|The Twelfth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectual Design Excellence 2010|
John H. Stubbs
Conserving the world’s cultural patrimony, especially our rich legacy of historic architecture, is an essential aspect of life in the 21st century. Public interest and participation in this activity is at an all time high and is growing.
While today’s view of ‘heritage protection for the sake of heritage protection’ (i.e. consciously planned conservation) is essentially a modern phenomenon, interest in re-using and preserving human made structures goes back to time immemorial—even before recognition of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Incorporating conserved historic buildings and sites in designs for sustainable new environments is an increasingly important part of the architectural, engineering, planning, and landscape architectural professions. A number of other fields such as archaeology, museology, several of the social sciences, and the tourism industry also have deep interests in cultural heritage protection.
When compared to building anew, dealing with extant structures can be a simple task—though, more often, it is considerably more complex. The main reason for this is because scientifically restoring and adaptively using historic buildings must inevitably deal with history and changes to buildings over time. The problems of documentation, diagnosis, and prescription of solutions—and dealing with endlessly changing variables—can be specialties in and of themselves. Actions to conserve historic architecture can range from solving large and vexing architectural and engineering problems to providing critically important on-the-spot project management decisions.
Certainly the demand is there for trained and talented professionals who can imaginatively incorporate historic architecture in plans for the future. To see the possibilities, one need only look around.
John H. Stubbs
Vice President for Field Projects
World Monuments Fund in New York
Adjunct Associate Professor of Historic Preservation
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