“When public funding is not available, we are faced with a stark choice: to bring in corporate interests or to see the site disappear forever”, said Francisco de Paula Coelho, Dean of the EIB Institute at the “Heritage for future” conference on sustainable networking and funding for heritage on 4 December in Luxembourg.

“Take for instance the case of Esch-Belval (a former industrial site now housing the University of Luxembourg) or the Neumunster Abbey in the city of Luxembourg. Would still be there if they had not been transformed for a new usage?” he added and quoted the recent call by the Architect’s council of Europe: “through smart renovation and transformation, heritage sites can find new, mixed or extended uses (…) This means considering the adaptive re-use of heritage buildings that have lost their original function but still embody cultural, historic and spatial values”.

Such adaptive re-use means participatory approaches, innovation, quality-based procurement, multidisciplinary teams, financial viability and good story telling he continued, concluding “we should engage more with representatives of the tourism industry or representatives of companies established in revitalized neighbourhoods”.

Since 2013, the Institute has been cooperating with Europa Nostra under the 7ME programme to identify monuments and sites under acute danger of neglect or destruction with EIB experts carrying out on site missions and producing technical reports typically including a quantified rescue plan.