Home Madrid education New European Bauhaus – an interview with Héctor Aliaga

New European Bauhaus – an interview with Héctor Aliaga


You are currently working with the Santa María La Real Foundation, Europa Nostra, the Association of European Students for Cultural Heritage (ESACH), the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) – and completing a PhD! Can you tell us more about your different roles?

That’s right – I’m currently involved in many different projects and organizations! My main job is that of an architect at the Santa María La Real Foundation. I work on Horizon 2020 projects focused on the sustainable management of territories, cultural routes and pilot destinations through heritage and cultural tourism, including IMPACTOUR and TExTOUR. I also collaborate in projects that define management plans for World Heritage cities, and design and create different thematic tourist routes specializing in urban heritage in Madrid. At the same time, I am carrying out doctoral research at the Polytechnic University of Madrid in the field of sustainability and urban regeneration, focusing on the valuation of the alternative cultural heritage of the big cities of the 21st century.

I disseminate and improve these activities related to cultural heritage by working with organizations such as Europa Nostra, ESACH, European Heritage Tribune and ICOMOS-Spain. Thanks to my role as ESACH Ambassador and international representative of the Emerging Professionals Working Group (EPWG) within ICOMOS, I am able to give more visibility to this work, to my colleagues and to young people.

What does the new European Bauhaus mean to you?

The New European Bauhaus, to me, is an updated and renewed revival of many values ​​that have arisen throughout the 20th century. Given my background as an architect, I find it particularly interesting that aesthetic issues and the value of “beauty” have been included as one of the three key pillars of the initiative. The cultural cityscape, the visual and architectural landmarks, the perspectives and relationships between streets and buildings, and the connection to nature through the city itself and its perimeter, are fascinating questions to think about and discuss in terms of aesthetics and this initiative.

How is the new European Bauhaus relevant to your work?

The New European Bauhaus is undoubtedly an incredible initiative at European (and almost global) level to rethink our society, cities and cultural heritage in terms of resilient sustainability, inclusive societies and aesthetic values. These approaches are not isolated, but are part of an active strategy aligned with Agenda 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the European Green Deal and the European Heritage Green Paper, published between ICOMOS and Europa Nostra. These serve as a starting point for the approaches of all the projects in which I participate in a collaborative and multidisciplinary manner.

How do you think we can mobilize new and emerging young people, students and professionals around the new European Bauhaus?

It is very important, at least from my point of view, to give a voice and visibility to young people, students and emerging professionals. The world of cultural heritage, and in this case the world of the new European Bauhaus, is complex, diverse and multidisciplinary. For someone new to this industry, it can be difficult to know where to start, who to contact or what steps to take. As we do through ESACH or the EPWG of ICOMOS, it is important to create spaces, activities, working groups and actions that help to involve these future generations through specific projects, presentations and networking events, mentoring and training plans, and dissemination of scholarships and specific courses.

What we can never forget is that ideas, points of view and proposals young people and newcomers to the sector are just as valuable as those of other professionals; even if they do not have the same experience or the same tools, it can be tackled little by little through “learning by doing”.

If you were to visit a cultural site or a heritage institution in five years, what would your experience be?

I would certainly like such an enclave or such a place to know how to conserve and enhance its own identity and its singularities, which make it unique in terms of cultural and heritage criteria. It is important that the approaches of the New European Bauhaus, in terms of aesthetics, sustainability and inclusion, as well as new technologies, are able to adapt to the needs of this site or property.

How do you think digital can support this vision?

New technologies and the digitization process must be tools to help us know, understand, maintain, conserve, preserve, manage and disseminate all our cultural resources and heritages in a more efficient and simple way, both for us and for them. future generations. Many options are available to you, from intelligent surveillance systems, broadcasting via social networks or the use of techniques such as Video-Mapping, geolocation, Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR ).

What we must never lose sight of is that even as digital media improve and evolve, they must always be a tool that accompanies the experience of our relationship with cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible. ; digitization should not replace the real “in situ” experience, but rather focus on improving its quality.

The new European Bauhaus encourages interdisciplinarity – Commissioner Mariya Gabriel described it as “a bridge between the world of art and culture on the one hand and the world of science and technology on the other “. How can the cultural heritage sector work with other sectors to make a contribution to the initiative?

I would approach this question from the point of view of “heritage education”, and thus reconnect with the mobilization of future generations and young professionals. There is no doubt that cultural heritage is today understood as a multidisciplinary field, whereas it was previously approached from more specific angles, such as architecture. It is essential to make our society aware of the importance and value of cultural heritage from an early age to make it a resource capable of addressing both the field of the arts and the world of science, and capable of responding to issues such as sustainability in cities, resilience strategies and sustainable development.


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