ArgumentNo. 3/2011

The need to reconsider the european balneological heritage - two case studies: development by continuity, Bath, United Kingdom/ San Pellegrino, Italy -

Abstract

The first part of the paper highlights the rich value of the balneological sites and the need to elaborate strategies for the reactivation of traditional spa-towns, which have been in a downfall during the last decades. Called by Francois Loyer „authentic laboratories for experimental architecture, whose integrity should be protected”, these sites bring forward the problem of contemporary interventions in a context with complex issues in terms of the mutations in the modern tourism and the enhancement of the forgotten heritage.

The second part containts case studies referring to renowed european spa-towns that, in the modern era, sufferd a period of decline caused by a complex of social, political and economical factors. Presently, they are subject to a reactivation process sustained by urban strategies and innovative projects. In the case of Bath – UNESCO heritage site – we will study methods of bringing the historical dimension back to the forefront through a system of promoting the modern tourism coupled with the traditional one, projects of bath-house insertions, accesibilty projects and the development of ecological transportation. In the case of San Pellegrino we discuss the strenght of the strategy based on a public-private partnership that triggers a fundamental change of the urban structure.

The reconsideration of the balneological heritage leads to a new vision, to the possibility of emphasizing these sites at an architectural and urban level, creating new features needed by the contemporary tourism.

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