EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Strategic decisions for retrofit of heritage buildings in different geographic areas of Europe

Maria Bostenaru Dan1, Adrian Ibric1, and Mara Popescu2,1
Maria Bostenaru Dan et al.
  • 1Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism, Department of Research, Bucharest, Romania (
  • 2George Emil Palade University of Medicine, Pharmacy Science and Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, Architecture Degree Programme, Targu Mures

Following the current digital transition pillar of societal transformation, there is an opportunity in using new technological developments and large-scaling up of digitization instruments in the field of heritage assessment. Such tools may include digital humanities methods of image annotation and mapping, architectural volumetric analysis and collecting and analyzing heritage databases. At the same time, urban and landscape heritage is also facing increasing threats from climate changes and there is immediate need of built heritage protection from natural hazards. In this context, from a higher education institutional point of view, it is advisable to align both the tertiary education curriculum and the strategic research activity in order to increase and adapt the expertise of future graduates, of the academic community, teachers and researchers.

In 2021, revisions for strategic research pillars were conducted at the University of Architecture and Urban Planning in Bucharest. As part of this revision process, five draft strategic framework documents were developed, as final results of short research projects that received funding through either internal or national grant competitions. These constitute the basis for formulating and updating the research policies of the university, for the 2021-2027 timeframe. Of the five documents, two analyze research in the field of the protection of built heritage and research dealing with protection of general built environment from disasters - investigating national, european and international policies, the institutional expertise and human capital, and also the funding potential for future projects. 
In 2022, new projects in these fields were awarded grants and started to be implemented, including one of fundamental research about which this presentation will be. The project proposes to transform the collection of photographs of early 20th century architecture (Art Nouveau and Modernism across Europe), into a database by answering the research question on how threats from the hazards of earthquake, flood and fire can be answered taking into account the local culture in the European countries covered. Answering this research question will help defining criteria which underpin decisions in order to prioritise the retrofit interventions depending on the geographic positions of the buildings, at different scales, from the neighbourhood to the region. In particular the project looks at the Mediterranean region for Modernism, as the simple vernacular shapes inspired this current and at the national romantic and similar styles at the time of the so-called Art Nouveau in particular in Eastern Europe. Areas with buildings of these styles experienced at least historic earthquakes and it will be investigated in how far the national "other Modernisms" and Art Nouveau variations were adapted to this or not by following the local seismic culture. Further research will investigate the same for flood and fire. For this purpose digital humanities methods of image annotation (including architectural volumetric analysis) and mapping are employed. The subject is innovative as only recently the role of humanities in the fields of history and art history started to deal with the subject of catastrophes, following social sciences which entered this field of engineering and natural sciences, including in this session block.

How to cite: Bostenaru Dan, M., Ibric, A., and Popescu, M.: Strategic decisions for retrofit of heritage buildings in different geographic areas of Europe, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-6703,, 2023.