Conflicts Between Historical Preservation and Design Adaptation for Climate Change

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The impacts of climate change present the most important challenge of the 21st Century with consequences for all aspects of human existence. Buildings are being impacted by such global changes in climate. They are also implicated as one of the root causes of those changes due to energy used for construction and operation of those buildings and therefore consequent pollution emissions.
Concerns for how humankind might deal with issues of resource use and pollution have been expressed for many years, an early example was ‘The Limits to Growth’ published in the 1970s. Climate change potential has also been well documented by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) along with risks and measures need to address them.
Human beings also seek to optimise the environments in which they live in terms of comfort and to facilitate more than just simple existence they wish to experience pleasure and contentment in their surroundings3. An important aspect of those surroundings, and a key theme of the conference, is the embodied heritage and history and the potential to experience those aspects of heritage based upon their original design and construction. However, buildings preserved in their original constructed detail may not be able to match contemporary human comfort requirements, and even then, may require additional use of energy resources resulting in further climate change. Climate adaptation in the field of cultural heritage has also been underexplored in comparison to other sectors4.
A conundrum therefore exists – how to preserve historic buildings whilst also ensuring they can provide comfortable environments for occupants, and whilst ongoing climate change exacerbates the situation.
The changes required in design and the integration of new technologies and techniques to reduce emissions and create comfort, need to be understood in the context of preservation, and ways need to be identified to aid designers in optimising those changes.
This paper seeks to identify conflicts that can arise between the wish to preserve and the need to adapt; and to consider how forms of climate sensitive design might be used to inform future possibilities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAMPS Proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationHeritages: Past and Present - Built and Social
PublisherAMPS (Architecture, Media, Politics and Society)
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023
EventArchitecture, Media, Politics, Society - Heritages Conference: Past and present - Built and Social - Czech Technical University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 28 Jun 202330 Jun 2023

Publication series

NameAMPS Proceedings
PublisherAMPS (Architecture, Media, Politics and Society)
ISSN (Print)2398-9467


ConferenceArchitecture, Media, Politics, Society - Heritages Conference
Abbreviated titleAMPS 2023
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic
Internet address

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