Cultural heritage is a treasure of human identity. It encompasses history, languages, stories, shared pasts, and experiences of different people. Culture is what makes up a community and it plays a vital role in human continuation. It defines collective beliefs, values, and shared experiences, and opens a unique educational window to an endless flow of stories. Culture is diverse, and that diversity is what makes it so rich with life. It is preserved through things like art, music, cuisine, and architecture.
Giving Culture a Voice
Architecture preserves cultural heritage and cultural heritage enriches the meaning of architecture. It creates architecture that relates to the people and purposefully respects the cultural context. Architecture is a language that tells its story through forms, spaces, patterns, and structures. It is a visual language, one that is seen and diversely interpreted. If architecture is the voice of cultures, communities, and peoples, does it need a voice of its own?
Journalism speaks for the people, it puts problems, news, beliefs, and anything of significance, under the spotlight, it exposes people to different arts, histories, and ideas. Architectural journalism, in turn, is the voice of architecture. Even though architecture speaks, it should also be spoken of. It’s a vital parameter that complements the designs we see, use, and live through. There is architecture we should also listen to.
Architectural journalism weaves a proper narration of the cultural heritage of our past and into our present. It offers the ability to witness a transformative journey of architecture, from deterioration to restoration, and from neglect to preservation.
Architectural Journalism: A Testament to Human Ingenuity
An architectural journalist is a chronicler, narrator, educator, and advocate. It shows the words of the people to the people, and it helps find common ground between the public and the professionals. “Words are sharper than knives” is an expression of how words are sometimes painful to hear. However, words can heal when they are used to intervene before an issue. Disregarding cultural heritage is an escalating issue, and words can be used in various ways to prevent foreseen disrepair.
- Soul Savior
Architectural journalism conveys the historical and social relevance of structures, materials, and designs. Through articles and visual storytelling, journalists can preserve the soul of a structure, or historical sites, by narrating their story with precision. With the rising awareness of communities, people are reintroduced to their cultures, cultivating a new audience that has a renewed appreciation and support for the preservation of their cultural heritage.
- Influence of Preservation
Advocating for the preservation of cultural heritage is the foundation of being an architecture advocate. To advocate for the right to maintain, preserve, and restore structures that narrate so much history, collective identities, and pivotal societal movements. The right to build contextually appropriate designs and safeguard historical buildings from neglect and decay. Architectural journalists can shed light on successful restoration stories that were able to save significant landmarks, guiding further preservation projects.
- Understanding the Process
Architectural journalists are researchers. They are both the public and the professionals, they can convey the different possibilities of cultural heritage preservations, techniques, sustainability, and adaptive reuse. Their understanding of words and how to use them mixed with their work as researchers, and architectural journalism created a safe space for architecture to shine and highlight its beauty, history, and culture.
- Collective Documentation
Architecture journalism does not only showcase the beauty of architecture and the importance of cultural heritage but also the gradual and dynamic changes it undergoes. It creates a historical record of the evolution of structures, materials, and architectural styles, showing a wide picture of the technological advancements, artistic approaches, and societal changes of each era. It documents culture as it happens.
- Ethics of Intervention
Architecture journalism highlights the importance of the ethics of intervention in historical sites. It fosters a dialogue between architectural, historical, and preservation professionals, to realize a respectful goal that does not maim or taint a historical site.
- Revitalization and Celebration
The restoration of historical sites is an event to celebrate. Seeing decay restored to its previous glory encourages people to preserve, maintain, and document their culture. Architecture journalists get to document the transformative journey. Their words can encourage, guide, and inspire architecture advocates to embark on a joint value of preserving cultural heritage.
Cultural Heritage: Pride, Identity, and Inspiration
In the era of globalization, technological advancements, and “dazzling” architecture, cultural heritage is more often than not disregarded. Architectural journalism serves as a necessary guide to make sure that cultural heritage is forever a living entity in society. Architectural journalism documents buildings, but its role extends to providing the essence of aspirations, shared values, and beliefs. Through its power to educate, advocate, and inspire, architectural journalism ensures that our cultural heritage endures as a source of pride, identity, and inspiration for generations to come.
Etsub, E. (2020). South African Heritage Day. [Photograph] https://unsplash.com/photos/JlufluFHiZc
Hermant, B. (2018). Editorial. [Photograph] https://unsplash.com/photos/qTpc0Vj4YoE
Chudasma, D. (2020). The Sky View. [Photograph] https://unsplash.com/photos/O0tYBn1DfYk