Conservation, Restoration and Reconstruction

Conservation means preservation to prevent decay/deterioration to prolong the life and maintain the authenticity and integrity of the building/structure, including internal spaces, sculpture and artefacts, furnishings and architectural decoration according to their original appearance. Conservation provides insight of past history, tradition and culture.

Restoration is a process that attempts to return the heritage object/structure to some previous state that the restorer imagines was the “original”. Restoration becomes essential due to aging of structures, disasters and some additions/ alterations/ modifications carried out during life of a heritage structure.

Sometimes, reconstruction becomes essential. Reconstruction means altering a heritage object/feature by introduction of new or old materials to produce a work which respects the original. Reconstruction in heritage may be undertaken for such monuments/ buildings when such an intervention is the only way and without which its survival is impossible. Reconstruction should be attempted only in extreme cases, such as damage or destruction due to the impact of a disaster (natural or human induced) or structural failure, and should be undertaken only on basis of evidence and not conjecture.

Conservation, restoration and reconstruction measures are interconnected. Therefore according to the circumstances, they may be carried out one after the other or simultaneously. When these works are carried out by incorrect or inappropriate methods, they cause great deal of unintentional aesthetical and technical damage. On the other hand well designed modern forms and materials carefully chosen to respect their old/existing environment/building can be rewarding in aesthetical and technical terms. Identification of original material is of great importance. Lack of knowledge can inadvertently damage the original features destroying the original character of the building. Preservation of information of restoration work for future reference in written as well as through photographs can prove to be very useful.

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