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Definitions And Concepts Heritage Buildings Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 5434 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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This Chapter provides some definitions and concepts concerning the heritage building conservation. It outlines previous researches related to objectives of this research. In addition, the Chapter summarises past researches conducted on the heritage buildings of the old city of Ghadames, world heritage site, Libya. Theory of conservation, laws and international legislations, and international organisations that have an interest with heritage buildings are also discussed in this Chapter.

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2.2 Definitions and Concepts

2.2.1 Heritage Buildings

Heritage buildings are defined as those which are old and significant either in terms of architecture or of history (Chien, 1992). Heritage buildings are also defined as existing buildings with significant cultural value to society (CIB Commission, 2010). Feilden, (1994) defines heritage building in his book, Conservation of historic buildings, that building which gives us a feeling of admiration and make us need to know more about the people who lived in this building and their culture as well as knowing it’s beautiful, historic, archaeological, economic, social, and political value.

At the beginning of last century and after signing the Venice charter in 1964 for architectural conservation, the heritage building concept has been extended to include all buildings that have architectural value and cultural. The architectural conservation concept has also been extended. It has not been limited on archaeological landmarks and religious and palaces as was in the past; but according to Itma (2007), the buildings that should be conserved have been divided into two main types:

1. Monuments: They are important buildings correlated with a collective humanitarian value on international, regional, or denominational religious level, and to conserve them, their original case must be retained without any change, this can be applied only to archaeology and some distinctive architectural buildings such as the Dome of the Rock – Jerusalem (Kobbat Assakhra- Kodos) in Palestine and Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

2. Documentary buildings: They are considered as documentation for historic phases of a heritage area. In general they have less historic value than the previous buildings due to their availability in several areas around the world. They usually are found in heritage centres for old cities and towns.

According to UNESCO World Heritage Website, (30 December 2012), UNESCO’s Convention related to the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972) has defined and classified cultural heritage as follows:

Monuments: architectural works, works of monumental sculpture and painting, elements or structures of an archaeological nature, inscriptions, cave dwellings and combinations of features, which are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science;

Groups of buildings: groups of separate or connected buildings which, because of their architecture, their homogeneity or their place in the landscape, are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science;

Sites: works of man or the combined works of nature and man, and areas including archaeological sites which are of outstanding universal value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological point of view.

Deciding how old a building must be in order to be called “heritage” is difficult. In some places, 100 years old is heritage, while in other places, maybe 50 years old is enough. However, based on the Italian Law, Itma (2007) classified buildings as heritage buildings if their age is more than 50 years.

2.2.2 Approach of Architectural Conservation

Strategies for action are being identified in present time in the field of preservation and restoration for heritage buildings according to international standards created by UNESCO, whether through International Conventions issued by International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) or through versions of International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) and conventions issued by World Heritage Centre (WHC), where standard definitions for methods of cultural properties preservation and standards have been issued. Generally, there are seven (7) approaches in a conservation program, used individually or a combination, depend on the circumstances and objectives of a conservation project. In the following subsections, some approaches of a conservation program are explored. Conservation

Heritage building conservation can be described by many words. According to Norlizaiha Harun (2011), conservation is a technical activity towards heritage buildings. It includes physical action to preserve the fabric and construction material of the heritage buildings. It is a process to prevent decay and the action is aiming to prolong the life of the buildings. An article, Historic preservation projects can be green, by Wishkoski (2006), defines conservation as a process that preserves, protects and maintains during physical change. The International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites in its Venice Charter (1964) describes the process of conserving a historical monument as: “it implies preserving a setting which is not out of scale. Wherever the traditional setting exists, it must be kept. No new construction, demolition or modification which would alter the relations of mass and colour must be allowed.” Burra Charter Article 1.4, (1990), defines conservation as all the processes of looking after a place so as to retain its cultural significance. Preservation

Preservation is a process aiming to stop the deterioration, decay or dilapidation state. It provides structural safety and should be carried out only in such a way that evidence of the construction or use of the fabric would not be obscured (Norlizaiha Harun, 2011). According to Civic Amenities Act, (1967) as quoted by Farayune Hajjar (2008), preservation is to protect individual buildings, structures and other artefacts that were preserved because of their relation to the great figures from the nation’s heritage. Moreover, it was concerned with groups of historic buildings, townscape, and the spaces between buildings. Preservation is also concerned with limiting change, and the conservation is about the inevitability of change and the management of that change. Restoration

The Burra Charter (1999) as referred in Article 1.7, defines the restoration approach as returning the existing fabric of a place to a known earlier state by removing accretions or by reassembling existing components without the introduction of new material. The Venice Charter (1964) as referred in Article 9, defines the process of restoration as a highly specialised operation that aims to preserve and reveal the aesthetic and historic value of the monument with the main focus on respect for original materials and authentic documents. Accordingly, Restoration is the process of returning a building to its original condition at a specific time period. It should work from actual evidence, as stated in the secretary of interior’s guidelines (See Appendix C Standard no. 6) that repair or replacement of missing architectural features should be based on accurate duplications of features, substantiated by historic, physical, or pictorial evidence rather than on conjectural designs or the availability of different architectural elements from other buildings or structure. Therefore, the restoration in any case must be preceded and followed by an archaeological and historical study of the monument (Venice Charter, 1964). Reconstruction

Reconstruction Approach means the building of a historic structure using replicated design and/or materials. This approach is taken when a historic structure no longer exists but needs to be physically in place for contextual reasons. Reconstruction means also returning a place to a known earlier state and is distinguished from restoration by the introduction of new material into the fabric (Burra Charter, Article1.8, 1999). Additionally, according to Appleton Charter, (1983) reconstruction means recreation of vanished or irreversibly deteriorated resources. Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation in general means that there is a good previous case of an object, then this case has deteriorated due to certain reasons or by the passage of the time. Therefore, this object has become unfit for the modern era and needs to carry out some modifications. These modifications make this object able to continue and perform its functions again with retaining its original value. In particular, architectural rehabilitation means a series of stages of rebuilding a building to its original case to perform its old functions or a suitable new function. In other words, it means repairing and developing the building by preserving its parts and components that possess historical, architectural and cultural values during the eras in which the building has passed since its construction. This means finding a new function for the building that makes the building useful and usable, and at the same time able to continue to insure the existence of people who perform maintenance works (Itma, 2007). According to Tyler, (1994), rehabilitation describes a suitable approach when existing historic features are damaged or deteriorated but modifications can be made to update portions of the structure, even rehabilitating the building for a new purpose. When rehabilitation is chosen as the appropriate intervention technique, alterations or additions may be made, but they should not be confused with original historic elements. Maintenance

Maintenance means the continuous protective care of the fabric and setting of a place, and is to be distinguished from repair. The repair involves restoration or reconstruction (Burra Charter, Article 1.5, 1990). Maintenance can also be defined as some work focuses on retaining a property in good working condition by repairing features as soon as deterioration becomes apparent, using procedures that preserve the original character and finish of the features. In some cases, preventive maintenance is carried out before noticeable deterioration. Maintaining properties in good condition often assures that more aggressive (and expensive) measures of rehabilitation, restoration, or reconstruction are not needed at some future date (Denver Landmark Preservation Commission & Planning and Development Office, 1995). Renovation

Renovation is refurbishing and/or adding to the appearance of an original building or elements of a building in an attempt to “renew” its appearance in keeping with contemporary tastes and perceptions of conservation (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, 2008). Renovation means also to improve by repair, to revive, and thereby enhance the usefulness and appearance of the building. The basic character and significant features are respected and preserved, but some alterations may also take place. Alterations that are made are generally reversible, should future owners wish to restore the building to its original design. The words rehabilitation and renovation are often used interchangeably (Denver Landmark Preservation Commission & Planning and Development Office, 1995).

2.2.3 Conservation Guidelines

The design guidelines are prepared to assist property owners, developers, architects, and designers of projects. In other words, they are written to be used by the city planners, Landmarks Commission, architects and developers, and especially the property owners, tenants, and construction trades who may be doing work on an older or heritage building in a city (Williams & Elmer, 2010). They offer suggestions for conservation of heritage buildings and compatible new design to maintain buildings historic identity. According to Gioulis (1997), these guidelines are intended to:

Increase public awareness of the value of historic architecture and the importance of design issues.

Help reinforce the character of heritage buildings and protect their overall appearance.

Preserve the integrity of designated heritage areas.

Assist property owners and architects in making basic design decisions.

Improve the quality of development.

Protect the value of public and private investment.

2.3 Purpose of the Design Guidelines Organisation

The guidelines are to assist in making improvements to the exterior of eligible residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and agricultural heritage properties, and are not to be interpreted as bylaw requirements. According to Heritage Restoration Grant Program (2009), guidelines for building conservation have two objectives:

Ensuring the long-term stability of the building, in terms of its economic viability, structural improvements and compliance with building codes, when applicable.

Restoration and retention of the architectural features which caused the building to be originally approved for assistance.

The guidelines help protect the overall character of the heritage buildings by emphasizing preservation of architectural styles, building character, original features and streetscape elements that make up the community’s unique collection of heritage buildings. They provide background information and recommendations to help guide the appropriate conservation work and alterations to existing buildings. For additions, new construction and site work, they emphasize the compatibility of new buildings or features with existing or established historic character (Williams & Elmer, 2010).

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2.4 Assessment of the Current Level of Heritage Conservation and Building Defects

Some previous studies reviewed the conservation activities and assessed the existing conditions of heritage buildings with taking into consideration, the conditions of building defects and conservation approach used for these buildings. For example, in Malaysia S. Johar et al (2009) reviewed the conservation activities on a traditional old mosque in Malaysia. They studied the concept and importance of conservation in general, the conservation activities on heritage buildings and mosque in Malaysia, and the approaches used for conserving to preserve the Muslim’s house of worship. They found that the four key conservation principles namely minimal intervention, conducting scientific research and laboratories testing, documentation of conservation work and applying effective methods and techniques for conservation. Meanwhile for conservation program, the seven approaches are preservation, reproduction, restoration, maintenance, redevelopment, rehabilitation and consolidation. Several approaches are normally adopted for one building conservation project. What’s most important is the justification in adopting the approaches so that it complies with one of the key conservation principle, namely minimal intervention.

Other research also in Malaysia by A Ghafar Ahmad et al. (2008) highlighted the existing conditions of heritage buildings in Malaysia with the main focus on the conditions of building defects and conservation approach to these buildings. The study conducted a pilot survey on several heritage towns and cities based on the existing heritage trail in Malaysia. The broad objective of this pilot survey was to examine the level of building defects and the location of building defects that normally occur in various types of historical buildings in Malaysia. At the same time, it also looked into the conservation approaches that has been done to these heritage buildings either the method are acceptable according to the basic principles and philosophy of building conservation. The study found that Malaysia faces several problems in dealing with the issues of heritage buildings.

In addition, Hashimah Ismail & Shuhana Shamsuddin (2005) highlighted the qualities that support the old shophouses as part of Malaysian heritage. They examined these qualities from two broad aspects, namely contribution to urban form and aesthetic aspects. They sought to highlight the strength of the old shophouses and the impending factors that threaten the continuous presence of these heritages building Malaysian town. The findings indicate that the practice of conserving the old shophouses is still not effective. A more effective measure in preserving the old shop houses needs to be undertaken.

A research by Alattar, (2010), investigated a number of issues involved in the conservation process of the urban heritage of central Baghdad, which encompasses a unique collection of urban forms that belong to different phases of Baghdad’s history. Her study of the conservation efforts in this area revealed the appreciation of the built heritage and the will to maintain them. On the other hand, it disclosed the uncertainty of the strategies and tools utilised in the conservation process.

Itma (2007) presented the situations of conservation projects in Palestine especially in the city of Nablus, by shedding light on the local institutions of labour in the domain of architectural conservation, and their important projects since the agreement of Oslo until 2007. He proved that there was not a complete or an extensive project of conservation in the old city of Nablus, during the mentioned period, but only small projects of maintaining and optimizing the old destroyed buildings. In addition, there was a very limited number of conservation projects conducted on some important heritage buildings in the old city of Nablus, Palestine.

Mokadi (2008) highlighted the architectural and physical fabric of the throne villages in Palestine. The study attempted to study the historical centre of Deir Estia as a case study for the throne villages. That is to say, the study attempted to highlight the aspects of shortage and suffering, recent attempts of development, focusing on the available factors that can support establishing a tourism track which can cooperate in keeping the centre and enhancing the economic level, and to achieve building a strategy of developing that area. The study found that the throne is now facing rapid change of its physical fabric as a result of political, economic, social, and planning factors, in addition to the shortage of awareness level for the Palestinian character and values.

Swilem (2008) aimed at keeping on the sustainability of the popular markets and conserve them as an economical cultural and tourist aspect. Her research attempted also to find solutions to the current market problems as well as to motivate investment in the popular markets through creating job opportunities and investment opportunities. She found that the traditional streets suffer from some problems. To overcome on these problems, the researcher suggested some strategies and policies to achieve sustainable development for the traditional streets.

2.5 Conservation Guidelines of Heritage Buildings

Conservation guidelines for developing and utilizing heritage building must be created to protect these buildings from random works that influencing the historic value of a heritage building. Preparation of the conservation guidelines helps guide the development of heritage area as well as the development of heritage buildings and lots located within a heritage area. At the same time, these guidelines guide the conservation of this underutilized area into one of vibrant urban destinations. The guidelines direct development of the site; chiefly its public places, individual buildings and lots. This controls the utilization of heritage and new buildings for uses that will conserve as well as indirectly preserve the area and its heritage buildings.

Several previous studies established conservation guidelines of heritage buildings. Alattar, (2010), explored the references for heritage understanding other than the physical structure, including culture, history, and traditions. The researcher tried to promote the awareness of all heritage aspects, and developed guidelines for a strategy that considers all active elements of the historical experience and provided a sustainable framework for future conservation plans for heritage buildings in Baghdad.

Farayune (2008) provided the design guidelines of conservation Jakarta Kota as a heritage area, which improves and enhances the physical element and environment facilities. It is also in the revival Jakarta heritage area to become attractive place and tourism place in Jakarta. The design guidelines were based on the survey and analysis of the study area. The study found that conservation of Jakarta Kota was not only about conservation and preservation of the heritage building, but also about some aspects that need to be put on focus such as social, economic, culture, people activities and environmental facilities. These things can encourage the Jakarta Kota Area to be liveable.

Abu-Hantash N. A. (2007) investigated the issue of adaptation of traditional residential buildings to contemporary needs. Her study was an attempt towards the development of a general policy for conservation and adaptation of traditional residential buildings in the heritage centre of Palestinian cities. The study demonstrated the high potentiality of the traditional house to satisfy the contemporary needs of its inhabitants. In addition, the research revealed that the modification needed varies from one building to another and are to be determined according to the building value and the level of intervention it allows. The research outlined a general policy and guidelines for housing conservation that could be applied to other heritage cities in Palestinian. In addition, Rabba I. H. (2004) examined the present reality of Dhahrieh old town by documenting its heritage monument and diagnosed the old town’s problems and difficulties, in order to identify policies to safeguard its historical heritage. He concluded a set of policies, guidelines and suggestions to conserve the old town of Dhahrieh, Palestine.

2.6 Benefits of Conservation of Heritage Buildings

Conservation of heritage buildings can generate social, economic and environmental benefits that reach far beyond the virtues of conserving a legacy for future generations. Investment in heritage properties conservation can, for instance, boost property values and tax revenues, create local jobs and skills, attract new businesses, and promote tourism (Municipal Heritage Partnership Program, 2012). The incorporation of many abandoned heritage buildings in the redevelopment process presents numerous advantages. The benefits of conservation of heritage buildings can be classified under three main topics: environmental, social, and economic (Stas, 2007).

2.6.1 Economic Benefits

Conservation of heritage buildings generates economical benefits (economical returns). It represents a good way for national economic development across tourism (Itma, 2007). Conservation of a heritage building is more economic than its demolition or its rebuilding. Several economic impact studies discussed if heritage conservation yields significant benefits to the economy. In other words, these studies ask the question, “Is heritage conservation considered as an economic development tool?” A significant number of these studies have been undertaken across the U.S., and the answer to this question is a resounding “yes”-heritage conservation yields significant benefits to the economy. Rypkema (1991) compared the relative costs of building conservation versus new construction, and found that conservation makes more economic sense than new construction. Wolf et al (1999) reached the same conclusion documented by Rypkema (1991), in many cases; it is more efficient and profitable to conserve heritage buildings than construct a new building.

2.6.2 Environmental Benefits

Conservation of heritage buildings generates very important benefits to the environment. A number of studies around the world have addressed this subject. Review of the literature revealed three main environmental benefits gained by conservation including: Reduction of hazardous materials; Preserving of the embodied energy; and Preserving of the Energy. Reduction of Hazardous Materials

Heritage buildings are more suitable for the environment because they have been built by using traditional materials such as mud, lime and stone. Traditional materials are natural materials. Therefore, they do not cause any pollution of the environment and also its preparations do not affect the environment. Modern building materials are generally reliant on large scale industrial processes that can emit very substantial levels of “greenhouse gases”, can require significant energy consumption and are often transported hundreds if not thousands of miles. For example the manufacture of cement alone accounts for 3% of “greenhouse gases” produced worldwide and the manufacture of PVC (Poly vinyl chloride) demands a lengthy process that requires a significant consumption of energy (Donough Cahill, 2004). A study carried out by De Sousa (2001), in the greater Toronto area, Canada found that the reduction of health risks posed by hazardous is the most important environmental benefits associated with Brownfield development. Moreover, vacant properties often contain an array of conditions such as illegal dumping, leaking, and fire hazards that pose serious threats to public health and the environment (Schilling, 2002). Preserving of the Embodied Energy

The retention of the original building’s “embodied energy” is one of the main environmental benefits of reusing heritage buildings. Rypkema (2005) defined the term “embodied energy” as “the total expenditure of energy involved in the creation of the building and its constituent materials”. The embodied energy can be also defined as “the embodied energy is the quantity of energy required by all activities associated with a production process, including the relative proportions consumed in all activities upstream to the acquisition of natural resources and the share of energy used in making equipment and other supporting functions, i.e. Direct plus indirect energy” (Treloar, 1997). Wishkoski (2006) gives an example: a heritage building with approximately 308,000 exterior bricks, each with an embodied energy value of 14,300 Thermal Units (BTU), represents 4.4 million BTUs of energy expended in the original construction of the building, or 1.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity.

Planners, architects, investors, and public officials must take into consideration the energy used in the production and assembly of materials needed for new buildings, from their origin to their end of life and subsequent reuse. Conservation causes much less destruction of the natural resources than new construction. Statistics reveal that building construction consumes 40 percent of the raw materials entering the global economy every year (Bahl, 2005). Interestingly, about 85 percent of the total embodied energy in materials is used in their production and transportation (Bahl, 2005).

In Australia, studies showed new buildings have much higher energy costs than buildings that are conserved. In 2001, new buildings accounted for 25 percent of wood harvest, 16 percent of fresh water supplied, 44 % of landfill, and 45 % of carbon dioxide production and up to half of the total greenhouse emissions from industrialized countries (Australian Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2004).

Besides that, demolition of buildings causes environmental loads. Whereby, the large volumes of construction waste strain landfill capacities and leads to environmental concerns. Therefore, conservation of the heritage buildings is the best resolution for this issue. Rypkema (2005) argues, the process of demolishing a historic building has a significant impact on the environment. When a building is being demolished, first, tens of thousands of dollars of embodied energy are being thrown away. Second, it is being replaced with materials vastly more consumptive of energy. Further, modern construction methods are incredibly wasteful of resources. Studies show that Up to 25 percent of the total waste generated in the United States and other countries is directly attributed to building, construction, and demolition activities (Bahl, 2005). These waste products can be environmentally hazardous and polluting, both as solids and in the atmosphere. The waster also stresses the capacity of landfill sites. Preserving of the Energy.

Preserving of energy is a great advantage that can be gained from conservation of heritage buildings. The old construction methods were used with taking into consideration to keep the weather out without consuming energy, namely, keeping the heritage building cooling in summer and heating in winter. When a heritage building is preserved or restored, those old cultural methods are preserved and brought back to active duty. Very likely, the old building was strategically placed to get the best orientation to the sun to make the most use of the solar energy, and the interior space and its openings were efficiently organized to keep the air circulating and cool down the space without using any sort of air conditioning and electricity. Preserving a heritage building helps avoid the consumption of additional energy by getting advantage of the old construction methods designed to cool and heat the space and keep the weather out without energy consumption (Stas, 2007).

2.6.3 Social Benefits

Conservation of heritage buildings entails significant social benefits. Those benefits can be categorized under (1) Job creation, (2) Crime reduction, and (3) The sense of place factor (Stas, 2007). Job Creation

One of the social benefits for conservation of heritage building is job creation. According to Rypkema (1999), investing in vacant properties is an important tool that creates new job opportunities in communities and urban centres. Further, the labour intensity of building conservation generally means that there is a greater local economic impact in jobs and income than with the same amount spent on new construction. Crime Reduction

Abandoned heritage buildings can quickly become havens for vandals, homeless, arsonists, and drug dealers, and as a result drive down property values, taxes, and services, and discourage investment in a community. Schilling (2002) describes the effect of abandoned buildings on communities as a disease that once started it can quickly spread throughout a neighbourhood. The residents often felt unsafe walking on streets that have abandoned buildings.

Local governments may succeed conserving one building but often do not have sufficient resources to keep the demand of a growing number of vacant properties. Some property owners feel helpless in trying to recruit new tenants. Property owners become less interested in investing in these neighbourhoods. Many residents eventually leave while those who remain become accustomed to blight as the neighbourhood deteriorates. This cycle continues with each new pocket of vacant and abandoned properties (Schilling, 2002). In Contrast, by conserving those vacant properties for another use, the illegal activities that used to occur in those properties will be eliminated, which will bring peace and safety back to the neighbourhood. The Sense of Place Factor

The built and natural environments are elements that express the distinctiveness of a community or a neighbourhood. Rypkema (1999) wrote about the sense of community and ownership: “A sense of ownership acknowledges an individual benefit from, an individual stake in, and an individual responsibility for one’s pl


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