Why is it important to preserve Historic Buildings?

Jan 20th, 2021 | by  Kavya Jain


The old and new architecture, both have their charm. While archaic structures have a historical and cultural legacy associated with them, modern buildings are more efficient, functional, and practical. Famous architects across generations have created buildings which inspire the youth to pursue this line of career. From Charles Correa to Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, and several other iconic designers have transformed streets, neighbourhoods, cities, and entire nations with their awe-inspiring architectural skills.

In any city or town, building architecture plays an extremely important role. People associate to the place with the help of these structures. They recognise the streets with landmark buildings. The residents form not just a physical, but also an emotional connection with these lifeless pieces of brick and concrete. The image of a city is directly linked to the skyline created by its beautiful built environment.

Recent Instances of Building Preservation & Demolition


In recent times, the widespread opposition regarding the decision to demolish 14 dormitories built by architect Louis Kahn in 1960s, ultimately leading to a rollback of the statement, has brought to light the issue of past architecture and to what extent should they be restored, preserved, demolished, or deconstructed. Similar outrage happened in 2017 when the iconic Hall of Nations, designed by Indian architect Raj Rewal, was demolished ruthlessly, ignoring the pleas of several organizations and institutions.

Therefore, the question of which historic buildings should be preserved and why is an important one for every person to understand and answer. The loss of architectural heritage not only effects the architectural community but every citizen of the country.

Why should buildings be preserved?

Though the popular opinion is that it is easier to build new buildings than preserving the aged structures, one cannot forget the benefits of keeping the heritage intact. Every building has its different set of reasons which make it worth restoring. A few characteristics help identify why an old building should be protected and not demolished.

1. Historical & Cultural Value


Our buildings are our connection to history. More often than not, famous historic buildings represent influential and important people who have lived in this world. It thereby promotes respect for our past and the extraordinary individuals who have lived in different times and societies.

Moreover, older buildings are usually constructed with better quality materials, having survived hundreds of years and provide us with valuable lessons about construction methods and technologies. Generally, these historic structures are sturdier and safer than their newer counterparts. There is no downside of preserving a historically and culturally significant piece of our society and contrarily is advantageous.

2. Economic Benefits


While the general belief is that it is cheaper to construct new buildings and demolish the old ones, it is far from the truth. Restoring or retrofitting older buildings is much more economical than constructing a completely new, modern structure. Additionally, restoration can help boost the economy of the city by providing a tourist destination to the people.

These older buildings can also be converted to museums, galleries, restaurants, or luxury hotels, post-restoration, attracting tourists and generating business. Once restored, the classical structures act as a focal point for the creation of newer buildings in their surroundings, helping businesses thrive in their locality.

3. Environmental Considerations


As environment and sustainability are the hot topics of this century, green building is the priority of every designer. But building green does not necessarily mean constructing new buildings. On the contrary, restoring historical buildings is greener than building newer ones. It is as green as it gets! Preservation is the ultimate source of recycling, helping reduce waste and save energy. The carbon footprint of restored structures is much lesser than newly erected buildings due to minimum requirement of transportation of materials and tools.

Buildings deserve to be preserved!

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Historical buildings play a vital role in maintaining the culture and heritage of society. The restoration, preservation and conservation of these architectural wonders are essential for the country and its citizens. We should continue devoting time, money, and resources to this imminent task. Do not take a reckless decision at a young age by destroying your cultural heritage! As a part of the present, take learnings from the past and apply to the coming future. 



Kavya Jain

Kavya Jain

Post-Graduate Student at CEPT University

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