Reconstruction (architecture)

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Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady, opened in 2005) in Dresden, Germany, reconstructed after its destruction during World War II.

Reconstruction is a term in architectural conservation whose precise meaning varies, depending on the context in which they are used.

More broadly, such as under the ICOMOS Burra Charter, "reconstruction" means returning a damaged building to a known earlier state by the introduction of new materials.[1] It is related to the architectural concepts of restoration (repairing existing building fabric) and preservation (the prevention of further decay), wherein the most extensive form of reconstruction is creating a replica of a destroyed building.

More narrowly, such as under the Secretary of Interior's Standards in the United States, "reconstruction" is "the act or process of depicting, by means of new construction, the form, features, and detailing of a non-surviving site, landscape, building, structure, or object for the purpose of replicating its appearance at a specific period of time and in its historic location."[2]

Reconstruction of buildings and structures[edit]

Robert Venturi's "ghost structure" reconstruction at Franklin Court of Benjamin Franklin's house, as part of Independence National Historical Park, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The design concept, since used at other sites, resulted from insufficient information to accurately reconstruct the house, and it was instead decided merely suggested it.[3]

There may be several reasons for the construction of a building or creation of a replica building or structure.

Sometimes, it is the result of destruction of landmark monuments that is experienced as traumatic by inhabitants of the region, such as through war, planning errors and politically motivated destruction, other times, merely the result of natural disaster. Examples include Yongdingmen (former Peking city gate temporarily sacrificed to traffic considerations), St Mark's Campanile in Venice (collapsed in 1902), House of the Blackheads (Riga), Iberian Gate and Chapel and the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow (destroyed by order of Joseph Stalin), Dresden Frauenkirche and Semperoper in Dresden (bombed at the end of World War II). A specifically well-known example is the rebuilding of the historic city center of Warsaw after 1945. The Old Town and the Royal Castle had been badly damaged already at the outset of World War II. It was systematically razed to the ground by German troops after the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The reconstruction of Warsaw's historic center (e.g., St. John's Cathedral, St. Kazimierz Church, Ujazdów Castle) and, e.g., the replica of the Stari Most built in Mostar (Bosnia Herzegovina) have met with official approval by UNESCO.

Other times, reconstructions are made in the case of sites where the historic and cultural significance was not recognized until long after its destruction, common in North America, especially with respect to its early history. Examples include the reconstruction of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, the rebuilding of numerous structures in Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, and Fort William Historical Park in Ontario, Canada.

Critics of reconstructed and replica buildings see them as a falsification of history and as the creation of a kind of "architectural ersatz". Most guidelines for reconstruction (such as the Burra and Venice charters) suggest that new construction be distinguishable from the original, and that reconstruction not be carried out if insufficient information exists to accurately re-create the building's former state.







Czech Republic[edit]



Reconstruction of the Berlin City Palace in 2018
Historical center of Frankfurt, 2011










The Wignacourt Arch, which was built in 1615, demolished in 1944 and rebuilt in 2015

Plans are also being made for reconstructing the Birgu Clock Tower, which was destroyed in 1942.[7]






United Kingdom[edit]

United States[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ICOMOS Burra Charter
  2. ^ Preservation Service of the United States National Park Service "Secretary of Interior's Standards for Reconstruction" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved April 2011. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ Macchio, Melanie (12 May 2010). "Venturi, Scott Brown's Franklin Court Threatened". Cultural Landscape Foundation. Retrieved April 2011. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^ "Reconstruction Of St Anthony's Chapel at Fort Manoel complete". The Malta Independent. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  5. ^ "Counterguard Chapel Reconstructed". 20 November 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Wignacourt Arch, known as Fleur-de-Lys Gate, rebuilt". TVM. 25 November 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Vittoriosa Clock tower to be rebuilt to its former glory". The Malta Independent. 25 June 2007. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015.

External links[edit]

Media related to Reconstruction (architecture) at Wikimedia Commons