Refurbishment, vernacular architecture and invented traditions: the case of the Empordanet (Catalonia)
Mónica Alcindor & Daniel Coq-Huelva (2019): Refurbishment, vernacular
architecture and invented traditions: the case of the Empordanet (Catalonia), International Journal
of Heritage Studies.
In the recent past, processes of urbanisation related to gentrification have been observed in some rural areas. This article analyses the role of the rehabilitation of vernacular architecture and mainly addresses social groups with high levels of income in the territorial dynamics of the Empordanet in Catalonia (Spain). This case is particularly relevant for two reasons. On the one hand, the Empordanet is under particularly intense and socially selective pressure because of its proximity to Barcelona. On the other hand, this demand for housing is partially related to the reclamation of a kind of tradition associated with a component of strong regional identity. This article explores the various ways in which tradition is reclaimed, recovered, and reinvented, insisting particularly on agents’ behaviours framed in the broader context of governmentality. This is done through a pluralistic research methodology based on the dialogue between architecture and the social sciences. One of its main conclusions is that the rehabilitation of vernacular rural buildings generates a type of housing completely different from traditional constructions in its conception, functionality, design, materials, and construction processes. Furthermore, rehabilitation is closely associated with the generation of a new form of tradition.