Stables and barns: Challenges and opportunities of re-using obsolete farm buildings in Grisons

 

Stables create identity and shape the cultural landscapes. Due to technical achievements and social changes, many of the peripheral old stables are no longer in use. The number of farms decreases and the remaining farms are relocated in central economic buildings that comply with todays’ regulations and norms. The conversion of old stables into holiday homes rises a paradox and is diametrically opposed to the separation of building and non-building areas. The question arises: How can old stables and barns be maintained as built heritage? This paper aims to illustrate the current status of peripheral old stables in the Canton of Grisons and contributes to the debate on re-using obsolete farm buildings. For this purpose, the topic is investigated through a social science approach and is embedded in a theoretical context. The insights show that old peripheral stables can be understood as vacancies in the cultural landscape. They are located in an in between space. In order to preserve the old stables as cultural heritage, no exceptional permits may be granted for conversion into private holiday homes. Within the current discussion there is a lack of precise concepts for the building typologies of obsolete farm buildings.  

 

Keywords:

built heritage; cultural landscape; stables and barns; structural change; swiss alps; vacancies.