Journal of Architectural Conservation

Volume 8 Number 1 March 2002

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The Chaucer Room (lower part), Cardiff Castle. This important interior is dependent upon the condition of the leadwork in the roof of the Beauchamp Tower.


See 'Conserving Cardiff Castle' by John Edwards


Community Involvement in a Housing Renewal Project in the Old City of Jerusalem
Eman Assi

'Conserving Cardiff Castle' John Edwards

The Reuse of Water-Towers Michael Gould

Historic Lighting – Saint or Sinner? Gersil Kay

Analysis of Historic Lime and Gypsum Plaster Floors – Part One David Watt and Belinda Colston


Conservation and globalization
David Watt


As the forces of globalization place increasing pressure on the culture and identity of individual countries, the need to recognize and respond to local and regional issues has never been greater. The role of groups and communities in protecting and enhancing our surroundings must be recognized in future policies and practices.

The value of community involvement is clearly demonstrated by Dr Eman Assi in Community Involvement in a Housing Renewal Project in the Old City of Jerusalem. In this, the role of local residents in the planning and implementation of project works has brought about a better use and understanding of traditional forms of construction.

The theme of local identity and practice is further considered in Analysis of Historic Lime and Gypsum Plaster Floors – Part One by Dr Belinda Colston and myself. The use of earth and plaster floors, in many countries around the world, points to a proven and enduring form of construction that is vulnerable to the adoption of modern materials (especially cement) and building practices.

In The Reuse of Water-Towers by Dr Michael Gould, the history, development and changing role of water-towers are discussed and explored. Conversion is often seen as a valid means of retaining the structure, if not the fabric, of historic buildings. The successful conversion of water-towers, whilst demonstrably problematic, provides an opportunity for the best of contemporary conservation design. In this, the visual impact of water-towers and their contribution to our wider industrial heritage are key issues for the future.

'Conserving Cardiff Castle' by John Edwards provides a fascinating account of works being undertaken at this site of international, national, and regional significance. By linking philosophical discussion with practical application, this paper demonstrates the processes by which this complex project will protect and enhance the enduring values of the building and site at the heart of the capital city of Wales.

Finally, in a paper that shows how old and new can be successfully brought together, Gersil Kay in Historic Lighting – Saint or Sinner? provides guidance and comment on the use of glass-fibre-optic lighting for historic buildings and their settings. Examples from both Britain and United States demonstrate the range and application of this alternative form of lighting.


Community Involvement in a Housing Renewal Project in the Old City of Jerusalem
Eman Assi


Housing renewal is a means of preserving buildings of architectural and historic significance as well as a process for returning property to a useful state. This paper documents the experience of the technical office of the Old City of Jerusalem Revitalization Program GRP in rehabilitation and housing renewal taking place within the city. Two historically important residential buildings – Hosh Nseibeh and Hosh Jaber – are used as case studies in a paper that presents the challenges and problems faced in the rehabilitation process. The paper concludes that one should not only identify goals and objectives in a project that requires community involvement, but also analyse the techniques that are available and the resources they require. In order to allow for community involvement in such a project (including survey, design and construction stages), there is constant interaction between technical and social issues, and between professional advisers and building users. In conclusion, the main source of user satisfaction is not so much the degree to which the needs of the client have been met, but rather the feeling of having influenced the final outcome.


Eman Assi BA, MSc, PhD
Eman Assi is assistant professor within the Department of Architecture at Na-najah National University, West Bank. She received her 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.


Conserving Cardiff Castle
John Edwards


This paper describes briefly what Cardiff Castle is, and puts it into a national and international context. It also describes how Cardiff Castle and, in particular, the house at Cardiff Castle is being conserved. It considers the Castle's conservation plan and illustrates a number of case studies concerning the William Burges interiors. These include previous conservation work together with current issues linked to both philosophies and practicalities. Current research and analysis, together with the planning of a major multi-million pound conservation project, is also described.


John Edwards DipBldgCons(RICS), MCIOB, MRICS, IHBC   
John Edwards is Cardiff Castle Surveyor to the Fabric and the client for Cardiff Castle and Cardiff County Council for the £8 million Cardiff Castle project. He has worked in the building industry for over 25 years, in both the public and private sectors, including building surveying, project management and facilities management. For over half his career, John Edwards has worked with historic buildings, and for more than 10 years been involved with Cardiff Castle.


The Reuse of Water-Towers
Michael Gould


As changes take place in water-supply practice, a number of water-towers have become redundant. This paper reviews the current position regarding the reuse of redundant public water-supply towers for other purposes. Most structures that have been converted are of brick or stone, but interest has been shown in the conversion of reinforced-concrete structures, and this may be expected to grow. Following short background notes on the provision and type of water-towers, the paper considers the three most common difficulties encountered in undertaking conversions. Firstly, the poor attitude of many developers to possible reuse is discussed. Secondly, consideration is given to the problem posed by an exposed metal tank and the visual aspect of its removal. Lastly, a section on the difficulties that may arise in providing access up the tower.


Michael Gould BSc, PhD, MICE    
Dr Michael Gould trained as a civil engineer and taught as a senior lecturer in the Queen's University of Belfast, until taking early retirement in 1995 to undertake historical studies. He is the Northern Ireland member of the Institution of Civil Engineer's Panel for Historical Engineering Works.


Historic Lighting – Saint or Sinner?
Gersil Kay


Although light is essential to see, it, along with unfavourable temperature and humidity levels, is one of the most destructive elements for cultural heritage. Continued exposure to infra-red radiation, usually emitted by all light (natural or man-made), may dry out fugitive organic materials like wood, textiles, paper, leather, ivory, lacquer and feathers to unacceptable levels; whilst ultraviolet radiation causes irreversibly fading.

Introducing electric light into older buildings, where it was never used originally, often presents a problem. In fact, the maintenance, repair, upgrading or installing anew of any modern mechanical or electrical system, if not done competently and with sensitivity, may cause horrendous cost overruns, untold aggravation, or even irreversible damage to original design and fabric.

Now there is a lighting tool with long-sought-after features of safety; ease of use; economy of installation, operation and energy; unobtrusiveness; and longevity. It is glass-fibre-optics. It is not meant to supplant conventional products, but to be employed either in combination with traditional products or, where it can do a better job, on its own. Being virtually free of harmful infra-red and ultraviolet radiation, it can substantially delay the inevitable deterioration by all types of light. Miniaturized, it is discreet, thus eminently suited for use in historic settings. Very energy efficient and long lasting, it requires minimal maintenance and affords prompt payback on investment. Its halogen-free 'green' components create a cool, glare-free environment that enhances architectural design, and improves personal comfort, increasing productivity, attendance, and sales.


Gersil N. Kay AIA/HRC, IESNA, AIC, SAH       
Gersil Kay is founder and Chairman of Building Conservation International, a non-profit technical educational organization; President of Conservation Lighting International, a full-service company pioneering in glass-fibre-optic functional architectural and museum lighting; Co-Chairman of the first Charter School for Craftsmen in Philadelphia; and appointed member for the national ASHRAE/IESNA (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers/Illuminating Engineering Society of North America) project committee on Standard 90.1-1999 for energy conservation. She is adjunct professor in architectural and engineering programmes at a number of universities and organizes continuing professional education courses for various professional bodies, foreign institutions and associations.


Analysis of Historic Lime and Gypsum Plaster Floors – Part One
David Watt and Belinda Colston


The survival and continued use of historic lime and gypsum plaster flooring is commonplace in certain parts of the United Kingdom, and yet it remains almost unknown in other parts of the country. The potential for loss and damage to such floors, whether through ignorance or indifference, is great and has prompted a study of this traditional form of construction in order to engender a greater interest and promote more appropriate forms of repair or reinstatement. The first part of this paper describes both the history and use of lime and gypsum plaster flooring, together with a brief commentary on the related use of earth and modified earth floors, and describes the composition of traditional plaster flooring through documentary sources.


David Watt BSc (Hons), Dip Arch Cons (Leic), PhD, MSc, FRICS, IHBC       
Dr David Watt is a Chartered Building Surveyor and Senior Research Fellow at De Montfort University, Leicester. He promotes, conducts and publishes research on various aspects of architectural conservation and building pathology, and is particularly interested in the use of traditional building materials and the influence of people and environmental conditions on buildings and monuments.

Belinda Colston BSc (Hons), PhD, CChem, MRSC     
Dr Belinda Colston is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at De Montfort University, Leicester. She is engaged in a range of research and consultancy projects concerning aspects of stone decay. Dr Belinda Colston is Programme Leader for the MSc Conservation Science course at De Montfort University and adviser to the ICCROM 'CURRIC' programme.

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