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Restoration of heritage buildings – From the intention to maintain to an ending disaster

On Monday, 15 April the world waked up on one of the worst news ever. The fire of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris that happened at 7:00 PM local time. A catastrophic fire raised on Monday demolishing the 850-year iconic spire and roof of the cathedral, just a few days before the Easter. Both front towers are safe now despite the doubts that north tower could be saved. Fortunately, the copper statues that used to be on the collapsed spire were removed on 11 April due to maintenance purpose.


Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame cathedral was completed in the 13th century and is considered an architectural-historical religious icon with more than 2 million visitors annually, making it the most visited monument in Paris. The burnet spire is the first spire built over the crossing of the transept around 1250. It was a steeple that featured in the seventeenth century up to five bells. It was dismantled from 1786 to 1792.

The French president Emmanuel Macron commented “Notre Dame is our history, it’s our literature, it’s our imagery. It’s the place where we live our greatest moments, from wars to pandemics to liberations

“Let’s be proud because we built this cathedral more than 800 years ago, we’ve built it and, throughout the centuries, let it grow and improved it. So, I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together,” he added. Worth mentioning that the cathedral was under a 6 million euros renovation project that was not finished yet. The cause of the fire is still under investigation while the French media reported that the reason might be linked to the restoration process. For more information about the different architectural conservation approaches follow this article.
 

Architectural Conservation of Historical Properties – 5 Different Approaches with different Goals

The conservation of historical buildings is a wide sector with different approaches, in which everyone ties its own goal and set of guidelines. The common goal is that we care about saving our iconic buildings, it’s just the way we want to operate it that differs. If you ever got confused between these approaches, we have dismantled these detangled approaches into simpler easier types.

Restoration

Restoration approach only seeks to return the building to its original structure and form. It depends on the documentary evidence of the buildings to bring it back to how it was before. One of its guidelines is that any additions made in the restoration process must be distinguishable for the users.

Preservation

Preservation approach is mainly depending on maintaining the historic property in its existing condition without adding or removing any parts. The purpose is just about checking for any negative influential factors and removing it to save the building and prevents its degradation.

Reconstruction

This approach is used when parts of the structure are lost from a natural disaster or a fire “such as Notre Dame Cathedral.” They depend on research and physical evidence to allow the conservators to recreate the lost parts again in the same way they were made before.

Renovation

Renovation is a simpler approach that relies on updating a building character and bringing it up to the current architectural standards. They are mostly used in the new non-historic buildings where functionality improvement is needed.

Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is giving an old building new function with respecting its overall historic characters. It can be done by preserving the architectural features of the building in parallel with adding new simple needed functionalities. This mix should be made in harmony to bring a distinctive output building. Another form of rehabilitation can be done by keeping the outside skin of the building while making a totally different interior function friendly design.

Historic preservation is not only beneficial on the cultural level, but the benefits are also various and extending. First, economically, the heritage buildings are beneficial as a tourist attraction. Second, the social community benefits from these properties by being richer having tangible history evidence. Third, environmental benefits from reusing these buildings instead of only demolishing, creating new waste spots. It’s a network of development operations that improve the community and allow us to save our history for future generations.