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Spolia revisited and extended: The potential for contemporary architecture

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-213
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Material Culture
Issue number2
Early online date30 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


In the fields of archaeology, art history and history, spolia have traditionally been studied as phenomena of the past. Today, the reuse of salvaged construction components and materials is primarily justified by its economic and ecological benefits, while its architectural and experiential qualities are much less discussed, if at all. Therefore, this article has two focuses, one more conceptual, and the other, more practical. Firstly, the article suggests extending the concept of spolia to contemporary architecture and discusses the usefulness of the concept in evaluating experiential values in contemporary constructions that make use of reclaimed parts. Secondly, it evaluates the potential of spoliation as a modern design tool in search of a more complex and historicity-based architectural expression. This potential is examined by defining the requirements for the extended concept, and through analyzing examples of contemporary design. Although the main focus of this article is on contemporary architecture based on old building components, the topic also has obvious implications for heritage management.

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Field of science, Statistics Finland

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