Posts tagged with "Conservation":
The Palace of Westminster, which was rebuilt following the destruction of the original medieval building in 1834, is home to the U.K.’s parliamentary proceedings in London. A UNESCO world heritage site, the palace is in a constant state of renovation and preservation. As one can guess, cleaning the premises is a quite a task, though much of the dirt, grime, and dust amassed over the decades has either been long since been swept away, forgotten, or left dormant.
In light of this, Spanish artist, architect, and conservationist Jorge Otero-Pailos has his eyes set on retaining some of Westminster's dirty history (interpret that metaphorically as you please). Open until September 1st at the Houses of Parliament is The Ethics of Dust. A nod to John Ruskin’s 1866 publication by the same name, the site-specific installation is located in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the complex. An admirer of Gothic architecture, Ruskin pioneered the movement for architecture conservation and warned of the damage pollution could do, but also the damage that could be done if cleaning was to be carried out.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqv5_pCCS-U
Now, however, more sophisticated cleaning tools are available, and Otero-Pailos has been able to carry out his work. Latex was sprayed onto the building's wall then delicately peeled off to lift the dirt finally cleaning the wall that Ruskin had coined, “that golden stain of time.” A translucent recreation of the hall's internal east wall, the 164-foot-long sheet holds hundreds of years of surface pollution and dust with remnants from the Great Stink of 1858 to WWII; the smog of 1952 and beyond.
The project was commissioned by art U.K. producers Artangel and hangs from a hammerbeam roof 91 feet above. Backlighting and natural illumination from the Palace's grand windows allows visitors to inspect all the dirt that has been collected from the wall in fine detail. During this process, Otero-Pailos worked alongside Parliament’s official restoration and stone cleaning project for more than five years, such was the extent of the dirt residue.
Late last year, The Architect's Newspaper reported that Allies and Morrison, BDP, HOK and Foster+Partners had been shortlisted among a group of nine firms for a major refurbishment project at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London. You can read more about The Ethics of Dust here.
Using marble donated from Egypt, 3D modeling tools, and photographs of the original Roman arch, the Arch of Triumph has been reconstructed in London's Trafalgar Square. Here it resided for only 3 days before touring the world, due in New York this September. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bq4_-iBCqp8 The Arch's restoration, however, has sparked a debate on whether we should restore such monuments. "History would never forgive us" writes Jonathan Jones in the Guardian, who says that ISIS's destruction should remain as a reminder of the horror they inflicted on the city and the Middle East. The Arch has also been hailed as "unethical" and a "reconstruction of 'Disneyland' archaeology." Indeed, it is worth noting that few people were aware of Palmyra before ISIS stormed in and 'put it on the map' so to speak (albeit in the most sinister of fashion). Michel, on the other hand, argues "Monuments—as embodiments of history, religion, art, and science—are significant and complex repositories of cultural narratives. No one should consider for one second giving terrorists the power to delete such objects from our collective cultural record." He also adds: “No one would have seriously considered leaving London in ruins after the blitz." Jones, however, counters that "Palmyra was in ruins before ISIS occupied it and it is still in ruins today." Yet the Palmyra ruins, before ISIS came along, were already a World Heritage Site. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Auxr7QozFxE With regards to Michel’s comment on the Blitz, the Marshall plan aided London and other major cities, however, the world didn’t donate to Brest, Dresden, Coventry, and Croydon when they were bombed. Admittedly, these cities all belonged to world powers, but historical buildings nonetheless were still lost. What’s interesting in Britain is how post-war architecture is now cherished, with many brutalist structures being nationally listed. The case of Coventry and its Cathedral is a poignant example. Such was the decimation of the city that Luftwaffe coined the phrased “to coventrate." As a result, the city’s 14th Century cathedral was blown out, but its successor, built by Basil Spence and Arup is now a Grade 1 Listed Building — the highest level of protection grantable. Here, a new history has been born. But should Palmyra be awarded the same respect? Or does the age of its ancient ruins nullify this?
Further reflections on our time at the Registan in Samarkand. What an amazing collection of madrasah and domes! Postcard (4 of 10) available at our upcoming lecture. #Uzbekistan #samarkand #centralasia #theregistan #registan #registansquare #muqarnas #colorful #tiles #mosaic #tilework #geometry #geometric #tiling #portal #courtyard #travel #travelgram #adventures #projectagama A photo posted by project_agama (@projectagama) on
“This process will both create a record of these works for future generations as well as allow them to be translated into something completely modern and malleable,” the team say on their website. Their approach is arguably much less intrusive than what is being exhibited in Palmyra, however, as a project in progress, its effectiveness remains to be seen.Speaking specifically about the Palmyra Arch of Triumph replica erected at Trafalgar Square, Stefan Simon hinted at the emergence of a new industrial era. "This ties into a challenge we all are facing—the 4th industrial revolution, the new digital age, providing us with both opportunities and challenges," he said. "3D documentation will help us tremendously in conservation, but the discussion on 3D-recreations however, for me, this is interesting more as a process, not so much as a product. This is just a replica, has nothing to do with what shall happen at the site," Simon commented. "That is a very personal view. I understand it has tremendous potential, for sure, and there are many groups and consortia who are working to document cultural heritage, movable and immovable, in Syria and elsewhere. For example, together with ICOMOS and the California NGO CyArk, we collaborate at Yale IPCH with the Syrian DGAM in the Anqa Project on documenting architectural monuments and sites and providing open access to these data for scholars and global community." Further dilemmas though continue to be raised, which Simon addresses. "What do you do with this digitally-born data? How do you preserve that, make sure it doesn't disappear or the media become obsolete?" Simon asked. "We [conservation professionals], many of us material-focused people, we tend to largely underestimate the challenges linked to the 3D era. I see this virtual world, the 3D recording of sites positively , but we shouldn't mix that up with the conservation of a site. It isn't the same."
The case for conservation, it seems, will always be a source of debate. Though as architecture critic Jonathan Glancey notes in his book, aptly titled Lost Buildings, “Throughout history humankind has made something of a habit of losing buildings as if these were nothing more substantial than copper coin, a hairpin or set of car keys. Even with our greatest and most celebrated monuments we have been, to say the least, careless.”
Perhaps then, it is best we try our best not to add this growing list of deceased buildings. The Palmyra Arch of Triumph "MkII" will eventually make its way to the city after its globetrotting adventure. However, there it will reside only a stones throw away from its 'original' location. Whether it stands as part of a "new" history for Palmyra, or merely fades into its original past, only time will tell.