Trends in practice

Too often there is a gap between theoretical intent and practical execution, and the diverse influences mentioned above certainly add to the difficulty of interpreting conservation policies in practice. Authenticity is a basic concept in modern conservation, but its conventional reference has mainly been the genuine material documenting the different historical phases of a particular structure or place. Using the same word in another context can cause confusion. For example, the expression of 'authentic reconstruction', meaning a new construction representing the form of an earlier building and based on secure documentation, should perhaps rather be called 'accurate reconstruction'. The use of the word 'authentic' has, in fact, become a fashion in the late twentieth century - possibly due to a desire for truthful references in an otherwise increasingly fragmented world. Yet, when the word is overused, its meaning becomes obfuscated; in fact, some conservation specialists tend to look for other expressions to avoid using the word 'authentic' - such as 'identity' or 'integrity' - although these obviously can have different meanings.

Brandi holds the view that the modern approach towards the past should generally be best defined as 'restauro', like in the Italian Carta del Restauro of 1972. (This word does not necessarily correspond to the English usage of 'restoration', however.) De Angelis d'Ossat, instead, has suggested that the use of essential terms should be specified and limited within the scope of their agreed definitions, distinguishing especially between two types of activities. 'restoration' and 'innovation'; he did not refuse new creative insertions, considering them legitimate (De Angelis d'Ossat, 1983). This would confirm the Venice Charter's statement, 'the process of restoration is a highly specialized operation (art. 9) and that the word 'restoration' should be used accordingly. Attempts have been made to define terms in international charters and recommendations (e.g., UNESCO, ICOMOS, the Council of Europe), but substantial variations do remain. Referring to practice, there is often confusion when concepts are used beyond their specifically defined limits, although problems are also caused due to differences between languages (e.g., Romance and Germanic), between the various disciplines, and due to the expanding field of cultural heritage, the complexity and variety of management requirements. The problem is clearly seen in the often forceful debates between conservationists representing different positions.6

Initially and for the most part of the nineteenth century, the conservation movement hardly went beyond criticism of ongoing practice. Gradually, since the early twentieth century, however, modern conservation policy has had an impact in promoting an increasing concern for the preservation of historic materials and the consequent methods of survey, scientific studies, guidelines and standards for practice, as well as the development of a variety of techniques required for maintenance, cleaning, consolidation and conservative repair.

The historic city of Split is an example of the modern development of a consistent methodology for the conservation and restoration of a historic urban ensemble. The core of the town was built within the ancient imperial palace of Diocletian, and today forms an example of a living ensemble with exceptionally rich historical stratigraphy. Previously, in the nineteenth century, restoration was carried out in the spirit of classicist purification, stressing the importance of Diocletian's palace, and leading to the demolition of later structures. At the end of the century, 'romantic attitude' prevailed, and when the bell tower was renewed its Gothic-Renaissance top was rebuilt in the style of Romanesque Revival (1882-1908). Systematic excavations of the substructures of the palace started in 1946. A department for the built heritage was established within the Town Planning Institute of Dalmatia in 1955, and the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Property of Split was created in 1961. These two institutes worked to integrate research and heritage protection in the process of rehabilitation of the historic city, which was included on the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 1979. The work entailed special attention to architectural surveys and a thorough study to define the original state and the spatial evolution of the historic ensemble, and also in order to reveal hidden values as a basis for protection and rehabilitation. The entire historic core of Split was recorded in the years 1967 to 1978, and further research was carried out through on-site analyses, the study of historic documents and the examination of the factors having influenced the urban and architectural development of the city. This study allowed the systematic presentation of the different phases of the palace and the town since their origin (Marasovic and Jokilehto, 1994:II; Marasovic, 1997).

During the execution of field projects, it became evident that there was a need for systematic training to ensure the required skills, as well as a necessity to provide funds in the long term in order to guarantee continuity of work and employment. While respecting the overall historical stratigraphy, the projects included interventions in specific spots, such as the rehabilitation of underground spaces for cultural and commercial activities, re-establishment of the connection from the Peristyle to the sea front, presentation of ancient ruins in the core area, and the restoration of selected historic buildings. Historical stratigraphy is typically manifest in the palace of the Grisogono and Cipci families, the first town hall of Split, in the Peristyle, with Roman and mediaeval structures, and an upper floor in the early Renaissance style, later transformed to allow for more space in the attic. The restoration, under the direction of Jerko Marasovic, consisted of the recomposition of the Renaissance aspect of the upper floor through the anastylosis of original fragments rediscovered on the site and their partial reintegration in new material.

Some of the questions related to the debate about historical authenticity and traditional continuity can be exemplified in the restoration of the old wooden church of Sodankyla in Finnish Lapland. Built in 1689 as a simple log construction (13.5 X 8.5 m), it was provided with external panelling in the eighteenth century, when also the roof was renewed in wooden shingles. From 1859 the church was abandoned, but became subject to protection in the early twentieth century. In the restorations of 1926 and 1950 the exterior was rebuilt in wood using modern industrial techniques, but these did not give satisfactory results. While the structure and the interior were still in relatively good condition, the exterior of the church required another intervention in 1993-5. Being one of the oldest and best preserved examples of construction techniques

Figure 10.5 Historic phases in the transformation of the house of Cipci in the Peristyle of Diocletian's Palace in Split. The last phase shows the restoration of the house in the 1980s. (Drawing by J. Marasovic)
Figure 10-6 The eighteenth-century church in Sodankyla, Finland, after restoration in the 1990s with new weather boarding and roof in wooden shingles in the traditional manner. (National Board of Antiquities, Lauri Yli-Tepsa)

that had been in use since the Middle Ages, the decision was to rebuild the exterior using the same type of traditional technology. Such traditions had been discontinued at the end of the nineteenth century, but were 'relearnt' and revived for the restoration. the new, manually split wooden planks for the walls and the hand-cut wooden shingles for the roof respected the patterns of the eighteenth century. The three flag poles, previously lost, were rebuilt on the roof on the basis of documentary evidence. The parts added in the twentieth-century restorations were removed, but care was taken to respect earlier changes. At the conclusion of the works, the question was raised about authenticity, and according to Maija Kairamo. 'Sodankyla church can be understood as a contemporary interpretation of the principles of the Venice Charter. The ageing process of the whole will continue in a traditional way. This is, in my opinion, authenticity' (Kairamo, 1996.51). The question in this certainly well-managed restoration project is, however, how to distinguish between the concept of 'genuine' related to historicity, and the meaning of revived traditions or traditional continuity in relation to modern restoration.

Notwithstanding international recommendations and official policy statements, the general tendency in the field, especially regarding public buildings, has been towards stylistic restoration. This may have been partly inspired by an increased confidence acquired through learning in the history of art and architecture, and by the availability of traditional know-how and skills. Moreover, rebuilding of lost parts is facilitated when the original structural systems and methods of construction have been based on clearly established modular patterns; this is the case in classical buildings and in Oriental temples and shrines.

Figure 10.7 The main portal and ribbed dome of Gur-i Amir mosque (1404) in Samarkand were restored on the occasion of Timur's Jubilee in 1996. Like this mosque, which contains Timur's tomb, many of the historic monuments of Samarkand have been isolated from the urban fabric that used to surround them

Figure 10.7 The main portal and ribbed dome of Gur-i Amir mosque (1404) in Samarkand were restored on the occasion of Timur's Jubilee in 1996. Like this mosque, which contains Timur's tomb, many of the historic monuments of Samarkand have been isolated from the urban fabric that used to surround them

The issue of 'national monuments' is often loaded with political values, and can be conceived as a question of national pride. Such values can provoke reconstruction and stylistic restoration of desired features of the monument, and the elimination and destruction of others that are contrary to political goals. As a result of regained independence in 1992, for example, the authorities of Uzbekistan granted ancient Timurid monuments added value and increased political significance. In the Soviet period, the monuments had already been isolated by demolishing the surrounding urban fabric, but restorations had mostly been limited, generally reflecting the principles of the Venice Charter: the new parts were mostly made in simplified forms without attempting to reproduce the original colour schemes (see Figure 8.12). Due to the independence, a decision was taken to rebuild several of the fourteenth- to seventeenth-century mosques and shrines of Samarkand which had been in ruins since the nineteenth century. The work was based on reinforced concrete structures covered with traditional bricks and tiles.

The same question is relative to some of the major archaeological sites in Europe and the Mediterranean, as well as in other regions of the world; the examples include the reconstruction of the ruins of Babylon in Iraq and the remains of the ancient city of Chan Chan in Peru. Such reconstruction trends can easily be connected with tourism, and are often justi-

Figure 10.8 Reconstruction of Bibi Khanum mosque in Samarkand, in 1997, using reinforced concrete for the structure and traditionally produced bricks and tiles for the surface. New glaze differs from the old in quality and for its slightly lighter tonality

Figure 10-10 Stoa of Attalos, Athens. the large-scale reconstruction is out of balance in the context of an otherwise shallow ruined landscape

Figure 10-9 Reconstruction of the architectural remains of Babylon, Iraq, photographed in 1978. The work has since continued extensively on the site

Figure 10-10 Stoa of Attalos, Athens. the large-scale reconstruction is out of balance in the context of an otherwise shallow ruined landscape fied due to 'didactic' values, and with the aim to 'have something to show to visitors'. If the reconstruction of monuments is not carefully controlled, instead of conserving the historicity of an ancient site according to the intent of the Venice Charter, the results risk becoming kitsch. Another problem of extensive reconstruction on archaeological sites is that, like in the case of the Stoa of Attalos in Athens, it tends to stand out of the context of shallow ruins; instead of facilitating the interpretation of the site, the new construction easily upsets the relationship of a single monument with its historical context.

In the example of the archaeological site of the former imperial palace of Nara, the authorities have wisely prepared a long-term excavation programme - thus allowing future generations the possibility to 'visit' virgin ground for purposes of study, and to use, if possible, more advanced techniques of examination and diagnosis. The site has a variety of examples of different systems of presentation, such as keeping the original fragments underground and preparing synthetic casts to show to visitors, or presenting the original structures under a shelter. At the same time,

some selected historic structures are being rebuilt, including examples of palaces, houses, shrines or gates, and this is done mainly for touristic purposes - in order to demonstrate the former aspect of such buildings, and to provide more buildings above ground in the otherwise relatively 'flat' area. The question in the case of such reconstruction effort is related, once again, not only to the justification of the single structure, but to the overall balance in the presentation of the site, which should be allowed to retain its historical integrity.

The issues pertinent to the treatment of ruins have been articulated by Hartwig Schmidt who has taken into account the following situations. conservation of fragmented remains, restoration of standing ruins, and reconstruction of destroyed or excavated structures. He has divided the cases as. intellectual ruins, natural ruins and objective ruins. In the first case, the

'intellectual ruins, the policy of presentation relies on the intellectual capacity of the visitor to comprehend the significance and the history of the site, and to make the site intelligible by doing the minimum necessary. The presentation of existing fragments would be done with the help of modern structures, without pretending real reconstruction. The idea is also to document the destruction process as a component for reflections stimulated by the fragmented state (e.g., the arbitrary compositions of fragments in Ephesus). The concept of 'natural ruins' refers to the use of ruined features as elements in an English-type landscape garden. Sometimes, the aim of presentation is to design and build credible-looking 'ruins' in picturesque settings. This is done using original fragments supported and harmonized with modern structures and reintegrations, such as the ruined temples of Aegina and Bassae, or the structures created in central-European garden layouts, e.g.,

Figure 10.13 The front elevation of the Celsus Library, Ephesus, was rebuilt in order to create an architectural space at the end of the main road in the 1980s. Such 'objective ruins' are based on archaeological research

Schwetzingen. The presentation of 'objective ruins is based on confidence in the objectivity of science and anastylosis, and it often results in new spatial compositions within the landscape of partially reconstructed remains. The ruins themselves tend to cease being 'ruined', and rather become new constructions reflecting contemporary aesthetic perceptions, e.g., the Celsus library of Ephesus, the marble courtyard of the Gymnasium of Sardes (examples are given in Schmidt, 1993:43-57; Segarra, 1997).

The British practice in presenting archaeological sites developed from the early interest in picturesque ruins and from the policies of the conservation movement. It was recognized that the presentation of different types of structures had different problems; for example, sites representing the Iron Age and the Roman period compared to mediaeval sites. Earthworks, such as hillforts, were considered best to leave undisturbed, while the standing remains of mediaeval abbeys required substantial works for their intelligible presentation. In any case, there was a need for a systematic approach starting from the research and excavation of the site, identification of its historical stratigraphy and the present state, and proceeding to conservation, consolidation and interpretation. The general policy was to preserve all layers of history, and to help the visitor identify the meaning of each element in relation to the whole. The principle was to avoid reconstruction, and to hide technical intervention in order not to spoil the picturesque effect of the ruins. If modern structures were needed, e.g., for visitor access, safety and services, these were designed as unobtrusive and modern in aspect. A typical feature of the British practice has been the use of neatly-cut lawns representing lost floor surfaces - although obviously not necessarily recommendable for all contexts. The presentation of the original remains on the site itself was completed with museum exhibits in reception areas (Thompson, 1981).

There is perhaps no absolute priority to be given to one or the other of these approaches as the decision will depend on the critical

Figure 10-14 Fountains Abbey, England. these 'natural ruins' are an integral part of the eighteenth-century landscape garden

assessment of each case in relation to value perceptions. It is also worth remembering that Brandi was convinced that the restoration of the remains of a work of art, such as a ruined, ancient temple, required the same critical process as the restoration of any work of art. Each case should be taken for its own merits, and not as a question of principle. He was, therefore, critical of the indiscriminate use of the so-called 'archaeological restoration' principles, where the purpose would simply be to guarantee the presentation of existing fragments to visitors. If there was something to safeguard of the potential unity of a work of art, this should be done. On the other hand, he defended the ruins of Selinunte in Sicily for their historical and suggestive value as ruins, and the impossibility of a rigorous anastylosis in this case. The important issue is that 'conservation principles' or 'conservation ethics' will not replace the critical approach required by modern conservation; in this context conservation theory is to be understood as a systematic description of the required critical process - not as a 'working hypothesis'.

Architects are generally expected to leave a mark of their creativity on the building where they work, although when dealing with a historic structure the principle has been to prefer being humble and respectful instead. This approach has not been necessarily accepted unanimously, and the on-going

Figure 10.15 Toronto harbour front; an example of rehabilitation of former industrial areas in commercial and cultural activities

debates clearly show conflicting positions in this regard. To take some Italian theorists as an example, Renato Bonelli defined restoration 'a critical process and then a creative act'; Brandi considered all our approaches to the past to be 'restoration', but accepted new creative additions of quality; De Angelis d'Ossat did not exclude 'innovation' from the historical context - except that it should not be confused with 'restoration'. Marco Dezzi Bardeschi has insisted on the total preservation of all historical materials and their aged appearance. Paolo Marconi, instead, has opted for the use of traditional forms and technology in the completion and reintegration of lost parts of historic structures, sustained by careful study and understanding of building traditions, documented in the buildings themselves, and sustained by relevant building manuals (Marconi, 1992).

The policies have had a tendency to develop on two main lines, generally characterized by 'pure conservation' and 'restoration'; in Italy the first is represented by Dezzi Bardeschi, the second by Marconi. In most countries, there have been similar debates as, for example, in Great Britain. The general emphasis, however, has varied from country to country; e.g., Italians have been more inclined toward 'conservation', while the preference in France has been toward 'restoration'. This has been documented by a variety of publications, including examples of recycling, rehabilitating and converting historic buildings to new uses. In many cases, although dealing with historic ensembles, such conversions have not necessarily aimed at restoration. The problem would not be raised, if such existing structures were not conceived of as historical, and therefore requiring the necessary critical process and the identification of their significance. Projects have included rehabilitation of old barns into residences, coffee shops, offices or exhibition rooms, old castles into visitor centres or hotels, former harbour areas into commercial and cultural centres (e.g., New York, Toronto), desecrated churches into concert halls, residential apartments or offices. In cold climate countries the 1980s trend has been to transform existing urban street spaces or courtyards into covered malls, or building historic city or village centres into pedestrianized shopping areas (Fitch, 1982; Strike, 1994).

One of the most disconcerting and diffused phenomena in the second half of the twentieth century has been the all too frequent choice of 'fagadism'. This is often falsely justified on the grounds of economics vs. architectural or picturesque values; it is often accepted as the least bad solution, and sometimes excused due to the different dates of the elevation and the interior. In practice, fagadism is expensive and has generally meant a total destruction of the historic fabric, while keeping or rebuilding only the external image of the past architecture. Looking beyond a single architectural structure, such practice has had the most serious impact on the integrity of historic cities or villages, undermining efforts to introduce integrated conservation planning at the level of settlements and cultural landscapes.

All cultural property is at risk, e.g., due to fire, flood, earthquakes, or armed conflicts; risk preparedness and appropriate documentation are an essential part of mitigation of such hazards. Moreover, the use of appropriate databases is fundamental as an instrument for planning and development of historic areas, taking into account heritage values and the relevant social-economic context. The following are a few examples of restoration approaches, identified mainly in Italy.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Italian cultural heritage was hit by several disasters including earthquakes, floods and landslides. In the autumn of 1997, these included an exceptionally long period of earthquakes hitting the regions of Umbria and Marche in Central Italy; numerous important historic towns and villages, such as Assisi and Foligno, suffered serious losses. Amongst the damaged structures was the St Francis Basilica in Assisi, where a part of the vaults collapsed, and where some important paintings by Giotto and Cimabue were severely damaged or lost. There have also been other disasters, including the collapse of the tower of Pavia in 1989, a fire in Theatre Petruzzelli in Bari 1991, bomb attacks in Florence (the Uffizi art gallery) and in Rome (San Giorgio al Velabro) in 1993, collapse of the dome of the cathedral of Noto in 1996, a fire in La Fenice in Venice in 1996, and a fire in Guarini's chapel (Cappella della Sindone) in Turin Cathedral in 1997.

In most cases, the practical decision has been to rebuild the destroyed structure, but at the same time there has been a growing concern for a need to strengthen prevention. Furthermore, the events have been followed by a debate with strong arguments in favour of opposite approaches, related to philosophical issues concerning the significance and authenticity of what remains or is restored. In the case of the collapsed portico of San Giorgio al Velabro, the Italian government

Figure 10.16 Instead of destroying the mediaeval wall that concealed the ancient Roman site in Tarragona, Spain, architect A. Bruno provided an access to restored Roman remains by making a vertical cut through the wall — as if opening the book of history. (A. Bruno, 1987-94)

opted for the reconstruction and anastylosis using all surviving fragments, not without some criticism from conservationists who were concerned that there was too little debate about the choice, and that the result pretended to be too perfect (Ava^Ke, V). In the case of La Fenice, the external walls remained standing while the interior was totally destroyed. In the debate, conservation professionals generally firmly supported a solution that would respect the place but would also be an expression of 'our time'. The authorities and the general public of Venice, instead, seemed to be mostly in favour of a replica (come'era e dov'era) (Ava^Ke XIII, 1997).7 Other countries have had similar experiences. In Vienna a part

Figure 10.17 The rehabilitation of the Vauban fort of Nimes from prison into university by A. Bruno was achieved connecting this almost impenetrable structure through new arteries with the surrounding urban context. The idea was to keep the memory of its past, and give it new life. (A. Bruno, 1991)

Figure 10.17 The rehabilitation of the Vauban fort of Nimes from prison into university by A. Bruno was achieved connecting this almost impenetrable structure through new arteries with the surrounding urban context. The idea was to keep the memory of its past, and give it new life. (A. Bruno, 1991)

of the palace of Schonbrunn was rebuilt in the earlier form, with modern interpretation of lost decorative features, under the direction of Manfred Wehdorn in the 1990s. In the same period, in England, the burnt part of Windsor Castle was reconstructed, and in Sweden Ove Hidemark completed the reconstruction of the Katarina Church in Stockholm after a fire, using traditional technology.

An artist such as Carlo Scarpa could take a historic building as a resource for modern architecture; this did not mean ignoring the historic identity, but rather integrating selected historical strata as essential components in the attempt to 'increase tension' between the new and the old in modern design. An example of this was his project for the Castelvecchio Museum in Verona (1953-65); here, he was inspired to design a museum function and generate a new monumental value to an ensemble where the historical components were balanced to form a 'polyphonic' composition, a new work of art and architecture (Rab, 1997:139).

Another modern architect, Andrea Bruno, from Turin, working in the Mediterranean region, especially in Italy, France, Spain, Cyprus, but also in Afghanistan, has stressed the role of historic buildings in carrying a memory of 'the rational and imaginary thoughts of those who came before us, in order to deliver them in all their authenticity to the future' (Mastropietro, 1996:15). In his practice, Bruno has challenged conventional notions, animating and regenerating thoughts about the meaning of historic layers and the spirit of a place, as well as what our interventions should be in such a continuity; this was the essence of the site museum of Màa in Cyprus (1987). His approach to historic structures has involved respect for the significance of existing fabric, while designing additions in modern forms and materials, as in the museum of modern art in the Castle of Rivoli, near Turin (1967-84). This respect has found different forms, though, often bestowing a new significance to the historical structure according to the needs of modern use. In the case of Tarragona, in Spain, instead of demolishing the mediaeval wall (as was proposed), Bruno introduced a narrow vertical cut through it as if entering a book to read the Roman strata that had been discovered behind (1987-94). In Vauban Fort in Nîmes he inverted the relationship of a closed military defence into a university inviting learners and the public to enter (1991-6). In Afghanistan, however, he made use of prevailing traditional technology to repair the historic structures of Herat (1974-80) (Mastropietro, 1996).

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