Planning and building in historic context – Conservation

Planning and building within the historic context is becoming an increasingly relevant concern in a society that is becoming aware of its limited resources. A profound education in this field is becoming more and more important, based on the knowledge that career opportunities for future architects will be related to existing buildings and their reuse much more than until now. Sustainable urban development and planning require different answers from architects than solely new buildings.

Historic buildings are amongst our society’s limited resources. Listed monuments represent only a small share of these (approximately 3%), but serve as essential links to our past and help to sensually experience history on an immediate level. Directly opposing our increasingly virtual perception, historic buildings serve as original and authentic values, aged in dignity.

A simple recipe for the preservation of a monument does not exist. Instead, there are theoretical principles, which allow several solutions to a problem. Every building has its own history, and every project its specific requirements for the architect. To solve these, he must consult the community of specialists: preservationists, researchers, restorers, scientists, engineers and of course specialized expert craftsmen, who will realize the restoration or renovation. The architect keeps the responsibility for the artistic, organizational and economic execution of the building project. To conduct these steps professionally, specific qualifications and skills are required beyond the standard knowledge:

  • Education in architectural history,
  • Methods of Architectural Documentation and Analysis,
  • Evaluation criteria for historic construction and materials,
  • Methods of repair and restoration, technical construction knowledge,

and certainly affection towards historic buildings, respect for the aged, and a critical ability to reflect on one’s own works.