12/06/2024 > 26/07/2024

Bringing Art Nouveau heritage back to life: theory and practice in restoration 

From the Venice Charter to the Turin Declaration 

The Réseau Art Nouveau Network, a European network for the study, protection and promotion of Art Nouveau heritage, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. An important milestone that RANN intends to celebrate by organising with the collaboration of an international conference dedicated to the restoration of the Art Nouveau architectural heritage, remembering that 2024 will also mark the 30th anniversary of the publication of the UNESCO Declaration of Turin, which established the guidelines for the practice and theory of restoring this heritage, in full respect of its material specificities. 

The punctuality of the analysis underpinning this declaration has not preserved it from oblivion. Having recalled the main assumptions of the Venice Charter, we would like to understand why 30 years after its publication the need was felt to draw up a code of intervention specifically dedicated to Art Nouveau. We would also like the conference to be an opportunity to clarify, through concrete examples, the critical fortune of the two UNESCO documents, aware that their implementation in Europe is not always systematic. 

The conference should give the answers to the following questions: 

– Did your Country officially adopt the Turin declaration and implement it in the theory and practice of restauration. 

– What are the advantages and limitations of the Turin Declaration, particularly in the context of today’s sustainability challenges? 

– What is needed to update the general theories of architectural restoration in the 21st century and how does this affect heritage professionals working on restoration sites? 

– What are the examples of good practice that can help to fuel these questions, particularly with regard to intervention techniques and methods? 

– What are the good practice examples that can help nurture these questions, in particular regarding intervention techniques and methods? 

We invite architectural historians and art historians, architects and engineers, and craftsmen who in their daily practice deal with Art Nouveau plans, structures and materials to answer these questions. 

 The conference will be structured in three sections: 

1964-1994: Thirty years of restoration history: insights and perspectives 

If authenticity and reversibility are the keywords of the UNESCO charter adopted in Venice in 1964, which emphasizes the importance of a rigorous critical approach to the heritage to be restored, respecting the specificities of materials and techniques, the declaration presented in Turin in 1994, takes up these assumptions to specify the specificities of Art Nouveau heritage. In this section we would like architectural and art historians to help us follow the evolution of the restoration between 1964 and 1994, allowing us to understand the historical and critical assumptions that led to the drafting of the Turin Charter.

We consider it equally important to analyse some of the most significant restoration sites of the thirty-year period in order to question its success or failure and to examine its impact on the preservation of Art Nouveau heritage throughout Europe. We would also like to initiate, through the analysis of concrete examples of restoration, how Western and Eastern Europe come to deal with the assumptions of the two UNESCO declarations. 

1994-2024: Theory and practice of restoration 

The definition of the Gesamtkunstwerk of Art Nouveau construction must necessarily extend to a restoration site that is respectful of the history of the site, its constituent architectural principles. This assumption seems to us the indispensable starting point of a critical reflection that we would like to lead to the definition of precise theoretical norms that can guarantee a univocal and transnational approach to the conservation and restoration of architecture. Through the analysis of concrete cases, we would like to answer questions central to the critical debate and concerning the modalities and conditions of reconstruction. Furthermore, we would like to examine the role and function of architecture books and periodicals (e. g. Moderne Bauformen) in the process of restoration and reconstruction. 

2024-2050: Sustainable restoration as the basis for more resilient and aware communities. 

Art Nouveau architecture is a symbol of technical and functional innovation. How can Art Nouveau architecture is a symbol of technical and functional innovation. How can restoration in the present respect the innovative nature of the heritage and be sustainable? Through a broad overview of concrete, practical case studies, we would like to be able to examine and discuss the latest findings and best practices regarding the use of sustainable materials and resources, without of course losing sight of the criterion of reversibility. In this section, the case studies can also refer to different eras than the early 20th century, if they can be an opportunity to bring useful solutions of interest to Art Nouveau. 

Rereading the Venice and Turin papers critically, we would like to enable the definition of a clear and up-to-date international intervention protocol that takes the criteria of sustainability into account. 

For further reading, please find below the link with the original texts of the Venice Charter and the Turin Declaration. 

>> Venice Charter 

>> Turin Declaration 

The RANN also wishes to give the floor to young researchers: 15% maximum of the symposium lectures will be reserved for them (theses or dissertations defended or in the writing process). 

The conference proceedings will be published during 2025. 


Interventions will be limited to 20 minutes. 


• Candidates are invited to send by email to: and by 26 July 2024 in French or in English: 

– CV, including contact details of the candidate (e-mail address, phone) and possible bibliography of articles or books already published 

– An abstract / summary of the communication (maximum 500 words) 

– For young researchers: two references 

• The RANN will inform the candidates of the selection of the Scientific Committee by 26 August 2024 at the latest. 


Ezio Godoli 

Researcher and President of the Documentation centre for contemporary architecture in Tuscany, Viareggio, Italy 

Astrid Huber 

Head of the Information and Training Centre of Architectural Conservation, Wien, Austria 

Breda Mihelic 

Researcher, Ljubljana, Slovenia 

Alexandre Pais 

President of the Museums and Monuments in Portugal

Josef Sisa 

Professor of the Department of 19th-century’s Architecture and Fine Arts at the Institute of Art History, Budapest, Hungary 

Barbara Van der Wee 

Architect, Brussels, Belgium 

Benjamin Zurstrassen 

Curator, Horta Museum, Brussels, Belgium


Julia Katona 

Secretary of research and research project leader at the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest, Hungary 

Erika Giuliani 

Coordinator of the Réseau Art Nouveau Network 

Irene Domènech Comella 

Assistant coordinator of the Réseau Art Nouveau Network 

For any questions, please contact the RANN Secretariat at or 

You cannot answer this call for papers but you would like to keep in touch with the Réseau Art Nouveau Network for future scientific activities? Please contact 


The Réseau Art Nouveau Network, composed of institutions and experts from European Art Nouveau cities, was formed in 1999 to study, promote and help protect Art Nouveau heritage so it can endure for future generations to enjoy. We undertake a wide range of activities including exhibitions, publications, conferences and cultural exchanges aimed at adults, children, researchers and professionals. 

Certified as Cultural route of the Council of Europe since 2014, the Network also benefitted from the co-funding of the European Commission for several European projects of cooperation.