, social, and economic situations, industrial facilities are often marked with distinct traits from country to country, and, subsequently, the issue of industrial heritage can only be approached from different social contexts in cases of, for example, a post-industrial European nation and an emerging country undergoing a rapid process of industrialization.

The mAAN conference of 2011, to be held in Seoul, aims to shed light on the various conditions which industrial heritage sites now face. Along with architecture of power, religious buildings, and residential architecture, industrial buildings constitute an important part of our architectural past, but neither their value as a cultural heritage, nor their appropriate position in the historiography of architecture, have been fully illuminated. Especially in Asia, where industrial sites were long neglected since the changes in industrial structure, it is only recent that their economic and cultural significance is recognized.

In recent years we witnessed various efforts to preserve and revitalize these industrial heritages, and some of them led to meaningful achievements. However, there can be no universal solution to this issue, since industrial remnants of each country are under different political, economic, and practical conditions. Because the process of industrialization followed a different path in a different time and place, the European experience in dealing with modern cultural and industrial heritage cannot be directly applied to Asian countries.
In many cases industrial facilities abandoned in industrialized nations are reemployed as core industrial facilities in developing countries. We may call these “living fossils,” and the situation they face is now more complicated than the early modern’s since they concern not only industrialization but also contemporary global issues such as information technology, sustainability, and green building.

With industrial heritage as the main subject, the 2011 mAAN Seoul Conference will focus on the distinct contexts and conditions of Asian countries’ various industrial sites. It will also search for what unites them beyond individual differences, to outline an Asian value of industrial heritage, which can in turn guide us in seeking appropriate ways to preserve and use them.

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