H. A. Doğan “The Role of Cultural Memory in the Strategies of Adaptive Re-use of Built Heritage: a Case Study of the Modern Movement” doctoral dissertation defence

Thesis Defense

Author, Institution: Huriye Armağan Doğan, Kaunas University of Technology

Science area, field of science: Humanities, History and Theory of Arts, H003

Scientific Supervisor:  Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vaidas Petrulis

Dissertation Defence Board of Humanities, History and Theory of Arts Science Field:

Prof. Dr. Jūratė Kamičaitytė (Kauno university of technology, Humanities, History and Theory of Arts, H003) – chairman;
Prof. Dr. Marija Drėmaitė (Vilnius university, Humanities, History and Theory of Arts, H003);
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bilge İmamoglu (TED university, Turkey, Humanities, History and Theory of Arts, H003);
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Liutauras Nenkrošius (Vilnius Gediminas Technical university, Humanities, History and Theory of Arts, H003),
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Edita Riaubienė (Vilnius Gediminas Technical university, Humanities, History and Theory of Arts, H003).

The doctoral dissertation is available at the library of Kaunas University of Technology (Donelaičio 20, Kaunas).


Memories are often affected as well as shaped by external factors. These factors can be verbal, such as a conversation between people and social interactions, written, such as books and inscriptions, or visual, such as photographs, drawings and paintings. When architecture and historical buildings are analysed, they can be identified as multi-dimensional stimuli for memories, since they contain various external factors which can affect the course of remembering. In that regard, architecture can influence and solidify memories for people by its specific character, and at the same time memories of the city and its citizens can leave a reflection on the architecture and the language architecture uses. According to Zevi (1978:3), without language people cannot speak and communicate. This can be regarded as the same for architecture as well. Language represents meaning for people, and people attach meaning to objects with the help of their memories. Even though there are many different languages in the world, each of these languages is used as a tool for expressing emotions and experiences. Therefore, language provides people with the instrument they need for expressing their thoughts, and architecture also needs and uses its own language for transmitting the ideas it represents. In that regard, memories and language are closely connected to each other, and it is possible to see the reflection of them both in architecture.

Architecture contains a collection of signs, and all the signs are constructed to denote their primary functions and meanings (Broadbent, 1980:15). Most notably, the façades of buildings can be regarded as the most important element of architecture which establishes the connection between people and the structure itself since it constitutes the first impression for people along with the architectural object and expresses the denotation by using its own language. According to Gendelman & Aiello (2010: 256) façades are designed intentionally for communicating a particular message to their observers, and at the same time, they can be considered as texts which blend time, space, and different styles for telling stories. Therefore, façades are the display of the designs which communicate with a broader audience through their own language. Determining the language which is applied to the façades of the structures can help to understand the meaning of what is expressed, and furthermore, it can help to understand the formation process of the language of architecture.

Over the last decades, there has been extensive research conducted across various disciplines regarding memory (Peters, P., 2006; Den Boer, P., 2008; Erll, A., 2008; Ardakani, M.K., Oloonabadi, S.S.A.,2011) different architectural languages (Salingaros, N., 2013; Djalali, A., 2017; Marotta, A., Spallone, R., Turco, M., Zich, U., Vitali, M., Marchis, E., Pavignano, M., 2017; Rapoport, A., 2019) , perception of the environment (Mesch, G. S., Manor, O. , 1998; Lange, E., 2001; Jens K., Steen Jacobsen, J., K., S., 2007; Ramkissoon, H., Smith, L. D. G., Weiler, B, 2013) and how experiences and memories affect the place attachment for the people (Vaske, J. J., Kobrin, K. C., 2001; Lewicka, M., 2008; Brown, G., Raymond, C.M., Corcoran, J., 2015; Anton, C. E., Lawrence, C., 2016). However, the impact of the perception and memories in the evaluation of cultural heritage is not widely studied. Ultimately, the effect of the architectural language and the characteristics of architecture, which influences people’s perception of built heritage, and how it can be used in practice for the sustainability or as a strategy of adaptive re-use is still a question which should be answered. In that regard, the relevance of this research derives from its attempt to answer these questions. Furthermore, the research contains the establishment of a model which can be implemented as an adaptive re-use strategy. In the course of developing the model, different experiment methods were performed, such as eye tracking technology. Usage of this technology brings a different dimension to the research by including digital humanities and biometrical measurements, which gives a scientific and practical novelty to the research.

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