Authenticity Status in Context Restoration

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, Isfahan University of Art, Isfahan, Iran.

2 Associate professor of architecture, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Iran.

3 Ph.D. candidate, Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, Isfahan University of Art, Isfahan, Iran


In the old textures of Iranian cities, aesthetic is not what can be seen, but is what should be perceived by psycho-mental aspects. The present study aims to give a better understanding of restoration of the historical textures of Iran, and by doing so, to enhance its acceptability. This is accomplished through comparing different theories in fields such as behavioral sciences, psychology and urban restoration. Another major goal of this research is to improve the quality of meaning of restoration and to promote the urban fabric quality in the historical cities of Iran. The study tries to revive the concept of restoration process. Thus, the interaction between two factors, namely, the sense of place and attachment, enhancing the authenticity of the restored urban textures, has been considered in the research hypothesis. A qualitative methodology based on Meta-Analysis method, on which the previous literature is based, was used. Also, a comparative model was used to compare the relevant concepts. Naturally, the research reliability relies on the academic validity of the studies’ writings, selection of the relevant theories, extraction of the concepts and analyzed proportions as well as conclusion of the data reanalysis. The study tries to determine the influential elements enhancing the authenticity of the restored urban textures. In addition, it has been tried to provide the necessary criteria by which the authenticity itself may be obtained through considering different theories and visions on restoration. The ways to perpetuate the urban textures through redefines have been examined. This is done by conveying concepts such as the character of the urban textures as well as recognizing their place and value in the process of restoration. The enhancement of the sense of place and attachment eventually lead to promotion of people’s standard of living in a restored space, a fact which is especially considerable from the point of view of the Gestalt psychology. All this may help improve the appreciation of aesthetic aspect of the urban textures. Considering that the historical places and buildings in every urban texture may be looked at through their unique characteristics, restoration of such places and buildings could lead to reinforcing the dignity of the urban texture. Experiencing a place- having an emotional interaction with the place, in a sense- creates a sense of belonging to it. This, however, may be realized if two conditions are met: firstly, such an interaction must enjoy a symbolic language and be based on the beliefs creating that texture. Secondly, the meaning and significance of space and place transferred by the architect should be augmented. Finally, the identity of persons and that of place are associated with metaphysical concepts. In short, the issues related with the urban identity supporting authenticity can be listed as follows:
• Taking advantage of the essence of the Gestalt psychology in terms of conveying the sense of belonging.
• Reviving the past beliefs and memories of those who appreciated a given urban texture without creating a nostalgic feeling.
• Creating a semiotic as well as symbolic language indicating a local identity. In the realm of behavioral science, too, the sense of belonging is the resultant of a pleasant and beautiful space eventually leading not only to an enhanced living standard but also to an increased appreciation of the aesthetic sense of a place. To this end, in order to enrich the concepts of sense of place and sense of belonging to urban textures, the followings items can be considered as the constituents of the research hypothesis:
• Keeping the life and reviving the past history of the city.
• Creating coherence in spatial qualities and removing unpleasant changes.
• Perpetuating the sense of place through preventing intercity migrations.
• Encouraging the residents of the developments to effectively engage in social gatherings to augment the sense of companionship.
• Cementing as well as reviving collective identity in the neighborhoods through paving the ground for participation in voluntary social activities
• Perpetuating a place by means of increasing the neighborhood’s inhabilitabilty.
• Simultaneous fulfillment of two key elements: taking advantage of a symbolic language represented in a neighborhood’s texture as well as psychologically increasing the aesthetic criteria in the neighborhood by reviving well-established beliefs, regardless of the fact that whether the passersby are the residents of the neighborhood or not.
• Keeping the traditional, structural and behavioral patterns of each neighborhood. To sum it up, the goal of this article is not only context durability that comes from recreating and recuperating authenticity status in context restoration but also achieving urban fabric aesthetic from psychological and behavioral point of view.


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