Architectural conservation

Architectural conservation

Architectural conservation describes the process through which the material, historical, and design integrity of mankind's built heritage are prolonged through carefully planned interventions. The individual engaged in this pursuit is known as an architectural conservator. Decisions of when and how to engage in an intervention are critical to the ultimate conservation of the immovable object. Ultimately, the decision is value based: a combination of artistic, contextual, and informational values is normally considered. In some cases, a decision to not intervene may be the most appropriate choice.

Narrow definition

Architectural conservation deals with issues of prolonging the life and integrity of architectural character and integrity, such as form and style, and/or its constituent materials, such as stone, brick, glass, metal, and wood. In this sense, the term refers to the "professional use of a combination of science, art, craft, and technology as a preservation tool" [ Weaver and Matero 1997, p. 1] and is allied with its parent fields, of historic environment conservation and art conservation.

Broad definition

In addition to the design and art/science definition described above, architectural conservation also refers to issues of identification, policy, regulation, and advocacy associated with the entirety of the cultural and built environment. This broader scope recognizes that society has mechanisms to identity and value historic cultural resources, create laws to protect these resources, and develop policies and management plans for interpretation, protection, and education. Typically this process operates as a specialised aspect of a society's planning system, and its practitioners are termed historic environment conservation professionals.

Regional usage

In the United States, architectural conservation is used in the narrow sense and applies to the art/scientific treatment of cultural heritage and is considered to be a subset of historic preservation. In most other areas of the world, architectural conservation is used broadly for all aspects of the older built environment and is a subset of heritage conservation or cultural patrimony. [Historic preservation and heritage conservation are essentially synonymous terms that represent different geographic areas. "Historic preservation" is almost exclusively used in the United States, while the remainder of the English-speaking world uses the term "heritage conservation."]

In Asia where many of the fast developing and redeveloping cities are facing the issue of protecting its built heritage, architectural conservation becomes synonymous with urban conservation. A case in point is Singapore, where the government's Urban Redevelopment Authority [ [ Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority] ] directs urban planning and urban architectural conservation.

In China, heritage conservation is divided into archaeology and architectural conservation. Increasingly, heritage conservation, be they of underground or above ground nature, is employed as the means to the economic end of tourism development. Regional governments in China are realizing the economic potential (through domestic and international tourism) of having World Heritage Sites in their possession, and there has been a flurry to apply for listing of heritage sites on the [ UNESCO World Heritage List] .

The threat of over-commercialization of heritage sites with World Heritage status in China to cater to the hordes of domestic and foreign tourists, as already happened to the historic town of Lijiang, has highlighted the importance of the field of cultural heritage management--how to maintain the site in a sustainable way after it has been proper conserved and opened to visitors. Hence, architectural Conservation in the Chinese context is increasingly more closely allied with heritage management and tourism studies.

Related journals

* " [ International Journal of Architectural Heritage] "
* " [ Journal of the American Institute for Conservation] "
* " [ Journal of Architectural Conservation] "



Weaver, Martin and Frank Matero (1997) "Conserving Buildings: A Manual of Techniques and Materials." New York: John Wiley & Sons

ee also

* Historic Preservation
* Art conservation and restoration
* Materials science
* English Heritage
* World Monuments Fund
* List of historic houses
* National Register of Historic Places
* National Trust, with a listing of National Trusts worldwide
* World Heritage Sites

External links

* [ The Institute of Historic Building Conservation] The UK's Professional body for historic environment conservation professionals
* [ Icon, the Institute of Conservation (UK Professional body)] *
* [ " Yin Yu Tang: A Chinese Home "] Residing in Salem, Ma this authentic and fully rebuilt Chinese house of the Huang family, offers an in depth and interactive look into accurately restored Chinese architecture of the Qing dynasty.
* [ Asian Academy for Heritage Management] , a virtual institute under UNESCO Bangkok's Office of the Regional Advisor for Culture in Asia and the Pacific.
* [ UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation] .
* [ Architectural Conservation Programme at The University of Hong Kong] , Asia's leading postgraduate-level professional programme in built-heritage conservation.
* [ Cultural Heritage Management Programme in the School of Professional and Continuing Education at The University of Hong Kong] , a postgraduate-level professional programme that focuses on the management of cultural heritage assets.
* [ American Institute for Conservation] , the professional body in the US representing practitioners of architectural conservation.
* [ Parks Canada] , the official Canadian government agency responsible for the conservation of Canada's natural and cultural (tangible and intangible) heritage.
* [ English Heritage] , the official British government agency responsible for the conservation of English heritage.
* [ Historic Scotland] , the official British government agency responsible for the conservation of Scottish heritage.
* [ Antiquities and Monuments Office] , the official agency of the Hong Kong Government responsible for the conservation of local cultural heritage.
* [ Heritage of Malaysia Trust] , the quasi-government agency in Malaysia responsible for the conservation of local cultural heritage.

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