Journal of Architectural Conservation

Volume 10 Number 1 March 2004

Shattered terracotta cornice of the Capitolio in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

 

See 'Merlin and the Mason’: Balancing New Technology and Tradition' by Robert J. Watt and Martin E. Weaver

Contents:

‘Merlin and the Mason’: Balancing New Technology and Tradition Robert J. Watt and Martin E. Weaver

Moisture Measurement in Tirsted Church Poul Klenz Larsen

Accreditation in Historic Building Conservation: The Work of the Edinburgh Group Ingval Maxwell, David Heath and Paul Russell

A Profile of Jukka Ilmari Jokilehto Bernard Feilden

Windowcraft – Part One Sonja Allback and Bertil Fredlund

Conservation and Adaptive Re-Use of the Bakirkoy Spirit Factory in Istanbul Yegan Kahya, Yildiz Salman and Nur Akin

 

Editorial

Asking questions of the future as well as the past

David Watt

 

According to Socrates, the 'unexamined life is not worth living'. This is sound advice and sets an agenda for introspection. The same might also hold true for our professional lives and dictates a closer assessment of how we conduct the business of architectural conservation.

During the first ten years of the Journal of Architectural Conservation (yes, this issue marks the tenth year of publication) the principles and, above all, the practice of conservation have continued to mature. We know where we have come from, are confident we know where we now are, and are able to hazard a guess as to where we might be in the future. With so much change taking place around us, the future is, however, an uncertain place.

In this issue of the Journal, our Patron, Sir Bernard Feilden, sets the scene with A Profile of Jukka Ilmari Jokilehto. If ever there were two individuals who have made a lasting difference to the business of conservation, it must surely be these two. Through his work with ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) and publication of A History of Architectural Conservation, Jukka Jokilehto has established himself as a thinker and man of action. This paper provides a fitting reminder of his continuing contribution to conservation.

Turning to the mechanisms that underpin conservation, Accreditation in Historic Building Conservation: the Work of the Edinburgh Group by Ingval Maxwell, David Heath and Paul Russell, provides an up-to-date assessment of this particular subject. Based upon the text of a presentation given at the Historic Buildings, Parks and Gardens Event in London on 18th November 2003, the authors lay out in clear terms the background to the accreditation debate, state the positions of both English Heritage and Historic Scotland, and consider present and future standards of accreditation. This is a paper that will set the scene for years to come.

In meetings of the Editorial Advisory Board, it is sometimes suggested that the Journal should publish more personal contributions, to sit alongside those of a strictly academic or professional nature. I am therefore delighted that Sonja Allback of Allback Windowcraft International has written of her work in Sweden. In Windowcraft - Part One the author describes the background to Windowcraft and demonstrates the wide-ranging benefits apparent in this system of external joinery conservation. The first part of this paper is brought to a close with a detailed study by Professor Bertil Fredlund of Lund Institute of Technology regarding improvements in thermal performance achieved through the sensitive renovation of traditional timber windows.

Staying with technical matters, Dr Poul Larsen of the National Museum of Denmark has, in Moisture Measurement in Tirsted Church, provided a particularly useful paper. Here, the author describes and evaluates a number of methods for the measurement of moisture in building fabric, and highlights potential problems. This work is set in the context of Tirsted Church, with wall paintings dating from 1425, and current liturgical practices.

In his second paper for the Journal, 'Merlin and the Mason': Balancing New Technology and Tradition, Professor Martin Weaver, together with Robert Watt, considers the various problems that affect historic masonry buildings. Based on various case studies, the authors highlight the investigative skills required to establish the nature and extent of these problems and demonstrate multi-disciplinary approaches to conservation.

In Conservation and Adaptive Re-Use of the Bakirkoy Spirit Factory in Istanbul, Dr Yegan Kahya and her co-authors from Istanbul Technical University describe the background, analysis, and conversion of a late Ottoman industrial building dating from 1917 into a cultural centre, that serves the needs of local residents.

Finally, and returning to the theme of anniversaries, I would like to draw attention to The Venice Charter 1964-2004-2044? international conference being held in Hungary in May this year. The goals of the conference are to honour those who were involved in the Venice Congress of 1964, to re-evaluate the resulting Charter in the context of the challenges being faced in the twenty-first century, and consider its lasting importance over the past 40 years.

 

'MERLIN AND THE MASON'

Balancing New Technology and Tradition

Robert J. Watt and Martin E. Weaver

 

This paper explores the wide range of problems that confront us in the conservation of historic masonry buildings. Many of the problems are concerned with incidences of departure from traditional materials and their uses, which are particularly common in the buildings of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In other rarer cases we are confronted with unusual uses of materials in former centuries where the actual construction details and specifications do not appear ever to have been written down - and where the essential craft or trade knowledge was usually passed from master mason to new mason by word of mouth.

The authors work together frequently on major conservation projects combining the skills, knowledge, and experience of the master mason with those of the forensic conservation specialist. In a review of projects ranging from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries, the authors seek to demonstrate some of the positive and problematic aspects of multi-disciplinary approaches to conservation.

This paper is based on a presentation given on masonry restoration at the Construction Specifications Canada conference held in Ottawa during May 2001.

 

Robert John Watt

Robert Watt was born on the Isle of Arran, Scotland, and is now a master mason, President and General Manager of RJW Stonemasons of Ottawa, Ontario. He has lectured extensively on heritage masonry restoration for the Canadian Guild of Restoration Masons, the Canadian Public Works masons, and the US National Parks Service masons.

Martin E. Weaver

Martin Weaver is based in Ottawa, Canada, and has an international conservation consultant practice. He has been a professor of conservation in Columbia University’s Historic Preservation Program in New York since 1978.

 

Moisture Measurement in Tirsted Church

Poul Klenz Larsen

 

Decoration on the chancel walls of Tirsted church in Denmark had been affected by salt damage over the past 100 years. To find the source of the soluble salt, the moisture content of the masonry was measured using different methods. Surface measurements carried out using a capacitance instrument gave misleading results due to the influence of salts within the plaster. The neutron probe provided more reliable data, showing high moisture levels close to the ground. By using wooden dowels it was possible to show that the wall was always in equilibrium with 100 per cent relative humidity (RH), so the moisture content was higher than the hygroscopic moisture uptake. The use of gypsum blocks indicated that the moisture was supplied mainly from the outside by rain or fog, whereas rising damp did not occur. The moisture content was also strongly influenced by heating in the Summer. With moisture evaporating from the internal surfaces, salts appeared to have concentrated in the plaster over time. This assumption was supported by measurements of the room environment, showing an increase in the moisture content of the air during periods of heating. 

 

Poul Klenz Larsen MSc, PhD

The author gained a MSc from the Technical University in Copenhagen 1990 and a PhD in 1998. He has worked as a consultant engineer and is at present senior consultant for the National Museum in Denmark working on the maintenance and restoration of historic buildings. He also teaches at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, as well as the School of Architecture and School of Conservation.

 

Accreditation in Historic Building Conservation

The Work of the Edinburgh Group

Ingval Maxwell, David Heath and Paul Russell

 

A variety of United Kingdom conservation accreditation schemes have emerged over the past eleven years. Promoted by the professional bodies, and accepted as relevant by the grant-aiding bodies, each was intended to improve the abilities and competencies of individual professionals to operate on grant-aided projects in the field of building conservation.

Whilst common in their intentions, sufficient differences exist in the requirements, management, and administration of the schemes to warrant a review of how they might be brought into a common framework, so that the various processes of accreditation might become more unified and the resulting standards be more universally accepted.

Underlying this need for commonality is recognition that 'commissioning clients' need assurance - from all participating professional bodies - that they can appoint a practitioner (for the lead professional role in grant-aided cases) on a clear understanding that the accredited individual, has been assessed to a common level of competence in conservation work, irrespective of discipline.

 

David Heath MA, Dip Arch, GradDipCons(AA), RIBA, IHBC

David Heath is Chief Conservation Architect at English Heritage, which he joined in 1987 after a career in private practice in London. Since 2002, he has been a member of the Board of Studies of the Courtauld Institute of Art, Conservation of Wall Paintings Department.

Paul Russell BSc, DipComp(Open)

Paul Russell gained a BSc in Building Surveying from Heriot-Watt University in 1993. He joined the Scottish Conservation Bureau (SCB) in 1995 to establish the Building Conservation Register for Scotland (a register of specialist contractors and consultants).

 

A Profile of Jukka Ilmari Jokilehto

Sir Bernard Feilden

 

Jukka Jokilehto’s career as an architect was closely involved, over a period of 28 years, with the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property in Rome (now known as ICCROM), where he was co-ordinator of the architectural conservation course. After serving several Directors, he retired as Deputy Director General. He now serves the UNESCO World Heritage Committee as an Advisor. He is author of the definitive A History of Architectural Conservation, published in 1999.

 

Windowcraft - Part One

Sonja Allback and Bertil Fredlund

 

The first part of this two-part paper is about work undertaken with my husband, Hans Allback, to create conditions in which we could continue to use historic windows and doors. During the 1980s and 1990s the Swedish authorities, in association with window and glass manufacturers, wanted people to change to modern triple-glazed windows to save energy and achieve improved noise reduction. In order to sell our services for renovating and protecting old houses, we therefore required scientific evidence of the performance of original doors and windows in use. In collaboration with Professor Bertil Fredlund of Lund Institute of Technology we have been able to provide a number of answers.

 

Sonja Allback

Together with her husband, Hans Allback she developed the new Windowcraft profession. Since 1982, via documentation, product development, marketing, education and administration, she has been working to commercialize their innovations. Since 1985 she has run a private school for building care and focuses on windows and doors. Since 1998 she has also run Allback Linseed Oil Products Limited. 

Bertil Fredlund MSc, LicEng, PhD

Professor Bertil Fredlund is head of the Department of Building Science at Lund Institute of Technology in Sweden. He has almost 25 years of experience in studying and analysing the energy performance of new and existing buildings.

 

Conservation and Adaptive Re-Use of the Bakirkoy Spirit Factory in Istanbul

Yegan Kahya, Yildiz Salman and Nur Akin

 

The Bakırkoy Spirit Factory is a late Ottoman industrial building dating from 1917. It was constructed as part of a military complex that produced gunpowder and remained in use until the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Following the construction of a new housing settlement in the district in the 1980s, the dilapidated building became part of a dense residential zone. Its lease to a restaurant in 1986 resulted in the execution of unauthorized works, during which its original machinery and some of its architectural characteristics were lost as a result of inappropriate interventions. The adaptive re-use project that forms the focus of this paper was prepared by members of the Faculty of Architecture at Istanbul Technical University. The building was transformed into a conservatory and cultural centre and was inaugurated in May 2000. The implementation won the National Architectural Prize of the Turkish Chamber of Architects in the Conservation Field in 2001.

 

Yıldız Salman BArch, MSc

Yıldız Salman is a research assistant within the Department of Restoration at Istanbul Technical University. She has been involved in various restoration and rehabilitation projects in Turkey, is a founding member of DOCOMOMO-Turkey, and has been a member of the ICOMOS Turkish National Commission since 2001.

Nur Akın BArch, MSc, PhD

Nur Akın is a professor within the Department of Restoration at Istanbul Technical University. She is a member of the ICOMOS Turkish National Commission and of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Historic Towns and Villages (ICOMOS-CIVVIH).

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