23 Jun 2016
Our historic structures are inherently resilient architectural survivors, responding effectively to social, economic and political change. It is commonly said that they were built to last, and do not conform to current, relatively low expectations for durability and notional design life.
Traditional materials and technologies for fabric repair or building design have been shown to have environmental benefits, represent a low risk and are highly durable when used with robust detailing and maintenance. There is much that can still be learnt from these, as Ivor McElveen’s article in this issue of the Building Conservation Journal shows. He discusses the use of lime and the resurgence of hot-mix mortars in conservation, as well as an ongoing research project.
But all buildings deteriorate, including historic structures, and this issue also features Chris McCollum and Kenny Moore’s account of the technical, philosophical and practical stages involved in the conservation of an historic stone obelisk in Northern Ireland. Looking to the future, it is important to sustain the skills that Ivor, Chris and Kenny write about, and Alan Forster’s piece on the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings’ Lethaby Scholarship shows why in-depth understanding of traditional methods and materials is vital for good conservation – building surveyors are encouraged to apply for this opportunity. Meanwhile, our regular update page provides the latest on legislation, research and certification.
As always in the conservation sector, we must think ahead while still looking back.
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