Canada Research Chair in Built Religious Heritage

Blason de l'Université Laval

Research Chair

in Built
Religious Heritage


dcf5e5c095Created in 2005 at the l’Université Laval School of Architecture under the Canada Research Chairs programme, the Canada Research Chair in Built Religious Heritage has as its mission to understand the human built environment: its creation, transformation and preservation. More specifically, the Chair is interested in discovering people’s individual and collective experiences of their built world and what these places signify for them. Located in the heart of Old-Québec, the Chair is active in that city and in diverse regions of the province, not to mention in the rest of Canada and the North-American continent. Its research programme bridges theory and practice; is situated at the crossroads of empirical, participatory and design research; and targets various sectors (university, governmental, community).


People invest considerable human, material and financial resources in creating and modifying the built environment. Whether a homeowner renovating her dwelling, a historic preservation specialist, a civil servant overseeing a heritage grant programme or an architect or urban designer commissioned for the design of a new structure, all make decisions according to their area of expertise and, in doing so, influence and contribute to the shaping of the built environment. The physical changes ultimately express the particular values of those responsible for decision-making as well as prevailing societal values. The significance of the built environment is similarly transformed.

In an era when everything seems to be qualified as heritage, the Chair aims to:

  • Understand the complex factors underlying the creation and transformation of the built environment; its significance and uses; and the ways it has been appropriated by different groups
  • Develop context specific historic preservation and adaptive reuse strategies for built heritage and cultural landscapes sensitive to divers practices
  • Involve communities, decision-makers and key professionals in participatory research activities and debates in the area of historic preservation, interpretation and adaptive reuse of the built environment
  • Raise awareness of historic preservation issues in training professionals

In these ways, the Chair’s research programme combines research, training and community service to effect productive synergies.

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Chair's Holder : Tania Martin |