In discussions of the conservation of culturally significant architecture, awareness about issues of temporality and its theoretical import has been approached from varied, partial, perspectives. These perspectives have usually focused on accounts of temporality that focus on the past and the present – and more rarely the future – without considering either the complete spectrum of human temporality or its ontological bases. This article addresses this shortcoming with a phenomenology of conservation grounded on the fundamental attitudes of cultivation and care. After a phenomenological and existentialist analysis of Cesare Brandi’s thought – focusing on his paradigmatic Theory of Restoration – his attitude comes forth as a limited instance of the modern conservation attitude that is concerned exclusively with architecture as art. This attitude results in a limited temporal intentionality. Following Ingarden and Ricoeur, the existential approach is here applied to the deduced dimensions of the space and time of Dasein – in Heidegger’s terms – outlining the grounding of conservation on an existential interpretation of the more fundamental notions of cultivation and care. This interpretation suggests a solution for the modern impasse with an existential account of both the artistic grounding of architecture and its characterisation as the place that temporally accompanies Dasein. Architecture thus emerges as a manifold being, constituting existentially the space for the authentic human being, whose temporal consciousness compels it to cultivate and care about that space, thus enriching the possible approaches to conservation as a collective endeavour.
Meraz, F. (2017). On the experience of temporality: Existential issues in the conservation of architectural places. Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology, 3(2), 167-182. https://doi.org/10.1080/20539320.2016.1256070