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 in architectural conservation is the largely prototypical restoration of destroyed architectural monuments, historical buildings or parts of buildings. The reconstruction of buildings has been a common practice for centuries.[1] The ICOMOS Burra Charter, defines "reconstruction" as the returning of a damaged building to a known earlier state by the introduction of new materials.[2] 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."[3]

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.[4]

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.

Types of reconstruction[edit]

The New Frankfurt old town (Dom-Römer project) in Frankfurt am Main. An example of "mixed" reconstruction.
Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland, an example of a "modelled" reconstruction.

There are different approaches to reconstruction, which differ in the degree of fidelity to the original and in the sensitivity to implementation. In architecture, Georg Mörsch describes reconstruction as a “scientific method of extracting sources to rebuild things that have gone under, regardless of the time that has passed since then”.[5]

  • A true-to-the-original reconstruction is a reconstruction carried out using the same materials and the same methods as possible after extensive source research. Often existing original components are used. This type of reconstruction can be found above all in culturally and historically significant buildings, which then serve as objects for viewing and are used as museums. An example of this is the completion of Cologne Cathedral, which was finally completed in the late 19th century when the original construction plans were discovered and these were followed.
  • A modelled reconstruction is one that does not meet the requirements for fidelity to the original due to a lack of sources. Typical examples are, for example, when only façade plans or image documentation of buildings are preserved - the rest of the necessary information is "reinvented" as much as possible by comparing it with similar contemporary objects. This type of “new creative” reconstruction, combined with a lot of imagination, had its heyday especially in historicism (with neo-Romanesque, neo-Gothic, neo-renaissance and neo-baroque). Many neo-Gothic castles have been created from the remains of medieval castles, such as Hohenschwangau Castle, Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland, Hohenzollern Castle and numerous others into the first third of the 20th century.
  • Replicative reconstruction is a form of reconstruction which, for functionalist reasons, serves to imitate (not: interpret), preserve or produce a (historicized) style, but with a different use and no longer has anything to do with the original or old building. (Example: Nikolaiviertel built in Berlin during the GDR era).
  • Interpretive reconstruction creates a new design based on historical sources. Buildings or parts of buildings are created that correspond to the character and overall impression of the original, without attempting a one-to-one copy. Examples are the Prinzipalmarkt in Münster or the additions to the Frankfurt Römerberg. The facades and gables of the houses were partly redesigned, but the overall impression of the market was to be retained. This method is derived from the neutral retouching as a modern restoration. This fulfils the desires of a reconstruction by restoring the overall impression of a place without the concerns over authenticity around replicas.
  • Didactic reconstructions: In connection with the development of archaeological excavation sites into didactic theme parks, reconstructions of striking ancient structures such as city walls, city gates, temples, villas or forts.
  • Experimental replicas are part of experimental archaeology. An example of this is the Guédelon Castle which has been under construction since 1997 using only the techniques and materials of the 13th century in order to research the construction method and duration. The Campus Galli is another construction project to build a medieval monastery town based on the St. Gallen monastery plan. These are previously non-existent buildings, the focus is on the research aspect.

Challenges in reconstructions[edit]

Regardless of what type of reconstruction is done, there are some recurring challenges and questions.

  • The original structures were often only incompletely documented, so the missing parts have to be re-thought.
  • The building materials or construction techniques that were used to build the original are barely or not at all available or not financially affordable. The same applies to craftsmen who still (or again) master the historical techniques and materials.
  • The original would not correspond to the space requirements that the new use of the building will make. The inside of the building will be restructured and subdivided.
  • The replica would not meet today's static safety requirements , so you have to change the structure.
  • The original or replica with the same interior structure would not comply with the statutory safety regulations , such as in fire protection or escape routes.
  • The original or replica would not meet today's legal requirements
  • If implemented exactly, the original would no longer meet today's comfort requirements (air conditioning, electrical engineering, sanitary installations), so the original design is adapted accordingly.

Reasons for and against reconstructions[edit]

Since the end of the Second World War, the reconstruction of buildings has been the subject of controversy, especially in cities destroyed by the war.

In the public debate around reconstruction it is mostly assumed that historical or historicising architecture is perceived by the average citizen as more appealing than contemporary architecture. The loss of the "beautiful old" is seen as an aesthetic diminution, historically created and poorly closed building gaps are experienced as a permanent "flaw in the cityscape".[6]

The reconstruction of buildings is often controversial among architects and preservationists . There are different motives and values. Overall, the question of the reconstruction of prominent urban locations in the context of the cityscape proves to be significantly more conflict-prone than is the case with remote buildings or in the open, for example with experimental or didactic reconstructions.

Many reconstructions are new buildings with a historical facade design, but modern construction technology and with completely new uses. The original building fabric is often hardly preserved and architects in particular argue against this approach, saying that it merely creates a historical impression in order to appeal to a certain groups of buyers.[7]

However, there are also prominent examples of reconstructions with missing original substance. The reconstruction of completely destroyed Warsaw's Old Town is a reconstruction even in the UNESCO list of World Heritage. Reconstructed buildings are generally not perceived as such by those who are unfamiliar with them, which makes the cityscape more attractive in the eyes of the beholder. Even in the awareness of the residents, the fact of the reconstruction of a building is mostly forgotten after a while, the buildings are perceived again as an organic part of their environment. The desire for the original substance, which is usually put forward by monument conservationists, cannot be met in many old buildings either; one speaks of the Theseus paradox .

Spolia of the architecture itself, recovered after the demolition or after the destruction, can also serve as an argument for a reconstruction; by inserting it into the reconstructed building, its original effect can be experienced again, but it is often not (excessive damage, risk of weathering, etc.) possible. Cases like the Dresden Frauenkirche, where every stone that was preserved and recovered from the rubble was reinstalled at its original location, are rare exceptions due to the great technical and financial outlay.

A crucial question in monument protection today is that of the original substance. This does not only refer to the material erected at the time of construction, but also to the various later layers that are evidence of their times. In the preservation of historical monuments, these layers, together with the substance of the building period, are considered to be of value if they are of value according to an art-historical assessment. The practice of both architectural and art history goes so far as not to regard a certain version of an object as “the original”, neither the first version nor the most splendid or most popular at the time, nor the last one that has been remembered. If an object were to be traced back to an earlier state, there would be no justification for deciding which one. Compared with this special conception of substance, a reconstruction never has the historical complexity and also not the history of the original. With the reconstruction of a certain historical (ideal) state, the inevitable. The authenticity of a possibly damaged monument or ruin is lost. A modelled new building never corresponds to its model due to changed materials and construction techniques, even if it is very faithful to the original. As a historical document, what was destroyed is lost in any case and its replacement constitutes a new document. With the Venice Charter of 1964, a central and internationally recognized guideline for dealing with the original building fabric was created for the preservation of monuments; it is the most important monument conservation text of the 20th century and defines central values and procedures for the conservation and restoration of monuments .

Loss of architectural heritage is seen by many citizens primarily as a loss of quality of life; and some buildings are assigned an ideal meaning that goes beyond the pure substance. Certain, lost buildings are perceived as defining the identity of a place, the residents identify these buildings as an indispensable part of their city. On the other hand, architects and preservationists usually object that a reconstructed building always has the aspect of a backdrop architecture and never again achieve the cultural and ideal value of the original - an aspect of "honesty" that is perceived as secondary by proponents of reconstruction. Opponents of reconstruction also often point out that rebuilding could contribute to the transfiguration of the past. In any case, outstanding buildings usually have a high symbolic character . Their destruction increases this symbolic content. How this is transferred to a reconstruction is difficult to predict.

Reconstruction critics from the architectural profession and related professions assume that modern urban design and contemporary architecture are an expression of social identity that is continuously developing. According to this, it is important for a society to maintain its architecture, which meets its living conditions and needs and whose expression it is, through building projects, and not, on the other hand, to recreate old architecture. This consensus on what is contemporary is questioned by those in favor of reconstruction. From cultural and historical Critics see reconstruction as a phenomenon of the 19th and 20th centuries that had hardly any role models in history and is now outdated. Reconstruction can thus only be historically legitimized to a limited extent. On the other hand, the term cityscape  - as an architectural unit extending beyond the individual building - only came into the field of vision of architecture in the course of modernity. Proponents of the reconstruction, on the other hand, have little fear of contact with the harmonistic architectural conceptions of the 19th century and also point to the lasting popularity of the domes that were “then completed” according to the principles that are not permitted today. However, it is precisely the free access to the formal language of all earlier epochs that is considered one of the essential features of historicism as seen in postmodernism . In a different sense, the reconstruction fulfils the demand for an answer to the needs of the time and in this sense is an expression of contemporary building activity. How later historical epochs will judge the contemporary phase of architecture and its peculiarities cannot be said.

For architects it is often not desirable to create replicas instead of creating something new. In this sense, every new building is "more historically accurate" because the destroyed objects were an expression of their own time. On the one hand, the “idea of a building” is the actual work of an architect and a reconstruction would represent an appreciation in this sense. On the other hand, every architect works in some way with the history of the building site. This reference to the previous buildings is to be seen as an appreciation, even if it is in explicit contrast. Building solutions by the architects of the historical compete with a new project. The fundamental question that remains is why something should be created again instead of a new building.

Prominent individual examples of reconstruction projects and executions show that architecture is a factor in the public that can still polarize just as much as that from the history of architecture known all time. From a global perspective, the entire discussion about the pros and cons of reconstruction is a problem rooted in Eurocentric sensitivities. Other cultures, both the Anglo-American region and Asia, deal with the topic differently: The regular, complete rebuilding of a Buddhist temple is part of the centuries-old tradition in Asian architecture, the European concept of "true to the original" plays in this culture, which has everything in the philosophical core Material regarded as worthless shell, until today a subordinate role. The 2000 year old Ise-jingū-Shrines in Japan are ritually rebuilt every 20 years according to exactly the same plans made of wood. In China, for example, while entire historic cities and city centers are being sacrificed to major urban and economic planning projects ( Shanghai , 3 Gorges Dam ), conversely, historicizing projects are also being implemented - such as the old town project of Datong, a city in the Ming style, or the restoration of the one in the cultural revolution destroyed sacred buildings. In the USA, too, the monument concept plays only a subordinate role today and relates much more to historic monuments that are significant in terms of time and culture than to those of architectural history.

Acceptance of reconstructions[edit]

In a representative survey by the Forsa Institute on behalf of the Federal Building Culture Foundation , 80% of all participants were in favor of the reconstruction of historic buildings and 15% were against. The approval of reconstructions was particularly high among women (83%) and 18 to 29 year olds (86%). When asked whether historical buildings should also be rebuilt for other uses, 80% of all participants answered with “yes” and 16% with “no”.[8]

Examples of reconstructions[edit]

Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome - burned out in 1823, reconstructed until 1840
St Mark's Campanile in Venice - collapsed in 1902, reconstructed until 1912, UNESCO World Heritage since 1987

Prominent examples with worldwide attention that illuminate the diversity of reconstructive intentions and methods:

Before 1945[edit]

  • Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome: destroyed in a fire in 1823, rebuilt true to the original by 1840[9]
  • St Mark's Campanile in Venice: The largely true-to-original copy of the building, which collapsed in 1902, was a trend-setting project for the beginning of the 20th century - the late Wilhelminian era was still completely entangled with the idea of complete urban redesign with the welcome removal of all outdated structures.
  • Ypres Cloth Hall: destroyed in 1918, reconstructed until 1967, UNESCO World Heritage since 1999
  • Stonehenge in southern England: Megalithic structures that were largely preserved in the 16th century, most of which were overturned by the 19th century, were re-erected by William Gowland around 1900. The altered positions of the structures from the reconstruction obscure the original alignment and intended purpose which may have been astro-chronological in nature.
  • Alcázar of Toledo: The fortress, which was destroyed in the Spanish Civil War 1936-39, was subsequently rebuilt largely true to the original.
  • Church of the Flagellation in Jerusalem: Duke Max Joseph in Bavaria financed the purchase of the long-dilapidated chapel by the Custody of the Holy Land and its restoration for worship in 1838. 1927–1929, the building, which still exists today, was built in the style of the Middle Ages under the architect Antonio Barluzzi.[10]
  • Governor's Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia: The governor's palace , which was destroyed by fire in 1781, was rebuilt in 1927–1934 from the perspective of completing the tourist-museum cityscape of Colonial Williamsburg according to old models.

After 1945[edit]

Australia[edit]

Belgium[edit]

Canada[edit]

China[edit]

Croatia[edit]

Czech Republic[edit]

France[edit]

Germany[edit]

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

Greece[edit]

Hungary[edit]

  • Matthias Church, Budapest (1896)
  • Buda Castle, Budapest (1952-1985: not true-to-original reconstruction of the building destroyed in 1944; since 2019: true-to-original reconstruction of some parts of the building)
  • Royal Palace, Gödöllő (since 1994)

India[edit]

Iraq[edit]

Israel[edit]

Italy[edit]

Japan[edit]

Heijō Palace in Heijō-kyō

Latvia[edit]

Lithuania[edit]

Malta[edit]

The Wignacourt Arch, which was built in 1615, demolished in 1944 and rebuilt in 2015
Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow - demolished under Stalin in 1931, reconstructed from 1995 to 2000

Plans are also being made for reconstructing the Birgu Clock Tower, which was destroyed in 1942.[14]

Poland[edit]

Russia[edit]

Slovakia[edit]

Serbia[edit]

Ukraine[edit]

Interior of the Golden Gate, Kiev
Arbeia Roman Fort in South Shields

United Kingdom[edit]

United States[edit]

Planned or under construction reconstructions[edit]

  • Buddhas of Bamiyan: After the destruction of the UNESCO World Heritage Site by the Taliban in 2001, there are vague plans to reconstruct the monumental statues of gods. Work has since begun on restoring the Buddhas using the process of anastylosis, where original elements are combined with modern material. The restoration of the caves and Buddhas has also involved training and employing local people as stone carvers.[15] The work has come under some criticism.[16]
  • Palmyra: Nalmyra: After the destruction of the UNESCO World Heritage by the Islamic State, there are vague plans to restore the ancient oasis city and many other destroyed temples, churches and mosques in Syria and Iraq.
  • Old town hall in Halle: considered one of the most important secular buildings in Central Germany, badly damaged in an air raid in 1945, completely demolished by 1950. Currently collecting donations for the reconstruction of the baroque entrance way.[17]
  • Saxon Palace in Warsaw: former residence of the kings of Poland, part of the Saxon Axis , redesigned in a classicist style in 1842, destroyed in 1944 under German occupation. In 2018 the Polish government announced that it would reconstruct the palace as a senate building.[18]
  • Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris: After the cathedral was partially destroyed by a major fire in 2019, the French Parliament decided to reconstruct Notre-Dame true to the original. Reconstruction will begin in 2021 with the aim of completion by Spring 2024, in time for the opening of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.[19][20]
  • Mercator House in Duisburg: home of the cartographer Gerhard Mercator (1512–1594), destroyed in World War II, foundations uncovered during archaeological excavations in 2012, reconstruction as an educational facility by 2021[21]
  • Town hall towers in Frankfurt am Main: colloquially known as "Langer Franz" and "Kleiner Cohn", destroyed in an air raid in 1944, then covered with emergency roofs. Currently fundraising for the reconstruction of the tower roofs.[22]
  • Berlin Palace: was considered a major work of European Baroque, facades and interiors mainly created by Andreas Schlueter, partially burned out in an air raid in 1945, blown up in 1950 for ideological reasons despite international protests. It was replaced in 1976 by a new building - the communist Palace of the Republic which in turn was demolished in 2008 due to asbestos contamination. Reconstruction of the original palace began in 2013 and was completed in 2020.[23]
  • Garrison church in Potsdam: considered a major work of the European Baroque, built by Philipp Gerlach from 1730 to 1735, burned out in an air raid in 1945, blown up in 1968 for ideological reasons. The tower has been under reconstruction since 2017.
  • Old Market Square, Potsdam: once considered to be one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, especially in the time of Frederick the Great when many copies of Italian palaces were built there. Burned in an air raid in 1945, and then was demolished for ideological reasons in East Germany. Reconstruction of individual facades has taken place since 2013, including the Barberini Museum.
  • Berliner Bauakademie: was considered the original building of modern architecture, erected from 1832 to 1836 by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, burned out in an air raid in 1945 and was demolished in 1962. The building has been sold by the state of Berlin to the federal government which had a resolution in 2016 to reconstruct the building.[24] Construction is expected to start in 2021.[25]
  • The Temple of Bel, the Temple of Baalshamin and the Monumental Arch in Palmyra, Syria, will be reconstructed using a anastylosis technique involving incorporating the original materials. The temples had been destroyed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in 2015. Following the recapture of Palmyra by the Syrian Army in March 2016, director of antiquities Maamoun Abdelkarim announced the plans for their reconstruction.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Guratzsch, Dankwart (2010-08-03). "Architektur: Dürfen wir eigentlich Gebäude kopieren?". DIE WELT. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  2. ^ ICOMOS Burra Charter
  3. ^ 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: |access-date= (help)
  4. ^ Macchio, Melanie (12 May 2010). "Venturi, Scott Brown's Franklin Court Threatened". Cultural Landscape Foundation. Retrieved April 2011. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  5. ^ Mörsch, 1989.
  6. ^ Maaß, S. 584.
  7. ^ Daniel Buggert: Verteidigung der Baugeschichte gegen ihre Liebhaber. In: archimaera. Heft 2/2009.
  8. ^ Baukulturbericht 2018/19 „Erbe – Bestand – Zukunft“, S. 170 (PDF)
  9. ^ http://www.vatican.va/various/basiliche/san_paolo/ge/basilica/storia.htm
  10. ^ it.custodia.org
  11. ^ "Reconstruction Of St Anthony's Chapel at Fort Manoel complete". The Malta Independent. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  12. ^ "Counterguard Chapel Reconstructed". MilitaryArchitecture.com. 20 November 2014. Archived from the original on 30 December 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Wignacourt Arch, known as Fleur-de-Lys Gate, rebuilt". TVM. 25 November 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  14. ^ "Vittoriosa Clock tower to be rebuilt to its former glory". The Malta Independent. 25 June 2007. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015.
  15. ^ Graham-Harison, Emma (16 May 2012). "Stone carvers defy Taliban to return to the Bamiyan valley". The Guardian.
  16. ^ Kakissis, Joanna (27 July 2011). "Bit By Bit, Afghanistan Rebuilds Buddhist Statues". National Public Radio. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  17. ^ https://www.halles-altes-rathaus.de/de/wir_ueber_uns
  18. ^ https://www.prezydent.pl/aktualnosci/rocznica-niepodleglosci/aktualnosci/art,62,11-listopada---symboliczny-poczatek-odbudowy-palacu-saskiego.html
  19. ^ Radio France International, 10 October 2019
  20. ^ "Workers start to remove charred scaffolding around Notre-Dame Cathedral". Reuters. 8 June 2020. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  21. ^ https://www.mercator.haus
  22. ^ https://brueckenbauverein-frankfurt.de/stories/der-lange-franz/
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-07. Retrieved 2017-03-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ Aus dem neuen Hauptstadtvertrag vom Mai 2017.
  25. ^ Schinkels Bauakademie wird wieder aufgebaut, Berliner Morgenpost, 20. September 2017
  26. ^ Shaheen, Kareem; Graham-Harrison, Emma (27 March 2016). "Syrian regime forces retake 'all of Palmyra' from Isis". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 March 2016.

External links[edit]

Media related to Reconstruction (architecture) at Wikimedia Commons