For reporting and management purposes, the implementation of this project is divided in 3 stages,  corresponding to the three years of research 2022-2024, the largest of which is the intermediate one in 2023.


The 5 objectives of the Future on the Past Project range from improvement of resilience to disasters, to developing a database on sustainable retrofit models and investigation of the applicability of four retrofit measures 


Activities start in 2022 - literature research, field documentation, continue in 2023 -outreach, dissemination, ontology study, maps, database creation and conclude in 2024 - working with the database, annotations, retrofit methods

STAGE 1 (2022)

Objective 1

Improvement of resilience to disasters, including climate change, by improving the understanding of the impact of the measures taken; by developing methods adequate for the geographical setting in which buildings of international currents, such as Art Nouveau and modernist buildings, might have adopted a similar architectural approach, thus disregarding their own context or needs.

Activity 1.1

Launch of the project and build and launch of the project site as milestones.

Activity 1.2

Eu Documentation: Literature research on existing digital humanities databases in the field of natural hazards.

Activity 1.3

Field documentation.

Activity 1.4

Documentation: infrastructure access (archives to investigate building plans when possible internationally)

STAGE 2 (2023)

Objective 1 (continuation)

Improvement of resilience to disasters, including climate change, by promoting 4 different retrofit measures for each type of disaster (earthquake, flood, fire) suitable for their respective geographical area.

Activity 2.1

Further Documentation + Outreach + Dissemination. Development of checklists for the systematization of knowledge.

Objective 3

To develop a database on sustainable retrofit models which can be differently implemented in 23 countries/50 cities in Europe: AT (Vienna), BE (Antwerp/Brussels), BG (Baltchik), HR (Zagreb), CZ (Brno/Prague), DK (Copenhagen), EE (Tallinn), FIN (Helsinki), FR (Paris), DE (Berlin/Darmstadt/Dessau/Hamburg/ Karlsruhe/Postdam), GR (Athens), HU (Budapest), IR (Dublin), IT (Cernobbio/ Como/Genova/Milan/Naples/Rome/San Pellegrino Terme/Stresa), LV (Riga), NL (Amsterdam/Utrecht), PL(Warsaw/ Wroclaw), PT (Faro/Lisbon/Porto), RO (Bucharest/ Cluj-Napoca/Corbeni/Oradea/Sf.Gheorghe/Sinaia/Suceava/Tg.Mureș), SI (Ljubljana), ES (Barcelona/Madrid/Sevilla), SE (Stockholm), UK (London).

Objective 4

Objective 4. To develop a prototype (incl. ontology, taxonomy) for a database regarding the early 20th century buildings (Art Nouveau and Modernism) across Europe, by incorporating photographic collections accumulated by the PI in over 20 years of research. This will be an instrument of comparison of the differences between the variations of these international styles, in the above-mentioned locations. The database will be suitable for digital humanities analysis methods as well, such as mapping and image annotation.

Activity 2.2

Connection between the humanities view and the technical view: how the philosophy translates in form in case of architecture. The Image annotation used for investigation of the architecture of the buildings: creation of a typical spatial model of the buildings of the time in various European locations. 

The buildings are subdivided into macro-elements according to the method of Lagomarsino and Giovinazzi (2006) to determine possible collapse mechanisms in earthquakes. Podestà and Romano (2014) continued my work which was previous done in the CA’REDIVIVUS project through their work on a doctorate by employing this method to the heritage subject of their paper. In early years vulnerability of buildings was assessed in Romania according to a score related to certain features. 

The spatial model can be translated in a simplified 3D model for digital representation (on the map) and annotation (ex. for Modernist buildings in Bucharest Marcel Iancu and his formal alphabet, see Ioan, 2012). Architecture photography used in this project is at most 30 years old and are not the historical type. For ancient collection items on slides support a scanner will be necessary. Image annotation and maps can be used in a combined way by using timelines (tools: ImagePlot, Netline, Palladio).

Activity 2.4

Defining the mapping structure for the database definition. Investigation of the maps developed by Nolli (18th century), Lynch (1960), psychogeography (Debord, 1955), Caniggia (1963) and Muratori (1960, 1963) (Cataldi, 2002) will be as prerequisite for maps to be developed in the project with digital means (zoom from landmarks to general plan of common buildings possible in different levels of detail).

Creation of maps: Story maps will be created in synergy with COST actions working groups on case studies (e.g. for arch. Marcel Iancu, see Bostenaru, 2020). But through this project, story maps will be created for all architects and/or cities to be part of the collection, far exceeding the frame of the COST action for selected case studies. However, the COST actions will contribute to international visibility.

The above-mentioned investigation methods are serving the way a story is told with a map. Network analysis (space syntax Hillier and Hanson, 1984) will be an adopted method in order to analyse the correct position of the buildings within the cities. ORA (A Toolkit for Dynamic Network Analysis and Visualization) (Carley, 2014) and Gephi will be used to connect influences between the architecture in different countries after performing a comparative analysis, since they allow network visualization independent of year as usually in historic social network analysis. But given the times in which the buildings were constructed, the timeline method will be explored as well.

Activity 2.3

Ontology study: Analysis of the philosophical background (ontology) as a research method in architecture. Deleuze's (1988) philosophy on flat and striated place with reference to the street grid for disasters. "Pattern language" by Christopher Alexander (1977) on applying phenomenology to architecture and how this translates with its hyperlink organization in current digital humanities with the more sophisticated techniques such as ontology.

STAGE 3 (2024)

Objective 2

To diversify the application domains of digital humanities databases in art history by including reinforced concrete type of 20th century architecture, which is often neglected and lacks protection; by including this building typology, the contribution from a humanities’ perspective, including architectural history, would also act in synergy with the natural and engineering sciences, also with the recently involved social sciences.

Objective 5

Investigation of the applicability of the 4 retrofit measures selected to the specified locations in Europe, according to local culture of disaster resilience (ex. local seismic culture) and to vulnerability to earthquake, flood and fire hazards.

Activity 3.1

Image annotation will help generating online exhibits other than the arcGIS story maps classic such as neatline with Omeka online exhibition software. A prototype for the online exhibition is the work of architect Richard Bordenache, but also a glimpse in the larger content of the database. The photographs will be analyzed to identify characteristics of buildings similar to preparation of maps with Lynch (1960) method and psycho-geography and the results annotated with ImagePlot.

Activity 3.2

Database use methods: Computer based analysis according to digital humanities methods of the items in the database (mapping, image annotation etc.). For the database for each building the information will include at least location, architect, time of construction, life time of the architect. 

These will flow also in the metadata in XML. Training will be included in how to use XML. For location maps will be used, both location maps and arcGIS story maps. Both geographical location and the network of architects will be visualized with network methods (ORA and Gephy) generating various graphs to show interdependencies in the city where the buildings are as well as cross-city and cross country. 

For this the research question regarding disaster resilience is of help. For maps thoughts will be done on how to zoom between different scales from city, zone, and building in digital maps compared to the innovative maps of the 1960s (Lynch, psycho-geography, Muratori and Cannigia) and for this either Prezi presentations or arcGIS story maps new edition will be used.

Activity 3.3

Investigation of differences between requirements on retrofit methods in different countries based on former performance in disasters. Lessons from the resilient ones will lead to sustainable solutions for the vulnerable ones. The photographs will be analyzed to identify characteristics of buildings similar to preparation of maps with Lynch (1960) method and psycho-geography and the results annotated with ImagePlot. 

For this the identification of landmarks among the elements of the building, those which give the character in architecture language are important, such as detail. Detail is important in Art Deco and Art Nouveau, and the lack of ornament in Modernism. In Modernism however, proportions gain importance. These proportions are also important for the building resilience according to the research question and a quantitative survey will be carried out additionally to rapid visual screening in order to apply knowledge when not in field to gathered data.