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In public, academic, and professional settings, language, definitions, and meanings have the capacity to ignite controversy and consensus; the area of building conservation is no exception to this rule.


By HL Heritage Architects


The passage of time has resulted in the establishment of consistency, which has brought about clarity as well as a method that is consistent in discussing the relative merits of various conservation techniques. Even if different persons and organisations use different terms, throughout the course of time, a consistency has formed that has brought clarity and consistency along with it.

In public, academic, and professional settings, language, definitions, and meanings have the capacity to ignite controversy and consensus; the area of building conservation is no exception to this rule. The passage of time has resulted in the establishment of consistency, which has brought about clarity as well as a method that is consistent in discussing the relative merits of various conservation techniques. Even if different persons and organisations use different terms, throughout the course of time, a consistency has formed that has brought clarity and consistency along with it.

In Europe, discussions over correct techniques for preservation can be traced back to the nineteenth century. The Athens Charter of 1931 was the first worldwide agreement to explore and come to a consensus on the necessity of repairing and maintaining current circumstances rather than unduly increasing them. This was done in an effort to prevent further deterioration of the environment.

Following this, in 1964, the Venice Charter defined the significance of Place and Context and invited states to build their own frameworks, taking into account differences in values, customs, and conceptions of cultural legacy and authenticity that exist across countries and regions. This was done to account for the fact that different countries and regions have their own unique values, customs, and conceptions of cultural legacy and authenticity.

ICOMOS, which stands for the International Council on Monuments and Sites, was established back in 1965. It is a non-governmental organisation that works in many parts of the world to preserve archaeological sites, cultural landscapes, ancient towns, and buildings of architectural significance. UNESCO is still being steered in the right direction by ICOMOS, which stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

The following terms are those that are most frequently utilised in the field of heritage architecture, as stated in The Burra Charter, which was published in Australia in 1979 by ICOMOS:

Conservation

The term “conservation” refers to everything from the definition, which states that “conservation” is “all the techniques of caring for a place in order to maintain its cultural worth…. based on respect for the existing structure, use, associations, and meanings,” as well as all of these things. Because of this, it is necessary to adopt a careful strategy that entails making as few changes as feasible while making as many changes as possible.

Preservation

To maintain an area in the same state that it is in at the moment while also preventing it from deteriorating further is what is meant by the term “preservation.”

Reconstruction

The term “restoration” refers to returning a location to a state that was before known, while “reconstruction” refers to the process of adding new components to an existing structure. The deteriorating fabric is removed during reconstruction, and it is then replaced with brand new fabric.

Restoration

The process of returning a region to a known earlier state is referred to as restoration. This can be achieved by removing accretions or reassembling existing components without the addition of any new material.

Adaptation

The process of making adjustments to a location so that it can support its intended or existing function is known as adaptation.

Repair involving restoration

A type of repair known as restoration includes placing dislodged or displaced cloth back in the position in which it was originally found. This kind of repair can take many forms, such as tightening up loose roof gutters on a building or repositioning rocks in a stone bora ring, for example.

When evaluating a change that could potentially cause damage or injury, whether the change is planned or has already been done, it is still necessary to make a choice and provide rationale in favour of one approach or another. This evaluation is going to be based on the definitions and actions that have been described up until this point.

As a consequence of this, it is absolutely necessary to carry out a “importance” analysis. The term “inclusive approach to the shared history of the United Kingdom” refers to an inquiry into who finds interest, significance, or worth in a place or structure. It also applies to the history of the United Kingdom. It poses the question of precisely who finds a particular area or structure interesting. Historic England recognises a wide range of values, some of which are subject to transformation, including the following:

  • Communal Value, which encompasses not just the intangible features of a location but also the memories, experiences, and tales linked with it;
  • Its Historic Value, which is said to depict a way of life that has been extinct for a very long time;
  • The degree to which one’s mind and senses are engaged, which is what we mean when we talk about aesthetic worth;
  • Evidential Value, which illustrates the archaeological and long-term perspective of human activity at a particular area and may be discovered in artefacts, documents, and artefact fragments. This type of value can be found in artefacts, documents, and artefact fragments.

The particular terminology that is utilised by organisations and rules can vary; however, the vast majority of them represent a similar set of values that make an effort to communicate what a site or building means to us. By classifying the suggested changes into these three categories, we are able to assess whether the effects of the modifications will be positive, negative, or neutral. This way of analysing “significance” is quite popular and widely utilised.

The reuse of buildings as material items that have not yet gained meaning or significance for us, but whose retention for its embodied carbon is increasingly considered as worthwhile and has its own value, may be better described using the phrases refurbishment and refit. In the event where there is no value according to the definitions presented thus far, phrases such as these may be more pertinent to the reuse of buildings.

By adhering to the Thoughtful Design philosophy and making it our guiding principle, we make it a goal to evaluate each project with regard to its qualities, worth, and significance in the context in which it will be used.