What is Architectural Conservation?

Architectural conservation is a field which is important to society because it embraces the preservation of historical objects deemed to be significant to the cultural heritage of a society. If there were no architectural conservation movement, a great many outstanding objects from the past would literally waste away because they were exposed to the elements, and allowed to deteriorate.

People involved with architectural conservation are generally extremely well trained in all the modern methods which are used to preserve the integrity of artworks, and in some cases to help restore them to their original condition, or something very close to it. In this way, pieces of historical significance can be preserved and passed on for the enjoyment of modern-day citizens, as well as many more in the future.

What is Architectural Conservation?

Architectural conservation is a process wherein objects of cultural significance are maintained and prevented from being damaged through carefully planned projects which are designed to either conserve or restore them. It often takes the efforts of an entire team of individuals who are familiar with the objects to be worked upon, and this team will collectively decide on the best course of action for an individual piece.

Usually that decision is based on artistic as well as contextual values, and in some cases, it might even be decided that no intervention at all is the best course of action. In reaching a decision on a course of action, the conservation architect and the entire team will generally consider all those issues which are pertinent to prolonging the life and preserving the character of an object.

Factors which come into play are the form and style of the piece, the materials it has been produced from, and how they would react to intervention, and how modern methods can be applied to preservation of the piece. In a broader sense, architectural conservation refers to societal policy for identifying and assigning value to cultural resources having historical significance.

At times, it may even take in the need to create laws or regulations which will protect historical treasures, and to produce policies or plans of management so these objects can be protected indefinitely, and so the public can be educated about them. Architectural conservation professionals serve a very valuable and useful role in society by helping to conserve treasures of the past, so that individuals in the present and the future can continue to appreciate them.

Why is it Important?

The biggest reason why architectural conservation is significant in today’s world is that it provides the best method for retaining the heritage and history of a culture, and without it, much of that heritage and history would be lost to the ravages of time. In a sense, it is an environmental issue, since it reduces the requirement for new materials, and in the case of buildings, it also lowers or eliminates the cost of demolition.

In such cases, it is far more practical to make slight modifications to building materials and structural design so that a building can meet modern codes and standards, rather than to tear it down entirely. In addition to retaining historic value in a given object, conservation also increases the economic value of that object. Environmentally speaking, it allows for the reuse of infrastructure rather than the implementation of all new infrastructure which could be costly and very time-consuming.

This results in an all-around savings in the areas of material, money, and energy, so architectural conservation has a definite environmental aspect to it. There are four general reasons why architectural converse conservation is so important to society. The first of these is that it preserves objects of significance by repairing existing components of that object as needed.

Secondly, whenever any alterations or additions are necessary for its rehabilitation, these can be carefully planned and implemented. When necessary, a program of restoration can be undertaken, so that objects can be brought to a state close to their original condition. Finally, the last major reason why architectural conservation is so important in modern society is that it will also provide a vehicle for complete reconstruction.

Sometimes that is deemed to be the most appropriate course of action for continuing an object of significance. In 1996, the US Congress recognized the importance of conservation practices, and passed the National Historic Preservation Act which declared its intention to support the idea of conservation as a critical component to national heritage.

What is the Difference between Conservation and Restoration?

You may have heard the two terms restoration and conservation used interchangeably in artistic circles. However, there is a slight difference between the two practices, and the difference lies in their two different approaches to preserving objects of historical significance. Conservation seeks to apply techniques which will document and stabilize a piece of artwork, so as to prevent any further deterioration of it, and to help resist ongoing damage which might be done.

Any methods undertaken in conservation will be planned so that they don’t interfere with the nature of the object’s construction materials, and will not interfere with any future interventions which might be deemed necessary. Art restoration on the other hand, can be thought of as a more invasive process, and it seeks to restore an object to something close to its original condition. This will often cause historical markers of object usage to be removed entirely, and it’s quite possible that original materials might be altered or replaced in the process of restoration.

Hire a Professional Architectural Conservation Firm

Finding a team of art conservation specialists is not an easy task, and the process can only be entrusted to a group which has a keen sense of the value of historic objects. If you are involved with a movement to conserve or restore certain pieces of artwork, and you require the services of expert conservators, you can do no better than to consult with the art restoration experts at BR Howard Conservation.

Our specialists are highly trained in all the modern techniques for conservation and restoration of important pieces of art. Contact us today to discuss whatever project you’re involved with, and we can describe to you how our team might be a good fit for the project. We have a great deal of experience with the restoration of sculptures, the preservation of artifacts and historic vehicles, and even with the repair of textiles.


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