Journal of Architectural Conservation
Volume 3 Number 1 March 1997
Conservation and Diverging Philosophies Robert Maguire
Approaches to the Treatment of Historic Painted and Decorated Interiors Susan Thomas
Values and Urban Conservation Planning: Some Reflections on Principles and Definitions Silvio Mendes Zancheti and Jukka Jokilehto
Archaeology and Architecture: A Tradition of Collaboration Keith Emerick
The Process of Visitor Impact Assessment Paul Thomas, Nigel Seeley and Patrick O'Sullivan
As the skills required of those involved in architectural conservation broaden, and the historical distinctions between crafts and professions become blurred in the move towards interdisciplinarity, it is often refreshing to see how others respond to philosophical and technical challenges.
In Values and Urban Conservation Planning: Some Reflections on Principles and Definitions, Silvio Mendes Zancheti and Jukka Jokilehto, both architects and urban planners, have provided a thought-provoking paper based on the determination of value in relation to urban structure, planning and conservation management. In this, we are compelled to consider our own views and beliefs, and to seek a deeper understanding of sustainability in the urban planning process.
The conflicts that have seemingly dogged the processes of conservation have themselves often provided the impetus for lively discussion and change. Partnership and association, as discussed by Keith Emerick in his paper Archaeology and Architecture: A Tradition of Collaboration, have long been a driving force, and one that should not be ignored in the challenge of acquiring a greater understanding of our cultural heritage.
Recognizing a problem is only half the battle; understanding the significances and finding a solution often come less easily. The work that Paul Thomas et al. have been engaged in with The National Trust is a clear example of how academics and practitioners can work together to address real issues of conservation. In The Processes of Visitor Impact Assessment, the implications of high numbers of visitors on our historic buildings are considered in detail and practical guidance given for monitoring and managing the effects on both structure and content.
The application of conservation in architecture and planning, as seen through the eyes of a practitioner, provides the basis for Robert Maguire's paper entitled Conservation and Diverging Philosophies. In this, the meaning of 'conservation' is discussed and set in the context of changes that have taken place in this country during the past 30 years, and the corresponding differences in public perception and approach that have brought about what the author perceives to be 'an understandably human sort of mess'.
The complex choices and ethical decisions that have to be faced in dealing with the interiors of historic buildings are well presented by Susan Thomas in Approaches to the Treatment of Historic Painted and Decorated Interiors. In this, terminology, background and application of ethical codes are clearly discussed with four case studies.
Conservation and Diverging Philosophies
Conservation is an activity engaged in by many different kinds of professional people, and the exact meaning of the term varies considerably according to the field of application. Within architecture and planning it has at least two meanings, which now seem philosophically opposed. That the difference is not clearly recognized could well be the cause of much of the misunderstanding that exists, particularly between professions. The probable causes of what appears to be an increasing philosophical divergence are reviewed, and the question discussed and left open as to whether these approaches need be regarded as unreconcilable.
Robert Maguire OBE, AADip(Hons),RIBA
Approaches to the Treatment of Historic
Painted and Decorated Interiors
This paper explores the approaches taken to the conservation, restoration and reinstatement of painted and decorated historic interiors. The range of options available to those responsible for preserving and interpreting historic decorative schemes will be discussed and four case studies used to illustrate the points made. The paper will also highlight the sources of information that have a bearing on these complex choices and examine the role that ethical tenets of conservation practice can play in this debate.
Susan Thomas BA (Hons), MA (Museum Studies), AMA
Values and Urban Conservation Planning
Reflections on Principles and Definitions
The aim of this paper is to discuss the question of values in relation to the planning and conservation management of historic cities. It is structured in order to expose the logical problems of using the category of value in the urban planning process. This is done by: determining the main subjects of the urban conservation process; identifying the social process of the determination of the values; identifying values in reference to urban structure; and using values as important categories for the construction of a new urban conservation planning approach.
The paper will also discuss the possibility of expanding urban conservation principles to encompass the urban processes, and not merely the states of the urban structure.
Silvio Mendes Zancheti
Archaeology and Architecture
A Tradition of
Archaeologists and architects have often found themselves in conflict particularly so over the last 40 years - but this situation does not do justice to the collaboration that prevailed between architect and archaeologist from the early years of the nineteenth century up until the time of World War II. Lately, archaeologists and architects have identified much common ground: the demands of cultural heritage management, and the realization that 'the monument' is as much the landscape (or cityscape) as an individual building. This has forced us to think more carefully about the setting, recording, methods of conservation, and other disciplines required to undertake heritage management projects. With a new millennium and new work practices ahead, it may be valuable to look at the collaboration that did exist before increasing specialization forced the two professions apart.
Keith Emerick MA
The Processes of Visitor Impact Assessment
The National Trust has the responsibility both to preserve historic properties together with their contents and to make them accessible to the public. Opening historic properties inevitably contributes to their deterioration, and it is the aim, therefore, to maximize the life of these non-renewable resources with the minimum adverse effect on visitor access and enjoyment. The impact of the visiting public on the contents, fixtures and fittings of historic properties has long been recognized and appropriate precautions taken, and this policy is now being extended to include the building fabric itself. Research was initiated as a doctorate thesis at the Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, University College, London. The aim of these studies was to establish whether visitor-induced vibrations accelerated the ageing of surface and structural elements in proportion to their frequency and intercity when considering the durations for which they are experienced. From these investigatiom, and on the premise that opening a building to the visiting public constitutes a change in the way it is used, a framework has been designed to help management teams identify vulnerable elements without preconceptions. It is concluded that the data collected will enable the nature of the relationships between visitor access and conservation to be accurately addressed by either algorithmic or graphical representation. Such processes provide a framework that will ensure a collaborative understanding of the factors that affect the operation of these buildings.
Paul W. Thomas BSc(Hons), MSc
Nigel Seeley BSc, PhD, CChem, FRSC, FIIC, FSA
Dr Seeley read chemistry before working for five years as a forensic scientist. In 1989 when he was appointed to the National Trust as its Surveyor of Conservation.
Patrick O'Sullivan OBE, BSc, PhD, CEng, FCIBSE, FINSTE,
Donhead Publishing 2013