Journal of Architectural Conservation

Volume 5 Number 1 March 1999

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Relief sculpture of Queen Margaret and Child at Norton Park.

 

See 'The Repair and Conversion of Norton Park School, Edinburgh: A Sustainable Future for Historic Buildings' by Richard Atkins

Contents:

The Repair and Conversion of Norton Park School, Edinburgh: A Sustainable Future for Historic Buildings Richard Atkins

The National Park Service – Professionalizing the Conservation of America's Historic Landscapes Karen L. Jessup

'Scratching the Surface': An Introduction to Sgraffito and its Conservation in England Jane Lamb

Ethnic Dimensions to World Heritage: Conservation of the Architectural Heritage of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus A. D. C. Hyland

Interview with Geoffrey Beard – Scholarship, Craft and Conservation Peter Burman and David Watt

 

Editorial
Big Issues – Small Solutions
David Watt

 

There are many 'big issues' to be considered in our lives today - global warming, depletion of the ozone layer, human and natural disasters, environmental sustainability, unemployment, housing needs, transport policies – yet all too often it is easy to feel that, as individuals, we are helpless when faced with such enormous problems.

Attending a conservation award presentation in London last November, it was interesting to hear the guest speaker, the Rt. Hon. John Gummer MP, give his own views on this apparent dilemma. None of us, he made clear, can ever hope to solve these problems on our own, but each has a small part to play in achieving eventual solutions.

The papers in this and other volumes of the Journal of Architectural Conservation are all, in some way or another, attempting to solve 'big issues'. In this present volume, there are contributions that look at sustainability, ethnic dimensions to world heritage, America's historic landscapes, conservation of decorative finishes, and understanding architecture and its craft traditions. All make a valuable addition to our current knowledge and understanding of architectural conservation, and offer 'small solutions' for the future.

The work of Richard Atkins and the Albion Trust in bringing an old building back into viable use is well documented in The Repair and Conversion of Norton Park School, Edinburgh: A Sustainable Future for a Historic Building. As well as providing the building users with an exciting environment in which to work, this project is also important for the ways in which it demonstrates that sustainable and forward-looking solutions can be found for reusing historic buildings and sites.

The work of Professor Anthony Hyland is not new to the Journal of Architectural Conservation. Following his review of conservation practice in Ghana (Vol. 1 No 2 July 1995), this present paper, Ethnic Dimensions to World Heritage: Conservation of the Architectural Heritage of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, looks at the variety of monuments and sites in Northern Cyprus, and considers current policies for their conservation and presentation.

Developing an understanding and appreciation for the cultural landscapes of the United States is the subject of Karen Jessop's paper entitled The National Park Service – Professionalizing the Conservation of America’s Historic Landscapes. In this, the National Park Service's Historic Landscape Initiative is described and an assessment made of its work. The paper concludes with a description of the newly-created Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, Vermont, which is the Service's only site devoted exclusively to conservation history and land stewardship.

The use of sgraffito to decorate buildings has seemingly passed out of fashion in the United Kingdom, yet the conservation of what remains can offer opportunities for discovering past practices and, perhaps, future inspirations. Jane Lamb's paper entitled 'Scratching the Surface': An Introduction to Sgraffito and its Conservation in England offers a lucid introduction to the subject and takes us through the stages of work recently undertaken at the Royal College of Organists in London.

Finally, craft skills have never been better or more thoroughly researched and promoted than through the work of Geoffrey Beard. In this third occasional interview with key figures in architectural conservation, Peter Burman and myself explore both personality and interests in Interview with Geoffrey Beard – Scholarship, Craft and Conservation.

 

The Repair and Conversion of Norton Park School, Edinburgh 

A Sustainable Future for a Historic Building

Richard Atkins

 

By the early 1990s, and after nearly a century of use, the future of Norton Park School was brought into question. With its original function gone and later use for workshops and storage insufficient to justify the increasingly onerous maintenance and heating costs, a decision had to be taken about the future of this building.

At the same time, a need was identified to provide city centre accommodation for the voluntary and charitable sectors in Edinburgh. This new use justified the repair and conversion of Norton Park School. A new charity, the Albion Trust, was formed, which successfully raised funds and converted the building, incorporating the rigorous requirements of Historic Scotland and achieving the very highest environmental and accessibility standards.

 

Richard Atkins DipArch(Edin) RIBA ARIAS
Richard Atkins studied architecture at both the South Bank University and University of Edinburgh, qualifying in 1989. He worked in London from 1983, including with Dunthorne Parker on the Golden Cross in Oxford, which won the Oxford Preservation Trust Award in 1988 and a commendation in the Civic Trust Awards 1990. He joined Burnett Pollock Associates in 1989, becoming an Associate in 1996, and has worked on a number of commercial, housing and special needs projects. He is currently designing a new building for Friends of the Earth Scotland.

 

The National Park Service

Professionalizing the Conservation of America's Historic Landscapes

Karen L. Jessup

 

The United States National Park Service, established by an Act of Congress in 1916 and signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, has traditionally focused on the designation, protection and development of landscapes for their scenic and recreational values. In 1990, the NPS began to progressively expand its purview to embrace the importance to the Nation of cultural landscapes, defined broadly as natural spaces shaped by human intentions. During the last ten years, the Park Service's many programs for cultural landscapes have established the agency as a professionalizing force for the evaluation of this heritage. Its efforts have themselves become models to emulate for other stewards of historic landscapes.

This paper describes the intentions, scope, successes, lessons learned and plans for the future of the NPS cultural landscape activities. It assesses the Park Service's landscape programs and their impacts on selected properties within the National Park system, evaluates the intellectual rigor of its application of methodology and practice in landscape preservation, and explores its dual mandate as owner of significant cultural landscapes and as the preservation agency of the federal government. The paper concludes with a description of the newly created Marsh-Billings, Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, Vermont, the NPS's only site devoted exclusively to conservation history and the changing nature of land stewardship in America.

 

Karen L. Jessup BA cum laude (English Lit.), MA with High Honors (Preservation Studies)
Karen Jessup is an associate professor, Historic Preservation Program, School of Architecture, Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island, USA, teaching primarily the research methods, conservation philosophy, preservation planning, and landscape history courses.

 

'Scratching the Surface'

An Introduction to Sgraffito and its Conservation in England

Jane Lamb

 

The term 'sgraffito' describes a technique of incised mural decoration applied to enhance the walls of buildings; it can also describe an incised decorative technique on pottery. In the context of this paper, the term is applied to the decorative technique used for the embellishment of external and internal wall surfaces.

Although this paper describes briefly the history of this decoration in Renaissance Italy and its revival in England in the nineteenth century, its main theme relates to the issues of its conservation in England today.

 

Jane Lamb AADipl, RIBA, GradDiplCons (AA)
Jane Lamb is an architect at RTHL-UK Limited and a recent post-graduate student of the AA Historic Buildings Conservation course. This paper is based on extracts from here dissertation entitled Sgraffito in England 1600–1950.

 

Ethnic Dimensions to World Heritage

Conservation of the Architectural Heritage of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

A. D. C. Hyland

 

A brief survey of the historic monuments and sites of Northern Cyprus, from the Neolithic to the British Colonial period 'is followed by a review of Past and present provision for their custody, conservation and maintenance, and presentation to the public. The role of the principal agencies with responsibilities in this field – Evkaf (The Commissioners for Religious and Charitable Foundations) and the Department of Antiquities and Museums – is examined, and their objectives, operational procedures and achievements analysed. Their major conservation achievements –- St Nicholas Cathedral (Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque), Fanwgusta, and Kyrenia Castle – are reviewed, and major problems and weaknesses are identified.

Monuments and historic sites at risk are discussed, and a variety of current initiatives are examined – the UNHCR, funded programme of urban conservation in the historic centre of the city of Nicosia, municipal initiatives in Famagusta, Kyrenia and Lefke, and private initiatives like the historic preservation of the Church of Panayia Tou Potamou at Ozankoy.

The potential role of international funding agencies in the conservation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus's (TRNC) historic monuments and sites is discussed, and the author ends with a plea to put an end to the ostracism of the TRNC and its dedicated expert professionals by the international community.

 

Anthony D. C. Hyland BA(Arch), ARIBA, FGIA, Dip Conservation Studies
Anthony Hyland is an architect and teacher of architecture, and consultant in architectural conservation and heritage management.

 

Interview with Geoffrey Beard

Scholarship, Craft and Conservation

Peter Burman and David Watt

 

Dr Geoffrey Beard is one of the best-known scholars working in the related fields of conservation and the decorative arts, with a reputation for sound archival research and the kind of single-mindedness that has transformed our knowledge of, in particular, plasterwork and furniture. He has focused our attention on the actual craftsmen, and established their identifies in a way that had only been attempted before by such pioneers as Rupert Gunnis and Margaret Jourdain. His book Decorative Plasterwork in Great Britain revolutionized our understanding of that field, and his recent book on upholsterers will do the same. Dr Beard has also made his mark as a museum director and teacher, and to practical conservation through his passionate commitment to the Attingham Summer School and the work of the Idlewild Trust.

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