The Commonplace as Heritage - Younger Industrial Landscapes

Lars Rolfsted Mortensen, Ellen Braae


The vast majority of industrial buildings in Denmark date from the postwar decades, and form an integral part of the materialisation on the threshold of potentially becoming of the Danish welfare state. They are now on the threshold of becoming subjects of heritage considerations. However, assigning heritage status to younger industrial landscapes reveals a discrepancy between the general and the specific, between the significant cultural history of the welfare state, and the particular spaces for industry and business. It is thus an open question whether these post- war industrial landscapes relate to any parti cular Nordicness.
Traditional notions of the heritage object seem inadequate for the task at hand. The focus of this paper is thus to develop a qualitative way of assessing Denmarks younger industrial landscapes, and subsequently, to relate these findings both to the domain of heritage and to the question of Nordicness. In order to make their spatial and aesthetic characteristics visible, the rigorous photographic method of Bernd and Hilla Becher forms the basis of the study. This paper argues that only by perceiving place as relational, and thus seeing site-specificity as a layered and relational construct, are we fully able to assess and appreciate younger industrial landscapes as possible places of heritage.

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