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To Restore or Not to Restore


Demolished home on Rockledge Drive, Rockledge, FL. Image by Lesa Lorusso

There is a wide spectrum of philosophies when it comes to historic preservation, which can be seen in countless preservation projects across America. Once a group or community has made the heroic decision to preserve a resource, the question that often arises amongst preservationists is how, exactly, should the building be preserved? Should the building be kept in its original state, allowed to gradually deteriorate or should it be restored to an earlier condition? Should the building be restored to be “better than” it was in its original state with improvements that really should have been done in the first place anyway? Three preservationists embody each of these points of view: Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, Paul Leon and John Ruskin.

Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879) is known as the first restoration architect, although his methods are now largely discredited. The Frenchman’s philosophy was that buildings should be rebuilt not necessarily as they originally were but as they “should have been.” He stated that “to restore a building is not only to preserve it, to repair it, or to rebuild, but to bring it back to a state of completion such as may never have existed at any given moment.” On the church of la Madeleine de Vezelay in Vezelay, France he installed new statuary and stone not based on the original design at all, but rather of his own. His practice of ignoring historical accuracy and adding architectural elements based on aesthetics is a major reason that his work is not applauded among preservationists today. What remains important, however, is the recognition that Viollet-le-Duc’s work brought to the restoration of historic structures as well as the methods, technology and philosophy he shared in a ten-volume dictionary on architecture.  An American example of Viollet-le-Duc’s philosophy could arguably be seen in the preservation of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia where some restorations and reconstructions have occurred, in some instances, based on scant evidence, lending more to aesthetics than historical fact.

On the other end of the preservation spectrum sit Paul Leon and John Ruskin. Leon criticized Viollet-le-Duc’s methods believing that “a monument to be a testimony to the past must stay as the past bequeathed it.” He believed that pretending to restore a building to its original state is dangerous and deceitful because, while it saved a structure from eventual ruin, it provided an inaccurate record of the past. John Ruskin abhorred Viollet-le-Duc’s methods as well but took a more adamant stance regarding preservation. The 19th century writer and critic argued that a society has no right to improve or even attempt to restore the craftsmanship of another era. In his book The Seven Lamps of Architecture he wrote “it is impossible, as impossible as to raise the dead, to restore anything that has ever been great or beautiful in architecture.” He strongly believed that a building should be built to last and remain untouched. He felt that restoration wiped clean the character of a structure and said, “When we build, let us think that we build for ever.”

Most preservation projects fall somewhere in between the two extremes of the restoration spectrum. Whether to goal is to save an old building from demolition, preserving cultural heritage or foster urban revitalization, often times it is the ultimate goal of the restoration project that mandates where on the spectrum it will fall. If the purpose is to bring tourists to a site and encouraging economic growth in an area, as seen in the restoration of downtown districts like Cocoa Village, Florida, Viollet-le-Duc’s methods of favoring aesthetics over specific historical accuracy may be followed. Likewise, if the historical importance lies in the details surrounding the last person to inhabit a space, as in the Historic Rosseter House in Melbourne, FL it may be left as it was bequeathed.

Source: Historic Preservation: An Introduction to its History, Principles and Practice. Tyler, Norman, Ligibel, Ted, Tyler, Illene. Norton Publishing ISBN: 978-0-393-73273-3

22 Responses

  1. Maritza Rdorguez

    Historical preservation is a very important but a very difficult task. I believe that one of those task is fist finding grants to preserve this monument or homes and each monument range from constructed modern buildings to ancient remains and each requires different strategy of work and effort to maintain its integrity. preservation is also history, history that tells us about who we are, how life was in the past. it also gives us a look at how construction was done and how and why they used what they used for constructing these monuments. They had very little to work with but I believe that there construction was better than it is today. From them we are able to learn about their arts and culture. I find it historical homes and monuments fascinating they all tell a story of who they were and even how they thought. I believe a historical home or monument should not be restored to its original state. To be historical  it needs just be. We could construct around the structure leaving the original intact for a way of protecting the home or monument. I would agree with Paul Leon to restore a monument would be an inaccurate record of the past.Like anything else we all have an opinion as how things should be done and we should all respect peoples opinion we are all entitle to it. but I would disagree with Eugene emmanuel, how do we know how a building should have been the only one that would know that would have been the architect who drew the plans, and thats how it was meant to be. We as humans think that how we think things should be is the right way we tend to forget that the right way is the way of the inventor. The 19th century writer and critic was absolutely correct when he said that society had no right to improve or even attempt to restore the craftsmanship of anther era.He also said that when we build let us think that we build for ever and thats how everything we so as craftmans should be, to last for ever.

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  2. maritzaq rodriguez

    absolutely, craftmanship does’nt play a role in the industry at;s all about

    how fast they can produce and on to the next. They take no pride in the’re craftmanship.eith
    all the technology and advancement of this world, I would have rather lived
    in earlier times than now, not that there weren’t world issues but it
    was a better live.

  3. clair brown

    Whether a successful restoration of a historic building or a building restored closer to its original state, they are both attributes of a well built environment. Restoration goals can extend from modifications that display traces of historical significance to total demolition and rebuilding. Communities and historians often debate important features that should be maintained when considering the restoration of a historical structure. Viollet-le-Duc’s restoration philosophies may have neglected the historical perspective of preservation but his philosophies were his interpretation as an accomplished architect and his technological applications often included the use of more structurally stable materials and an emphasis on aesthetics.
    Paul Leon and John Ruskin’s philosophies to leave the historical structure in its original form does make an argument of true preservation however, it would only serve those who existed in its era. I would think that it would be more likely that as the structure deteriorates, so would its historical attributes and purpose. As historical facts are rerecorded and stories are passed down thru generations those important properties that a structure was known for may not appear as significant without some visual evidence. I’m not sure that some of the most popular historical landmarks like Colonial Williamsburg would be as well known without restoration. It is much easier to identify with a part of history when you can imagine the period because artifacts, structures and dwellings have been restored and rebuilt. Although there may be some structural changes and nuances that have replaced authenticity; the impact is a lot more lasting than a ruin.

  4. Jamie Goodwin

    It is no mistake that there is controversy between the views on architectural preservation and I can completely understand the multiple opinions related to this topic. I for one believe historical preservation is exceptionally important to implement for all cultures globally. In order to keep heritage on the paths and structures that were laid before us, one must be able to appreciate the time in which they were originated. Furthermore, I feel that if these same structures were left to deteriorate and eventually crumble into dust that future generations would begin to lack heritage in their local communities.
    Although I strongly agree with the concept of building a structure to last in time, I still cannot come to grips with Paul Leon and John Ruskin’s views on allowing a building to go untouched throughout history. I actually feel that it is our mission to preserve history even if that means we need to alter or refurbish certain aspects of a building. To me, it is similar to the idea of getting a facial as opposed to getting plastic surgery. A facial simply preserves youth without changing the structure of ones face, where as a surgery will permanently alter an individuals looks by compromising the authenticity of what was originally created.

  5. Saidee

    Once the group or community has made the decision to preserve a building it is a great milestone and one that should be characterized as to how the group or community would want to preserve it. What was the value of the building to the public? What aspects made them want to preserve it? That should be the focal point of the decision going forward in the process of original state, gradually deterioration or the earlier condition.
    I for one would value a building for not being reconstructed as it should have been. Maritza stated it perfectly, who are we to build a structure as it should have been, only that architect knows what he wanted weather it is to our modern day standards or not. That is what makes it of value to us now; to me it removes the historical aspects all together even if it is done under crucial guidelines it won’t quite carry the essence of the reason for preservation.
    The other two procedures of original state and gradually deterioration I would possibly lean towards. If the reason for earlier condition preservation is to attract tourists I personally feel it is not a valid point. There has been numerous building that are not structurally sound to enter and I still travel to experience the historic building. Allow a building to bring you back to its era with its modern day flaws and all. For a historical building should not be valued just because it is standing or its four walls that hold it but its era that it functioned in.

  6. Jan C Reed

    To restore or to not restore has been a question that has affected my family many times over the past several years as our company does demolitions as a part of our business. While, it is always great for business to obtain a demolition job, I have seen some houses that looked like they would be perfect candidates for restoration torn down and replaced by a huge home with no historic relevance or style. In Brevard County, many homes that are demolished are on the river or ocean with the properties being purchased as the location to build a families dream home. It is perfectly reasonable to desire a home with a great view; it is just too bad more people do not think of restoring a historic home rather than demolishing it!
    Although Emmanuel Violiet-le-Duc contributed to the restoration movement through his ten volume dictionary of architecture and is known as the world’s first restoration architect, I do not agree with his philosophy of restoring a building as they “should have been.” Many of the features of historic buildings that are not frequently found in buildings today such as a cupola are what make them unique, and historically relevant. The word cupola is derived from Latin meaning a small cup (Latin cupa) and indicates a vault resembling an upside down cup. They serve as a lantern or belfry or for decorative purposes above a main roof. The cupola was developed during the Renaissance time as an outgrowth of the oculus which is a circular opening used in Roman architecture to allow light and air in the buildings. The cupola is just one example of a unique architectural feature that adds personality and charm to a building whether it should be there or not is only the owner’s decision.
    I agree more with the philosophy of John Ruskin who said “Therefore, when we build, let us think that we build for ever. Let it not be for present delight, nor for present use alone; let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of the, “See! This our fathers did for us.” For, indeed, the greatest glory of a building is not in its stones, or in its gold. Its glory is in its Age.”

    Sources:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cupola, 5/21/2012.
    Tyler, Norman; Ligibel, Ted; Tyler, Ilene, Historic Preservation An Introduction to Its History, Principles, and Practice. Norton and Company, New York, 2009.

  7. Bryan Mozo

    Although I believe that all philosophies on the preservation of old buildings are relevant, it is also important to not let these views be so extreme that they hinder the usefulness of the space. Restoring an old house or building to its original glory might be perfectly fine in a museum or a similar setting, but in a real life setting such as a renovated home or office building, not updating the interiors or exteriors might make some of the space unusable.
    I feel like it would be a better to restore the facades of buildings and renovate the interiors keeping in mind that it is important to also try and capture the same feel of the restored exterior inside of the building’s interiors. I also think it is important to keep restore buildings because it is better for the environment. I believe you can restore older buildings and still be “green”.
    Even though all three of these designer’s views are valid I feel that if you take these viewpoints to the extreme then you may end up hindering the design of the building. Even though you may want to capture the “character” and “feel” of the original buildings, sometimes you have to remember that people use their homes and offices in different ways than the people who may have originally used the house or office.

  8. Coral Moyle

    The struggle between deciding to restore a building or leave it untouched is not an easy decision once you start digging into the idea. There are many cons and pros to each side. There has to be a balance between the two. If a historic building is restored to its previous state but done in a more modern construction it could take away from the historical part of the building. By restoring a historical building though we are possible adding more years to the building for it to be seen by visitors such as ourselves, if it’s done correctly that it. Though restoring it may add more years, it could take away from the historical aspect and also it wouldn’t be its original built. Though on the other hand to let a historical building be untouched would keep it in its original built but without restoring and fixing parts that have weathered away, the whole structure could basically demolish itself so to speak.
    I am not quite sure which is the correct way because the answer is not black and white , its shades of gray. I do feel that there should be a balance between the two. I don’t feel that a historical building to be completely demolished or completely changed from its original state if it can be helped. When a historical building is completely changed I feel that it losses all its value. Though I do not feel that a building should be completely untouched to the point where a building is detearating. The balance needs to be found between the two were a historic building is being kept up with but not changed from its original state. I know this is sometimes easier said than done do to other conditions but it would be nice it that balance was meet.

  9. Jennifer Sartori

    Difference of Opinion

    Historic preservation all depends on the view of history that the restorer has; or possibly the perception that is hoping to be preserved or even redefined. The different philosophies of historic preservation described in the text Historic Preservation, An Introduction to It’s History, Principles, and Practice by Norman Tyler are very interesting, and in my opinion both serve a purpose. The differences between Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc’s “better than” theory versus Paul Leon and John Ruskin’s theories of “build forever” to eliminate “pretend” and “deceitful” recreations, allow for creative diversity among preservation enthusiasts and possibly a greater number of participants. Having a singular objective is purposeful but having different routes to reach that goal are ok.
    Every preservation project is begun for a different reason; historical importance, cultural, artistic, economical, or ecological…etc. For a time, the past became a burden; “after four-and-a-half centuries of artistic exploration, it might have been argued that any further fruitful studies (of the past) were impossible” (1) It was everywhere and overwhelming, to the point of suffocation. (1) This feeling along with the Industrial Revolution spurred great innovation as well as great destruction of our build past. By accepting the two different philosophies hopefully this feeling will not be revisited. As a society we think of things as disposable, we treat objects just as that, objects; not something that could contribute to our present and future. By rebuilding as it could have been, or leaving it alone to be studied “untouched”; either option provides an opportunity to participate, remember and take something away that will impact and involve future generations.

    Source: Historic Preservation, Curatorial Management of the Build World.Fitch, Marston James. McGraw-Hill publishing ISBN: 0-8139-1272-5

  10. Lana

    In looking at the philosophies of these three preservationists I can see pros and cons to each. John Ruskin’s approach of leaving a structure as it is can serve as a memorial of sorts to honor what was once. However, if a visitor has no context to see as it was in its glory days this can be a hard thing to do. Violett-de-luc’s approach of making a structure better than it was can lead to misinterpretations of context but can give a visitor an impression of the surroundings, however inaccurate. Paul Leon in preserving a structure as it is can help visitors see the beautiful detail still intact. However, if a building is in a state of rubble this does no good.

    I think the best way to preserve a structure is a combination of philosophies. With today’s building codes adding extra exits and fire protection one is forced to preserve a structure safer than in was, similar to Violett-de-luc’s making it better. However, as I have learned in this class, making it better does not mean changing the character of a structure. These safeguards can be included without being obtrusive. A building can still be preserved, with these additions, as it was giving a visitor a sense of time and context.

  11. Alison Carver

    These two philosophies fall on either end of the restoration spectrum. Can’t the solution fall somewhere in between? Can’t we strive to help but not repair? Nurture but not navigate? Jamie’s analogy of a facial is perfect. Where do we draw the line between maintaining a structure over a period of time and fixing what might break? I, for one see nothing wrong with a little exfoliation to allow my skin to continue to thrive to it’s fullest potential. A boob job or face-lift is a different story, as it would change my original and intended “structure”. I think preservation should also be careful to not leave out an equally important sector of history that might not have been in the position to “build forever”, as John Ruskin believed. Small slave shacks or indigenous huts might be more significant because of the event or act related to the location rather than the actual architectural structure, but the worth of historical preservation is equally prevalent. Finally, I feel I should point out that Leon and Ruskin’s philosophy just isn’t sustainable. There is only so much land available on this planet. If all buildings are just left to ruin, we will eventually run out of space to build anew.

  12. Giovana Soares

    I must say that even though today Viollet-le-Duc’s view is not the most acceptable regarding architect restoration, I can understand – or at least imagine – the thought process he went through when deciding that buildings should be restored as they should have been built. (I neither agree nor disagree with his approach, though.) Back then, I would assume that if the building was deteriorating, it would probably be time to improve it. And at that time (19th century) maybe the resources to restore it to its original condition/shape/architecture would cost a lot of money, and this option would have been out of the equation when restoring a building. And, again, even though it is not the most accepted, I see his way of restoration as some sort of art. And that’s because he added architectural elements of his own to historic pieces. A combination of styles coming from two or more different architects would probably result in a very intricate and unique piece. On the other side, the piece would not have its own characteristics. But if you think about it, imagine many architects working on a building or an architectural piece throughout its lifetime (centuries or thousands of years). If there is enough documentation about the piece, imagine how much history this piece will have.
    A very simple example to illustrate what Viollet-le-Duc did would be to compare an old collector’s car that has been modified with different parts throughout the year with one that hasn’t. The one that was not modified probably is worth a lot more in the market.
    Now let’s take another example. Ben Wilson is an artist who makes art with chewed gum. If he would chew the gums himself to create the art, it would not have as much character as by creating art with gum that other people chewed. In this case, collaboration makes it more fun and makes you think about the story of every person who participated in it. Every person that collaborated in this was important.
    I know it’s not the best example ever, but I hope you understand my point. Even though I am neutral about his work, Viollet-le-Duc’s approach captivates me because I can see art in that type of restoration.

  13. Chelsea pushman

    I do not necessarily agree completely with either of these philosophies presented by Viollet-le-Duc and Paul Leon. Viollet-le-Duc’s method to restoring totally takes away from the originality of the structure. Improving the building and adding elements that do not coincide with the history of the piece is taking the meaning out of “historic” preservation. Le-Duc strips the building of its true character and the historic design. The uniqueness and historic way the building was designed is the real meaning for preserving in the first place. The historic value is completely wiped away once you change the structure to a whole new style with features not reflecting the true character of the building.

    My only philosophy for preservation is that a structure should be restored/salvaged if there is historical significance, whether that be because a famous person lived there or the distinct design is historic and we don’t see it that often. I think restoring should only go as far as fixing up the building so that it is not going to fall down and not cause any danger. It does not need to be repainted and redecorated. The rustic and natural ware is what makes it so cool! When you change something from natural to artificial it just is not the same. It ruins the character and time value that we never will get back as years keep passing by.

    These buildings offer insight into how people lived back then and what materials they used to build with. Leon claims restoration is not good. Well I think we should restore just not in a invasive way by fabricating the building to look more aesthetically pleasing rather than how it was originally.

  14. Jessica

    This matches well with what we have been talking about in class lately. It is a very hard question that comes up about if the places should be left or if they should be restored.
    I believe that Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc idea was a little farfetched, I do not think it is another architect’s job to be able to say which way is necessarily better, and to change it to meet their preferences when that’s not how the building was originally designed. I believe that if this was common place in preservation than it would be difficult to accurately educated and remember the past. However, Paul Leon and John Rusking may have gone too far, with their beliefs that buildings should not be altered at all. I believe that for a building to remain safe and to provide shelter (which is its basic role) that it is important that it is restored to be able to be safely used by the public.
    I enjoyed reading your comment on how restoration projects fall within the two extremes, I think this is important to remember; not every way of thinking will work for every situation. However, overall I think restoration is very important, letting historic properties sit a waste away seems like such devastation for properties that hold important significance or that can keep a culture from disappearing. Even when preservationist try to do what’s best for the property sometimes it can lead to hurting the property so it is important that people looking to preserve a site keep in mind the responsibilities which they are committing to.

  15. Abdulaziz AlQahtani

    Preserving an area is a very important thing to do now a days due to a very rich history’s that have accord in a specific building or area. However, some places has gotten too old where it can not stand it self anymore. Therefore, it is important to restore places so that it would last for a long time. Although, preserving a place that is very old and trying to restore isn’t a very easy thing. There are many questions that pop up when it comes to a project like this. However, main question among those entire questions is how to preserve it. Weather it stays in the same condition and each once a while, try to rebuild it. Or rebuild it in a state where it wouldn’t break down and would last for a long time where they wouldn’t have to rebuild or try to do anything but to try to preserve it. Although the bad part about this is that the building wouldn’t be the same. There would be changes to the building so it won’t be the same. I just believe that the houses should be built that where it won’t have to be built or restore. From what I see, houses back than were built much stronger than now. I just believe that builders back than took pride on what they’re building and this is why most places that’s being preserve still exists today. I just think that the material that is being used back than is somehow stronger but the way they build things now is much smarter, that’s the only difference I see from the time that has been change.

  16. Emily Windsor

    (Week 16)
    Lesa.lorusso,
    I really like this article. It gives great examples of each different preservation point of views. I personally do not like Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc’s “should have been” philosophy because I feel like he completely changes the building and therefore I believe his way changes the history. He does do great work and the buildings are more aesthetically pleasing, however, the fact still remains that to change the building is to change the historical content in which the building existed. I do not agree with Paul Leon’s philosophy of letting the building just deteriorate and fall. I also do not agree with John Ruskin’s quote, “It is impossible, as impossible as to raise the dead, to restore anything that has ever been great or beautiful in architecture.” I fall in between these two preservational groups because I believe that the buildings should be preserved, but they should be restored in their original manner and still be historically accurate. I think that historical buildings should be preserved because if the building falls, which after facing natural weathering all eventually would, then the history would eventually be lost same as if the preservationist completely redid the building. I understand that John Ruskin believed that a building should remain untouched because a building should be built to last forever, but that is just not always the case. Sometimes circumstances happen and buildings crumble. For example, Frank Lloyd Wright’s waterfall building, if we were to just let nature take its course and never help it then it would be gone and crumbled in what another 20 years. That beautiful building would never be seen again except for in pictures. History is an important part of our future and it should be treated as such; just like Shakespeare said, “History is prologue”.

  17. Drew Lacy

    As is often the case with two extreme approaches to a problem, I think the solution lies between these two extremes.

    The idea that we should add upon old structures to “improve” them is almost comically pompous. How can you improve on something when you don’t even have the same goal as the original architect? (And how can you take pride in it when you’re touting modern technology?)

    At the same time, the other extreme also takes it too far, in my opinion. Watching a historical structure crumble to the ground for the sake of leaving it untouched limits the building’s historical impact in the future.

    I think the best place to stand in this debate is firmly in the middle ground. Historical preservation is not historical improvement, and embellishing modern flairs on these buildings is essentially spitting in the face of the original architect and design. (Even if that architect is just an unnamed farmer or laborer.) But essentially ignoring a decaying building out of some internalized sense of strictness is just too much.

    We should be using our modern technology to help preserve these buildings and slow their aging. Of course, that’s a hard line to set and a hard principle to define, and every situation is unique. Applying one set of rules or ideals to every situation can only end in disaster.

    One thing is for certain: seeing historical buildings falling under the plows of heavy machinery is always saddening and a loss. Regardless of what preservation choice we make, we should do something.

  18. Sandra Fox

    To Restore or Not to Restore
    After reading all of the articles, once I started it was hard not to read all of them, I selected, To Restore or Not to Restore written by Lesa Lorusso in the May 15, 2012 blog of the Florida Historical Society. This article seems to sum up all the other articles.
    When should a building or home be restored and to what extent? There are several views on that question. Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879) first restorian who’s methods are now discredited philosophy was buildings should be rebuilt not necessarily as originally built but as “should have been”. However, Paul Leon and John Ruskin had different beliefs. Leon’s belief was pretending to restore a building to its original state was not only dangerous and deceitful but provides an inaccurate record of the past. Ruskin believed that society had no right to improve or attempt to restore the craftsmanship from another era.
    All of these views bring an interesting angle; if the purpose is to bring in tourism and economic growth then perhaps Viollet-le-Duc’s method might prevail. However, if the importance of the historical building is directly linked to the last person living there may be part of the value is to leave it in the condition that its last famous or infamous inhabitant left it.
    I love the quote from At First Glance: An Artist’s View of Rockledge’s Historical Residential Neighborhoods.” Houses and commercial and public buildings are like conch shells. They have survived the living animals that made them and have the ability to persist indefinitely after their creators”.

  19. Elizabeth Kiser

    This is a really good article that will allow people to understand that there are many in betweens when it comes to the question of whether to restore or not to restore, and it is tricky. I personally have to say I am an in-between person. I believe that Viollet-le-Duc, Paul Leon, and John Ruskin all had good reasoning for what they wrote or said. I believe all three persons opinions have value in what we decide to restore and not restore.

    When it comes to the opinions of Viollet-le-Duc, I have to agree that he is right to a point. As an architect that was hired to restore Notre-Dame in Paris, his opinions and writings do make sense. His theory and writings state that you should build what you are restoring to make it better.

    When it comes to Paul Leon and John Ruskin, their opinions also have a good point. Paul Leon stated that we should just keep the building they way they are and preserve them, but not “fix” them, while John Ruskin says we should not restore buildings at all.

    This is why the “to restore or not restore” is such a difficult decision. I am in-between because of these three opinions. I believe that each building is different and with that, each option should be considered. Should we live in a house that has stairs made of wood from the late 1800’s? When you hear the creaks and see the bows in the wood, should we not repair and “fix” those steps with the same type of wood, but from a tree that was just cut last week? Windows from the early 1900’s that are not able to stand up to the hurricanes Florida has, should we replace them with stronger energy efficient windows to preserve what is still left of the house? These are just some of the questions that have to be answered when preserving a building. I do believe that those buildings that have withstood mother nature and people for the last 100 years should be preserved. The questions is though to what extent.

  20. amna murshed

    In the perspective of sustainable development, I believe preserving buildings, or re-using them in general is a good thing. But what the buildings are used for and how to preserve, I think that all depends on the location, main/ original purpose, and condition of the building.
    For example the Green Gables house in Downtown Melbourne, FL, maintained its original shape, and was occupied, till natural causes led it to no longer be in condition for residence or use.
    On the other hand, if the building that is intended to be preserved, I think the best solution is to maintain the original exterior and if possible the interior as well.
    As we learned in the Historic Preservation class, there are many different views and thoughts about historic preservation and what to do with an old structure. Eugene Emmanuel, Viollet-le-Duc, and Paul Leon and John Ruskin are three famous preservationists that had very strong views and thought about preservation.
    I would say that I do not completely agree with Eugene Emmanuel; that is because he strongly believes that preservation is to rebuild a structure/ building the way it should have been, and historic preservation is to preserve a structure/ building the way it was built and maintaining its original look so that future generations can experience it. His theory totally defeats the purpose of “Historic Preservation”.
    And yes, sometimes historic preservation projects do not succeed, but that does not mean historic preservation will never work. There are many places and cities that have been preserved, such as downtown Cocoa.

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