Journal of Architectural Conservation

Volume 6 Number 3 November 2000

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Quedlinburg, Germany. Simply looking old is no longer enough to become the object of tourists’ gaze. Conservation has to be supported by tourist-friendly services such as cafés and shops.

See: 'Is Tourism Governing Conservation in Historic Towns?' by Aylin Orbasli


Is Tourism Governing Conservation in Historic Towns?  Aylin Orbasli

The Future of Historic Cities  Alan Baxter

On Preserving Our Ruins  Caroline Stanford

Our Common Heritage: Monuments and Sites of the Polar Regions   Susan Barr

Searching for the Concept of Authenticity: Implementation Guidelines Eman Assi

Stonehenge: The Saga Continues  Elizabeth Young and Wayland Kennet



Authenticity and significance

David Watt


In a month when it was reported that the owners of London’s Millennium Dome sought its listing as being of special architectural or historic interest, what we consider to be of importance, and thus what we choose to protect and preserve, is becoming an increasingly complex issue at the very heart of architectural conservation. Whilst individual buildings continue to be assessed on the basis of well-known selection criteria, there is now a progression towards taking greater account of authenticity and significance.

The papers in this issue reflect the growing concern for how and why we choose to protect and preserve historic buildings and monuments, and consider how broader value judgements can be used to help understand the role of our inherited built environment in the twenty-first century.

In Searching for the Concept of Authenticity: Implementation Guidelines, Eman Assi of Na-najah National University, West Bank, explores the notion of authenticity and considers, in a thought-provoking paper, both the processes involved in testing authenticity and the need for taking a dynamic approach in its application.

The role and significance of tourism in the economy of historic centres present challenges for those engaged in planning and urban design, as well as for those persons who live and work in such settings. Dr Aylin Orbasli – whose book Tourists in Historic Towns: Urban Conservation and Heritage Management is reviewed in this issue – considers the demands of visitors and the leisure economy, and discusses the sometimes fraught relationship that exists between tourism and architectural conservation.

The role of historic centres is now beginning to be seen as crucial for our development and growth. In The Future of Historic Cities, Alan Baxter provides a lively and informed paper that considers issues of ownership, transportation and housing, and urges greater concern for creative planning, together with local ownership and social interaction.

The cultural heritage of the Arctic and Antarctic is a fascinating subject not often considered by writers on architecture and conservation. Yet, in Our Common Heritage: Monuments and Sites of the Polar Regions, Dr Susan Barr, Special Advisor in polar matters at the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage, offers an insight into this subject and considers the challenges faced by those who manage and protect this international inheritance.

The significance and value of ruined buildings provides the subject for Caroline Stanford, who, in On Preserving Our Ruins, argues that our treatment of ruins places too much emphasis on ruins-as-evidence, at the expense of their aesthetic and metaphysical properties. A case is made for a return to ‘more verdant ruins’, reinstated in their ‘temporal and environmental contexts’.

In the light of current speculation and debate surrounding the future treatment of Stonehenge and its surroundings, Elizabeth Young and Wayland Kennet offer a personal view in Stonehenge: the Saga Continues on recent decisions and the pressing need to reach a consensus on key issues relating to management, visitors and highways.


Is Tourism Governing Conservation in Historic Towns?

Aylin Orbasli


Tourism has become a significant economic activity for many historic towns today. Not only the wealth of history, but also the picturesque qualities and the accessible human scale of these places appeal to visitors. Increasingly, conservation attitudes in historic towns and quarters are responding to the new demands placed by the visitor and leisure economy, including an exaggerated attempt to keep everything as it is. There is a growing and noticeable emphasis on the exterior and ‘historic’ appearances of buildings in historic towns and places. This paper discusses the relationship between tourism and the externalist and historicist emphasis on conservation and development in historic towns.


Aylin Orbasli BArch, DPhil

Dr Aylin Orbasli trained as an architect in Turkey before completing a doctorate at the University of York in England. Having worked as both a university researcher and then in architectural practice, she now works as a consultant in heritage management and historic building conservation, and is the author of Tourists in Historic Towns: Urban Conservation and Heritage Management (E & FN Spon, London, 2000).


The Future of Historic Cities

Alan Baxter


The future of our historic cities is now being seen as critical for our growth and development. There are still key issues to be addressed – ownership, transportation and housing – yet there are now signs of new thinking and a new wave of interest in living and working in cities. The way forward must be based on creative planning and take account of the importance of local ownership and social interaction.

Alan Baxter BSc, FIStructE, MICE, MCONSE
Alan Baxter is an engineer with a wide interest in the making of the built environment and its long-term care. His work in conservation covers many significant historic buildings such as St Paul’s Cathedral, the Palace of Westminster and the Tower of London. Urban issues influence a significant part of his work, especially the creation of public spaces from the movement patterns of people and traffic.


On Preserving Our Ruins

Caroline Stanford


This paper argues that today’s treatment of ruins places too much emphasis on ruins-as-evidence, at the expense of their aesthetic and ‘metaphysical’ properties. After a brief examination of issues involved in preserving urban ruins (using Greyfriars and Blackfriars Priories in Gloucester as case studies), the case is argued for a return to more verdant ruins, reinstated in their temporal and environmental contexts. Wigmore and Tickhill Castles are used as examples of this multi-dimensional approach, encompassing conservation of a ruin’s containing eco-system as well as its fabric, and re-instating ruins as ‘auratic’ as well as instructional objects.


Caroline Stanford BA, MA, MSc

Caroline Stanford read history at Oxford. During 10 subsequent years in business, she took a part-time MA in Early Modern History at Birkbeck College, London, specializing in the history of ideas. After a further decade devoted to family life and local politics, she recently completed a MSc in Historic Conservation at Oxford Brookes University. Between freelance research projects, she is currently working on a book, which enlarges and elaborates the themes of this paper.


Our Common Heritage

Monuments and Sites of the Polar Regions

Susan Barr


In this paper the emphasis is on monuments and sites in the Arctic and Antarctic that represent the in situ evidence of visitors to these areas. This means that indigenous cultural heritage is not included as it is considered to have problems of conservation and management that set it as a group in a different category from the monuments and sites discussed here. The cultural heritage left in the polar areas by visitors from warmer climes has many common traits at the same time as it is often quite different from monuments and sites in non-polar areas of the national territories. In addition, there are international challenges and problems connected with this cultural heritage that best can be overcome through increased information and co-operation across national boundaries. This fact has prompted the recent establishment of an international expert committee devoted to the subject.

Susan Barr BA(Hons), PhD
Susan Barr was awarded BA(Hons) in Scandinavian studies at University College London in 1972 and PhD in ethnology from the University of Oslo in 1978. Between 1979–82 Susan Barr was Cultural Heritage Officer for the Norwegian Arctic, and between 1982–98 held positions at the Norwegian Polar Institute, finishing as Head of Polar History and Documentation. From 1998, she has been Special Advisor in polar matters at the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage.


Searching for the Concept of Authenticity

Implementation Guidelines

Eman Assi


This paper explores the notion of authenticity, defined as respect for the importance of any legacy from the past. A brief summary is provided of the old concept of authenticity and the way it has been related to practical issues of conserving works of art. The current concept of authenticity as a tool for conserving cultural heritage is discussed and, through evaluating the processes involved in testing authenticity, the author calls for a broader interpretation and a dynamic approach to its application.

Eman Assi BA, MSc, PhD
Eman Assi is assistant professor within the Department of Architecture at Na-najah National University, West Bank. She received BA in architecture from Jordan University in 1982, MSc in urban design from Pratt Institute, New York in 1990, and PhD in cultural development from Edinburgh College of Art in 1998.


Stonehenge: the Saga Continues

Elizabeth Young and Wayland Kennet


The article gives an account of the many proposals over the last decade for improving the state of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, parts of which have been described as a ‘national disgrace’, and at the same time to provide for the dualling of the A303, an important road into South West England. Although there was an informed consensus in 1995 that only a ‘long bored tunnel’ could provide a satisfactory outcome, since 1997 the Government has claimed such a tunnel would be ‘unaffordable and uneconomic’ and have declared in favour of twin tunnels, cut-and-covered, within a few tens of metres of the Henge, with their cuttings and portals at each end, extra ‘landscaping’, and some kilometres of new dual carriageway all within the World Heritage Site (WHS) landscape. Widespread and informed objection continues.

Elizabeth Young MA
With her husband, Wayland Kennet, Elizabeth Young wrote Old London Churches (Faber & Faber, 1956), which pioneered an appreciation of London’s baroque churches. Their London’s Churches was published by Grafton in 1986, and their prize-winning Northern Lazio: An Unknown Italy by John Murray in 1990.

Wayland Kennet MA, Hon. FRIBA
Wayland Kennet was an active member of the House of Lords until the legislation abolished the participation of hereditary peers. He was the Minister in charge of Heritage and Planning for four years; and was Parliamentary Vice President of the Local Authorities World Heritage Forum. He is an Honorary Fellow of the RIBA, and President of the Avebury Society – Avebury and Stonehenge share a single World Heritage Site.

Living in the Marlborough Downs, thought to be the source of the Stonehenge sarsens, Elizabeth Young and Wayland Kennet have been active in supporting the development of satisfactory solutions to the problems of the world’s premier monument of the Neolithic.

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