17 Sep Architectural Conservation Thanks to Precast Concrete
Architectural conservation is fundamental for the preservation of the history and culture of a society. In the face of this, modern architecture cannot be disconnected from the roots and characteristics of the environment.
The truth is that the Architectural Heritage contributes an incalculable value and information to the historical study of a society. Each construction, method used and even materials allow us to understand what life was like back then.
It is the reflection of the past in the present, a mirror in which we all like to look at ourselves.
Important reasons why architectural conservation is essential. However, the task of maintaining old buildings in perfect condition is not an easy one. Nor that of repairing or rebuilding them.
In this case not every method is valid, it must be done with a plan. A prior study and detailed knowledge of each corner of the infrastructure is essential. In addition to this, the choice of materials is also important.
Unfortunately, there are cases in which it is no longer available and you have to look for others that reproduce the original. And which material can offer us this versatility and workability? Precast concrete, a great ally for architectural conservation.
In the Canary Islands, we can find many examples, such as San Cristóbal de La Laguna, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In many of these cities, Glassydur, as a high performance precast concrete, has played a role.
In this article, we will talk about the role of precast concrete in architectural conservation.
WHEN IS AN ARCHITECTURE CONSIDERED TRADITIONAL? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
We often use the expression “traditional architecture”, but what is the meaning of this? An infrastructure is considered a characteristic of something or some place when it fits with its own representative tradition.
In most cases, they follow inherited techniques or are inspired by the characteristics of the place.The climate, purchasing power, number of inhabitants or technological development are some of the factors that used to influence the ways of building.
For this reason, in cold regions it is common to find infrastructures with wide walls and stone facing. Unlike those that are warmer and more humid, where open and airy spaces are more common.
The Polish architect, Amos Rapoport (1972:16 ), contributes an interesting insight into the circumstances that lead to the term “traditional”:
“The style is the result of the collaboration of many people over many generations, as well as the collaboration between those who build and those who use the buildings, which is what the term «traditional» means. As everyone knows the model, there is no need for designers. It is intended that the house will be like all the well-built houses in the area […] The size, layout, relation with the site and other variables can be decided in a discussion and, if necessary, be recorded in a written document. The aesthetic qualities are not created specially for each case, they are traditional and are transmitted from generation to generation.”
HOW TO APPROACH ARCHITECTURAL RESTORATION
Restoration of an infrastructure for architectural conservation is a delicate process. At Glassydur we know it first hand because we have worked on several projects of this nature.
Experts recommend that those in charge and owners of buildings with an important heritage value should not let them deteriorate. That is to say, prevention before restoration.
This is also stated in the Spanish Historical Heritage Law: “Historical buildings and monuments must be preserved, consolidated and restored, avoiding reconstruction”.
Nevertheless, there are circumstances under which it is difficult to prevent the deterioration of a structure. The wear and tear of the infrastructure due to the passage of time, a fire or floods are the main causes of a reconstruction.
When undertaking a restoration or reconstruction of a property, a very meticulous work of documentation must be carried out. The preliminary study on the nature and characteristics of the building should include the following information:
- Architectural style
- Construction materials used
- Relation to the environment in which it is located
From this point on, the restoration can start, which must respect a series of rules to preserve the naturalness of the work. According to Patrimonio Inteligente, the following issues should be respected:
- Avoid reconstruction. In case the reconstruction, it must be carried out with the parts of the Property itself.
- The restored part which is different from the original must be highlighted.
- Make every effort to ensure that what is done is reversible.
As we can see, the golden rule is to respect the original, and this is where the high performance of precast concrete such as Glassydur has played an important role.
Thanks to its ability to reproduce real textures, the replacement or repair of a part is natural and almost imperceptible. Constructive solutions that have contributed to architectural conservation in the Canary Islands, a region with more than 400 Assets of Cultural Interest.
CANARY ISLANDS HAS 407 ASSETS OF CULTURAL INTEREST
The strategic location of the Canary Islands on the map has favored the traditional architecture to be very versatile.
The most significant examples that we can find are in Lanzarote, where all the houses are white or in La Orotava, a candidate for World Heritage status.
In the portal of the Great Virtual Encyclopedia of the Canary Islands, they record the characteristics that define the architectural style of the archipelago. Below, some of its distinguishing features are highlighted:
- Simplicity and austerity.
From the layout of the plant to the decorative aspects, the traditional Canarian architecture is not very ostentatious and is quite simple.
- Mudejar style, with specific approaches to other European styles (Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, etc).
- Extensive use of the rough stone and wood.
- Absence of major works.
There are hardly any examples of high aesthetic quality that other makers generate in new models to follow or to surpass.
The buildings coated or decorated with natural stone elements are a very common in the archipelago. So is the use of wood or torchs and roofs covered with tiles.
It is no secret that these materials favor the acclimatization of the infrastructure. In addition, the natural conditions of the islands made it easy to obtain these resources. However, as the number of protected areas has increased, the situation has changed.
For this reason, precast concrete has become an alternative to keep the architectural and heritage conservation going. Constructive solutions of precast concrete for architectural conservation.
The constructive solutions that precast concrete has contributed to architectural conservation are extremely varied. From small-scale recreations of buildings that are part of the history of some Canarian city to the restoration of emblematic buildings.
In the following, we will make a journey through some of the most significant examples:
The Post Office in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. This emblematic building of the capital of Tenerife had several elements in poor condition that endangered the integrity of the infrastructure and the safety of pedestrians.
Thanks to meticulous restoration work and the use of Glassydur concrete slabs, it regained its original appearance.
Are you building a stone castle that imitates the typical fortifications of the Canary Islands? Yes, it was one of the requests of the architect Don Andrés Piñeiro for the Gran Castillo Tagoro Hotel, located in Fuerteventura.
The use of Glassydur Victoria Slab made it possible to reproduce the natural beauty of carved stone, characteristic of these historical constructions. An ingenious way to contribute to the architectural conservation of the islands.
On the other hand, the restoration of the facilities of the Contemporary Cultural Center of San Martín, in Gran Canaria. A project that involved the recreation of decorative elements and finishes characteristic of an old Canarian house.
Without a doubt, an example of architectural conservation.
Finally, the bell tower built inside a shopping center in Corralejo. A recreation inspired by the typical bell towers of the Canary Islands. Its facade was clad with Glassydur panels to achieve such a reliable appearance.
A nod to the architectural conservation of the islands that are well worth visiting.