Journal of Architectural Conservation

Volume 9 Number 2 July 2003

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The rectified photography process has been revived through the use of computer manipulation of the data.  (Courtesy: Colin Briden, Buildings Archaeologist)

 

See 'Measured Surveys of Historic Buildings: User Requirements and Technical Progress' Ross Dallas

Contents:

The Characteristics and Properties of Rubbing Bricks used for Gauged Brickwork – Part Two Sara Pavia and Gerard Lynch

Approaches to Urban Conservation in Central and Eastern Europe Dennis Rodwell

The Risk Map of Italian Cultural Heritage G. Aaccardo, E. Giani and A. Giovagnoli

Measured Surveys of Historic Buildings: User Requirements and Technical Progress Ross Dallas

Obituary: Freddie Charles (1912–2002) Bernard Feilden

 

Abstracts of the papers:

(Note that all biographies are for the date of original publication)

 

Editorial
Cohesion, co-ordination, and determination
D
avid Watt

 

As concerns grow over the looting and destruction of Iraq's cultural heritage, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura, addressed international experts: 'Despite all your expertise and good will, the fate of Iraqi heritage does not lie in your hands. It lies in the hands of the international community as a whole, and the only way that we will be able to safeguard these treasures and give them back to humanity is if we can count on the cohesion, coordination and determination of all concerned, at every level.'

The loss of Iraq's treasures provides a painful reminder of how values become twisted in times of conflict and what lasting effects this can have on a shocked and fragile nation. We can only hope that the international community responds in a mature and selfless manner.

This issue of the Journal of Architectural Conservation draws together papers at both macro- and micro-levels of architectural conservation, and addresses subjects that have a bearing on the sustainable future of our own cultural heritage.

Knowledge of the threats and challenges that face the historic environment, and understanding that places die if change is mismanaged, are the keys to future decision-making, policy, and practice. In The Risk Map of Italian Cultural Heritage, Professor Giorgio Accardo, Dr Elisabetta Giani, and Professor Annamaria Giovagnoli of the Istituto Centrale per il Restauro in Rome introduce and describe the development of the Risk Map and point to ways in which it will assist in the future management and protection of Italy's own historic environment.

In his third paper – Approaches to Urban Conservation in Central and Eastern Europe – Dennis Rodwell contemplates how, in the former socialist block, the value of the historic environment as a usable resource served to ensure its survival. His paper summarizes the diversity of the urban heritage of Central and Eastern Europe and the challenges being faced in the post-socialist era, and highlights the responsibilities and opportunities for achieving exemplary practice.

Turning to technical matters, Dr Sara Pavia and Gerard Lynch, in The Characteristics and Properties of Rubbing Bricks used for Gauged Brickwork – Part Two characterize the low-fired rubbing bricks selected traditionally for use with 'cut and rubbed' and 'gauged' brickwork and put forward an explanation for the lasting durability of these soft bricks. This paper will be of particular interest and value to those engaged in the conservation and repair of historic brickwork.

Preparing measured surveys of historic building and monuments has, for many years, provided a fundamental and valuable challenge for all conservation students. Through such exercises, one learns to understand the form and construction of the subject, and take account of its materials and defects in making decision about its future use (or impending loss). In Measured Surveys of Historic Buildings: User Requirements and Technical Progress, Ross Dallas considers the nature and use of measured surveys, provides an overview of current measured survey techniques, and offers guidance on briefing and commissioning measured survey work.

Our future, and that of our national heritage, is placed in the trust of today's children. We should not forget this, especially since attitudes and values can so easily be turned on their heads in times of re-evaluation and change. It is therefore all the more important for children to be given the chance to learn about their communities and surroundings. In Traditional Building Skills Courses for Primary Schoolchildren, Anne Holden gives a refreshing account of how traditional building skills training has been made available for children in their last year at primary school. The results have so far been encouraging and it is hoped that this initiative will provide the basis for a wider sharing of skills, knowledge, and experience.

Finally, Bernard Feilden provides an obituary of Freddie Charles who died last year.

 

The Characteristics and Properties of Rubbing Bricks used for Gauged Brickwork – Part Two
Sara Pavia and Gerard Lynch

 

This paper provides a continuation of 'The Characteristics and Properties of Rubbing Bricks used for Gauged Brickwork – Part I', published by Gerard Lynch and Sara Pavia in the March 2003 issue of the Journal of Architectural Conservation. In this, the authors examined the historical background, raw materials, production methods, use, and weathering characteristics of rubbing bricks. Despite the softness and absence of a protective fireskin, 'low-fired' rubbing bricks are extremely durable. This paper determines the properties and mineralogical composition of these bricks in order to understand their behaviour in response to weathering. It is concluded that the hardness and durability of rubbing bricks are due partially to the occurrence of mineral cements created by reactive temper. This temper acts in a manner similar to a pozzolan in a hydraulic lime mortar, giving rise to the development of mineral cements through hydraulic reaction. The rubbing bricks show a high level of effective porosity, which influences the production of mineral cements and the overall durability of the bricks.

 

Sara Pavia BSc, PhD

Dr Sara Pavia graduated in earth sciences (applied geology) and completed her PhD in the properties, decay, and conservation of building materials at the University of Zaragoza, Spain. She currently works as a lecturer in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, Trinity College Dublin.

Gerard Lynch LCG, CertEd, MA (Dist)

Gerard Lynch is a self-employed historic brickwork consultant, master bricklayer, and author.

 

Approaches to Urban Conservation in Central and Eastern Europe
Dennis Rodwell

 

Many have remarked upon the exceptional degree of survival of historic buildings and cities in Central and Eastern Europe during the post-Second World War socialist period. Compared to the ideological and economic pressures for re-planning and re-development that were the driving force for much unnecessary destruction in Western Europe, in the socialist block the value of the historic environment as a usable resource served generally as a major agent for its retention. This paper aims to summarize the diversity of the urban heritage of the region and the key challenges that it is facing in the post-socialist era; to present examples of different approaches and provide commentary on the outcomes; and highlight the responsibilities and the opportunities for achieving exemplary practice. Although the specific context for this paper is Central and Eastern Europe, the lessons it offers are relevant to urban conservation practice throughout Europe and beyond.

 

Dennis Rodwell MA, DipArch(Cantab), DipFrench(Open), RIBA, FRIAS, FSA Scot, FRSA, IHBC

Dennis Rodwell practices as a consultant architect–planner working internationally in the field of cultural heritage, focusing primarily on building conservation and urban rehabilitation.

 

The Risk Map of Italian Cultural Heritage
G. Accardo, E. Giani and A. Giovagnoli

 

The 'Risk Map' is a current research project of the Istituto Centrale del Restauro (ICR), with the aim of developing a more rational and economical means of undertaking the maintenance, conservation, and restoration of the architectural and archaeological monuments of Italy. The first step of the project has been to create a geographical information system (GIS), which collects, processes, and manages both cartographic and alphanumerical data coming from peripheral units based in many Italian towns by the 'Soprintendenze', being the territorial departments of the Ministry of Culture. The connection between environmental danger and risk to the monuments is highlighted through a mapping process, by overlapping computerized maps having a thematic content (such as air pollution, climate, and earthquakes) and the distribution of cultural assets. The second step has ensured that the above data were homogeneous through defining standardized schedules at different levels of detail. These schedules contain information both on the environment of the territory and the conservation status of the monuments. Future development, according to the methodological approach adopted by the Risk Map project, foresees the census area as a smaller territorial unit. Moreover, it is the opinion of the authors that an improvement in documentation and recording of all formal and constituent elements of the monuments is essential in order to obtain a true reconstruction (either real or virtual) of damaged cultural property.

 

Giorgio Accardo

Professor Giorgio Accardo was born in Pisa in 1948, graduated in physics at the University of Rome 'La Sapienza', and has been the Director of the Physics Laboratory at the Istituto Centrale per il Restauro in Rome since 1974.

Elisabetta Giani

Dr Elisabetta Giani graduated in physics at the University of Rome 'La Sapienza', and works in the Physics and Environmental Control Laboratory of the Istituto Centrale per il Restauro (ICR). Her work focuses mainly on environmental/microclimatic aspects relating to problems of conservation.

Annamaria Giovagnoli

Professor Annamaria Giovagnoli has worked in the Chemistry Laboratory of the Istituto Centrale per il Restauro (ICR) in Rome since 1983. She teaches environmental chemistry at the ICR school of restoration, and also lectures at the Faculty of Conservation at the Alma Mater University in Bologna and the Faculty of Architecture at the University in Rome 'La Sapienza'.

 

Measured Surveys of Historic Buildings

User Requirements and Technical Progress
Ross Dallas

 

The requirement for measured surveys of historic buildings is an on-going one. In recent years, more appreciation of this field seems to have developed, partly in relation to technical developments and partly through raised standards in the conservation field. This paper provides an overview of the range of current measured survey techniques, the effect of computers and CAD (computer aided drafting), the applications of measured surveys, including advantages and disadvantages, and some advice on briefing and commissioning measured survey work.

 

R. W. A. Dallas BSc, FRICS

Ross Dallas provides a specialist consultancy service in all aspects of the measured survey and recording of historic buildings. His background is in land surveying and photogrammetry, with a first degree from Glasgow University, but he has spent his career in the field of surveying historic buildings.

 

Obituary: Freddie Charles (1912–2002)
Bernard Feilden

 

Freddie (despite always writing as 'F.W.B. Charles', he was universally known as 'Freddie') was recognized as the great national expert on the conservation of timber-framed buildings. His understanding of medieval technology, his respect for craftsmen, and his knowledge of the different behaviour of green oak and seasoned oak, give his work the unique quality of authenticity. He was Chairman of the ICOMOS-UK Wood Committee and a member of the ICOMOS International Wood Committee. In that capacity, he was invited to the Soviet Union, on one of his many visits, to advise on the difficult problems of the Church of the Transfiguration at Kizi Pogost. He also visited Japan, Norway, and Bulgaria for ICOMOS. How did this come about?

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