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When old traditions meet new techniques : rethinking on the decreasing efforts from the communites in preventive conservation in China WU Meiping Internation.

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Presentation on theme: "When old traditions meet new techniques : rethinking on the decreasing efforts from the communites in preventive conservation in China WU Meiping Internation."— Presentation transcript:

1 When old traditions meet new techniques : rethinking on the decreasing efforts from the communites in preventive conservation in China WU Meiping Internation Scholar, RLICC, K.U.Leuven,Belgium PhD Candidate, Southeast University,Nanjing,China Inauguration UNESCO Chair on Preventive Conservation, Maintenance and Monitoring of Monuments and Sites Leuven, 24-25 March 2009

2 Introductions Preventive Conservation, seems a new concept in China, but acturally, many measures related to it are not new, and they have long been existed throughout the history. What are old traditions in Preventive Conservation in ancient China? Understanding changes in the special social, historic and political background. Two monitoring cases: what have happened when new techniques came? And what have changed? Where is the traditional efforts from Chinese community?

3 Some historic events in China In 1949, New China, the People’s Republic of China was founded 1966-1976, the Cultural Revolution In1978, the open policy In1985, a signatory to the


5 Old Traditions Traditonal conservation system: 1)timely examination and maintenance;2) periodic reconstructions and conservation of the roof, and so on. With a great many buildings in such a vast territory, efforts from local communities had played a very important role.

6 Traditional Preventive Maintenance from Chinese Community before 1950s A traditional system; Periodic preventive maintenance both by owners and local craftsmen, usually, before the rainy season in Spring, and at the beginning of Winter Craftsmen cried their services along the street, for repairing the leaky roof, changing the tiles or window glasse, and so on. Most owners were experts themselves, knew everything about buildings, and took actions whenever necessary Craftsmen and owners coexisted and maintained buildings together.

7 Lopping off the History: 1950s-1970s With the great social reforms after 1949, traditional Chinese communities disappeared, ownerships of architectural heritage changed, many valuable historic buildings were transferred from private owners to the government; The traditional preventive maintenance based on local communities and owners were gradually lost; Sporadic preventive measures to some very important architectural heritages in 1950s; Great damages to architectural heritage during the Cultural Revolution(1966-1976); Scientific monitoring of architectural heritage appeared in the latter part of 1970s.

8 Repairing Concentrated and Government Centred from 1980s to 1990s Rescue measures and repairings for those destroyed important buildings in the Cultural Revolution; Heritage conservation work has been under the auspices of various government agencies. Heavy intervence by government leading to the lack of independence of heritage professionals and local communities. seldom spontaneous efforts from local communities in remote places, almost no non-government-organization existed nor could they play any role in conservation field.

9 Following the World: from 1980s to 1990s China has been trying its best to keep in step with the world, either in conservation theories or conservation techniques. Traditional views and practices of conservation may still be deeply rooted among the general public, heritage officials are looking to internationally accepted conservation principles as a superior way to regulate heritage practice. The importance of scientific documentation and maintenance were emphasized, and monitoring of some very important architectural heritage were put into practice. Almost all these actions were following the international way.

10 Hu Qiu Pagada Located in Suzhou, Jiangsu Built in around 959 A.D. Of brick and clay mortar. Seven floors, 47.5 meters high, with an octagonal plan. Leaning towards northwest 400 years ago because of the groundwork, now leaning almost 2.3 meters from the centre.

11 Two leaning towers

12 Preventive Measures between 1950s-1970s 1954: Su Zhou government invited Prof.Liu Dunzhen (Southeast University) to investigate 1955: geological investigation by Academy of Industrial Building Design 1956: based on, a draft plan of reinforcement came out, Prof.Liu Dunzhen gave seven comments on reinforcements 1956: got fund of 50,000 RMB from the provincial government, the native engineer Wang Guochang pointed out Hooping Reinforcement around the Pagada Body, and an expert meeting was held Prof.Liu Dunzhen(1897-1968), A Famous Academian and Expert

13 Preventive Measures between 1950s-1970s 1957: rescuing reinforcement started on 19 th March, completed in September, costing nearly 100,000; Prof.Liu gave suggestions on matters needing attention for the reinforcement. August 1957: a lighting conductor was set up on the Pagada 1965: experts’ investigation again 1975: resetting the lighting conductor 1976: experts’s suggestions on groundwork investigations, leaning measuring, condition examination, and groundwork reinforcement Temporary reinforcement measures during rescuing engineering

14 Monitoring of Hu Qiu Pagada Ancient monitoring and preventive measures(mystery) Measuring from 1949-1979 (no scientific system, different persons in charge, datas in chaos) Monitoring from 1979-1989(essential) Monitoring from 1989 until now (based on the old system, new instruments, less monitoring than before—one a season)

15 Ancient Monitoring of Hu Qiu Pagada No documentations on ancient monitorings Visible treatments to the groundwork Leaning 400 years ago, then how could it stand until today? A mistery, and a research topic. Chinese Ancient Level

16 Monitoring from 1979-1989 Monitoring programme/system set up in 1979, different institutions in charge in different period, but the monitoring outline or plan almost keeped the same as from the very beginning; Measuring instruments: DSI Level, T3 Transit Instrument, Hand Strain Gauge and so on; measurements of ground settlement, horizontal displacement, crack changing, and layer leaning, and so on. 73 monitoring points: 24 points for first-floor settlement, 9 points for ground settlement, 16 points for horizontal displacement, and 24 for layer leaning

17 Monitoring of Horizontal Displacement and Crack Changing



20 Monitoring points for Ground Settlement

21 Monitoring points for Vertical Crack Changing in the First Floor

22 Analysis of Ground Settlement after the Beihu Gate Project in 1984

23 ---25,000 for horizontal displacement ---25,000 for ground settlement ---3000 for layer leaning ---7000 for crack changing 60,000 datas collected after 10 years monitoring


25 Analysis of Ground Settlement

26 Monitoring of Main Hall of Baoguo Temple nowadays Located in Ningbo, Zhejiang Built in 1103, corridor added in 1684; Very typical timber-frame building, no nails, with speicial joints, carrying a heavy roof of 50 tons.

27 Monitoring system Set up in 2006, started to work in 2007 Automatic monitoring system: computer, monitoring station 3 separate parts: Information collection(Environmental information, information of material and construction), information management, and information exhibition Monitoring of temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction,rain fall Monitoring of horizontal displacement, ground settlement, insect movements


29 Monitoring datas



32 Comparing these two monitoring cases Of Hu Qiu Pagada In 1970-1980s Nessary and directly related to rescuing repairing and reinforcement Set up by Academy of Building Design Local Institution of Measure in practice, by local engineers More hand work, hand measured datas Datas could be simply understood More practical effects Of Main Hall of Baoguo Temple In 2000s No direct relation with practical projects Set up by computer department and architecture department, and computer department were in main role Automatically in practice following the set procedure Computer work, datas come out automatically Datas not simple, only experts understand and explain them More theoretic meaning

33 What have we got? Automatic monitoring Scientific datas Immediate datas Computer engineers and Independent monitoring workers Rely on computers and scientific figures What have we lost? Field watching and hand feeling Experiential datas Immediate analysis Local craftsmen and other related engineers Spontanous efforts from local people or community And...... When new techniques come, the communities seems growing distant......

34 when old traditions meet new scientific techniques, how could we do better?...... We prefer to ask for help from techniques rather than fine traditions, how to change this attitude?...... Rethinking......

35 Rethinking: from latter 1990s on in 2000 ‘Setting of Heritage’ in the 15th General Assembly of ICOMOS in Xi’an in 2005 organized by ICOMOS China in 2007 Rethinking on the architectural features, the traditional conservation measures and the international charters, trying to find the most suitable way,not just following the world. Rethinking on Preventive Conservation both from the traditional and international aspects.

36 How could we find the way for communities in Chinese up-down conservation system?...... Social reforms, traditional communities no longer existed, where are new communities for China?...... We need communities

37 Email: Thank you!

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