For the last decades, many traditional farm buildings have lost their original function because of the great changes in the European agricultural sector. The respectful conversion of these derelict constructions to adopt new economic or social uses constitutes an interesting practise to protect the rural landscapes and to set in motion complementary gainful activities to the agricultural production. The starting of a regional or local scheme to protect the built heritage in a particular rural area requires an appropriate knowledge of construction techniques and typological characteristics of the traditional architecture. According to the practical experience of the author in Central Spain, this paper deals with the proposal of methodological bases for data collection and subsequent analysis of the vernacular constructions in a particular rural area. The systematic assessment of the suitability for reuse of old agricultural buildings by multicriteria decision-making techniques to ensure the preservation of the most valuable examples is also discussed. © 2009 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
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