hospitals and military buildings
The Assembly recalls its Resolution 916 (1989) on redundant religious
buildings and notes that other types of building are also threatened with
obsolescence, whether for technical reasons, in the case of hospitals, or
because of the restructuring of the armed forces in the case of military
barracks and installations.
The Assembly points out that in most European towns these establishments,
along with disused administrative and judicial buildings, form a significant
part of the historic heritage. Although not all of them can be saved, some of
these great public buildings deserve to be preserved.
Many former hospitals, orphanages and hospices were housed in splendid
buildings, which can now be regarded as historic monuments. However, they are
not only important for aesthetic reasons, but also because of the role they
played in the actual formation of towns and in the development of urban
sociability. Even today, they continue to bear visible witness to
long-standing solidarity shown towards the sick and the poor.
However, technical progress is increasingly difficult to accommodate in
buildings hundreds of years old, some even dating back to the Middle Ages. In
most cases, it is only possible to install operating theatres that meet
current standards or individual bedrooms and bathrooms by making fundamental
alterations that are entirely inappropriate to the architectural features of
Meanwhile, military barracks and installations are not only of great
architectural interest, but also have a distinct historical dimension,
testifying both to civil liberties and to a community?s or a nation?s
desire to defend itself. Many of them also bear the mark of sovereign powers,
whether royal or feudal, and of the vicissitudes of history.
Similar problems arise with the conversion of military barracks and
installations. Moreover, the general reduction in the number of active
servicemen means that many huge military complexes are becoming redundant.
One of the Council of Europe?s tasks is to safeguard the common heritage of
its member states. However, the Assembly is aware that the general public will
only appreciate the preservation of these buildings if expenditure on
restoration is aimed at making them suitable for activities that are socially
The Assembly therefore recommends that the Committee of Ministers organise
from time to time conferences, at which experience of the restoration of these
buildings and their conversion for the benefit of society can be exchanged,
and promote the creation of a database on this subject.
The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers invite member states
carry out, as quickly as possible, a general survey of hospitals, hospices,
orphanages and other care or charity institutions, military buildings and
installations and administrative and judicial buildings, which are of
historical or architectural significance;
include nineteenth and twentieth century buildings in this survey and not
only older constructions;
ensure effective protection of the original structures and furnishings of
such buildings pending their future conversion;
make building conservation and conversion part of local planning strategies,
with a view to preserving buildings that warrant protection and avoiding the
construction of new buildings whenever a disused building can be converted
for socially beneficial activities without detriment to its historical and
provide funds or tax concessions for the restoration, repair and maintenance
of these buildings, as well as effective legal protection when they are
owned by, or when ownership is transferred to, private individuals;
encourage the production of traditional building materials and the learning
and handing down of the crafts and architectural skills required for the
restoration of these buildings;
encourage the inclusion of hospitals and military buildings with historical
or architectural significance in European cultural itineraries, and ensure
that the proceeds of cultural tourism are channelled into the preservation
of the buildings visited by tourists;
associate the local population with rehabilitation by informing them of the
importance and interest of such action.
The Assembly welcomes the Europa Nostra Prize for the conservation and
enhancement of Europe?s architectural and natural heritage, one of the four
criteria for the award of the prize being precisely the ?restoration of old
buildings for new uses, whilst preserving their original character?.
Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the
Assembly, on 9 November 2000.
Doc. 8827, report of the Committee on Culture and Education, rapporteur: Mr