City as Art: Bertrand Lemoine will talk about the Future of historical Cities

Bertrand Lemoine, one of the most respected architects in the world known for participating in the Great Paris International Workshop, an expert of the competition for the expansion of Moscow and Vice President of the Academy of Architecture in Paris will take part in the panel discussion To Destroy, not to Preserve/Not to Destroy, to Preserve as part of the Forum. 

Architecture exists in the context of time and space, and the time has come to strive for the development of historical cities while preserving the heritage of the past, Bertrand Lemoine is convinced. Since 2010, he has been participating in the international project Great Paris (in 2010–2013 he was the program's general director) — a laboratory of ideas for the development of agglomeration. Through the example of Paris, which is experiencing the same problems of cities with a large population, dense development of historical parts and the need to preserve the heritage as other historical cities like Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Vienna, and Rome, Bertrand Lemoine advocates polycentrism, the creation of new dominating architectural elements in new areas and the development of sustainability of the urban space. This will create alternative centers with many recreational zones, alternative areas of services and culture, and greatly ease the burden on the historical center. 

Preservation of cultural heritage is a rule that can be violated in exceptional cases, but this does not mean complete conservation and full-on prohibitions. After all, buildings remain alive as long as they are inhabited by people, so the real issue is adaptation and competent reconstruction. "We don't need to demolish everything, we need to reorganize the buildings, make them better, find new uses for them. It will take less time than demolishing the old and designing something new, and it will bring development to the city," says Lemoine. 

Bertrand Lemoine is the author of over 40 books and 500 articles on the history of construction, architecture and heritage in the 19th and 20th centuries. He is a recognized expert in the field of urban studies, energy, and digital technologies. Today his area of interest includes preservation of the People’s House in Clichy-la-Garenne (France) and the history of railway stations of France. Striving to preserve the past, Lemoine always talks about the future. He expresses interest in some Russian cities as well — the concept of the life of an entire city attracts him more than the history and fate of a separate building.