European Heritage Days

Journées européennes du patrimoine
Fleur Pellerin: Twenty-first century, already heritage?

Taking place on 19th and 20th September 2015, the 32nd European Heritage Days in France attracted over 25,000 visitors to 17,000 sites opened for the exploration of European history, culture and architecture. This year, however, the events were designed to tell a story of heritage from an entirely different perspective.

Namely, the theme of this year’s European Heritage Days in France was “Heritage of the XXI century, a future history,” which represented a unique framework for interpreting the cultural and historical heritage. The events were focused on the very fabrication of heritage and the architectural quality of the present. The emphasis was put on the ways modern architects are transforming and reinventing heritage for future generations, as well as their role on shaping the heritage of tomorrow.

In her official announcement about European Heritage Days, French Minister of Culture and Communication, Fleur Pellerin made a personal invitation in which she explained the idea behind the theme. She noted that “the architectural vitality of our age is a reality.” thus highlighting the fact that the dynamic architectural development from the beginning of the century already has made a deep impact onto how future generations will perceive heritage.

Correspondingly, the events also reminded on the emerging issues the contemporary lifestyle necessarily brings. The growing environmental issues are a part of the modern landscape and as such are yet to leave the mark on our common heritage:

“The environmental issue is also at the heart of these days, as it is also the heart of the architectural and landscape reflection of our times…”

The architectural vitality and emerging environmental issues will be included in the National Strategy for Architecture that the Minister initiates this year. As she pointed out elsewhere, the strategy will change the ways architectural works are perceived and publicised in order to raise awareness about the ways they are shaping the heritage of tomorrow:

“The architects are at the heart of my attention. I want to both improve their exercise and publicise their work, and ensure that we look differently the construction of the space around us.”