Monument Preservation and Building within Existing Structures


Founded on social consensus and statutory mandate it behoves us in the public interest to care for, protect and preserve valuable and irreplaceable existing structures. But these monuments should not be wrenched out of real life, subjected to “petrification” as it were … this would contradict the core essence of a monument – which touches us in its diversity and richness in the accumulated temporal strata of its existence and claims its right to survival. Historical buildings are also resources that in both past and present have a multifariously profitable and likewise sustained effect as regards culture, economics, ecology and society. This is demonstrated in impressive settlement continuities, cities, villages and buildings, also squares, parks and gardens that have grown over the centuries. Handed down in trust to each following generation, they shape our living environment. They are not seldom important witnesses, creating a sense of identity indispensable for satisfying the human need for individual and collective memory and therefore enjoy our appreciation and affection.

The values of monument preservation are complex, but are inaccessible only to those who are not prepared to admit them. Architectural and artistic values play just as much a role as social and economic qualities and aspects of the history of technology. Atmosphere and moods count. The most far-reaching and authentic powers of expression emanating from a monument are ultimately bound to its substance.  It is usually deemed essential to preserve it undiminished – also in our age ruled by image and images.

In our section we engage in the history and theory of the subject, but also in the praxis-oriented coupling with interdisciplinary approaches and methods. From case to case, from task to task, from object to object, we have to take the relevant, appropriate and understandable measures to find preservation-compliant and tailor-made constructional solutions. This is the background against which the students are introduced to the broad-based special subject. The lessons are diverse in form and include lectures, seminars, exercises, excursions and inspections in situ. And because preservation and the need for change do not exclude each other, and to prove that the preservation of historical substances doesn’t end up merely in petrification and banishment to the museum, special designing exercises are also scheduled every semester.

Research Unit Head (ad interim)

Senior Scientist MMag. Dr.techn. Dr. Birgit Knauer Contakt: TISS

E251-02 Monument Preservation and Building within Existing Structures