Architectural Conservation and Restoration

Faculty of Engineering, LTH

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Current projects


A Finance Model for the Built Cultural Heritage - Proposals for improvements of future Heritage Economics

The aim of this research study is to develop dynamic and general funding models designed to be tools fit for use in practical building conservation. Under the motto economy, efficiency, effectiveness, this could help to ensure our built heritage for the future. The models will be based on the results achieved from inventory studies and analyses of the financial structures in 27 case studies of building conservation representing eight European countries.

Adequate supply of finance has a decisive influence on the work process of building conservation since this guarantees its existence. This is often the case with other processes as well, but funding of the built heritage is specifically dependent on funding structure, since this has a major impact on the final result: the renovated building. Different circumstances such as timetables, intervals, financiers expectations, level of financing and interruptions, to mention only a few, can even jeopardise the future of the heritage.

In previously filed studies (Byggnadsvård kring Östersjön, 2001, I. P. Skarin), the work process of building conservation has been analysed in conservation projects from five different countries. The various impacts of factors legible in the work process – object value, team, legal framework and finance – were surveyed. These results have shaped the present follow-up research project, this time focusing on the finance factor alone, since it holds a unique position in the work process. Unlike the other three factors, finance is no respecter  of national and political boundaries. This helps to make finance studies and solutions general and therefore relevant to different countries.

The aim of this second study of the work process of building conservation, doctor’s degree (PhD), is to create dynamic, general and sustainable financial models in order to secure our architectural heritage for the future. The models derive from the analysed results of case studies reflecting the financial situation in conservation projects. Eight European countries, namely Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Lithuania, Norway, Poland and Sweden, were represented. In three of these countries the main financier was the government, which made the cash flow fluctuate in order to suit the correct political cultural budget. In the others countries building conservation received only a minor part of its funding from government sources, and here a great variety of private and specified foundations have been developed.

The theoretical framework for financial models adaptable to the work process of building conservation is missing today, which makes the study relevant and urgent. The effects of the existing financial systems will be investigated through case studies in order to suggest more efficient and sustainable financial solutions through new finance models for the architectural heritage.

This research project is divided in the following three parts:

A comparative field study of the financial structure and its effects in 27 building conservation projects carried out during 1990-2004 in Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Poland, Lithuania and Sweden.

  1. Theoretical analysis of the relevant literature within the economics research field on finance models and its applicability for building conservation.
  2. New dynamic, general and sustainable financial models will be developed, based on the results of the two previous studies.

- Ingela Pålsson.Skarin

Dissertation: 9 of December 2011


A Future for the Past of Desert Vernacular Architecture 

Desert vernacular architecture has always been the product of a sustainable building cycle. People inherited the traditional way of building from their ancestors and the knowledge was transferred and developed from one generation to another. Inhabitants responded to their environment and climate through trial and error in a way that satisfied their needs and aspirations to create a developing building tradition. This natural and cultural cycle is about to disappear in many desert vernacular settlements of the world, and from Egypt as well. Global ambitions and socio-economic development are some of the factors behind inhabitants deserting their houses, leaving them to deteriorate or demolishing them to build new houses using industrialized materials.  People are seeking modern living facilities which respond to needs that their desert vernacular houses sometimes no longer satisfy. As a result of these changes, centuries of accumulated tangible and intangible tacit knowledge is being lost. The aim of this research is to develop a methodology for conserving desert vernacular architecture through designing a theoretical conservation model for thinking re-vernacular in a contemporary context. The scope of the research is to investigate the applicability of this theoretical model as a tool for conserving desert vernacular and for supporting its continued existence.

- Marwa Dabaieh

Dissertation: 5 of December 2011


What is a Modern furniture classic? A case study of a group of furniture with roots in the Swedish 1900's. 

Our furniture history, as well as several other genres, goes in cycles. A style period often experience after a certain time a renaissance, sometimes modified, such as neo rococo during the late 19th century, sometimes as antique, as Gustavian furniture during the 1920s. Withal, there are a number of types of furniture that survived these cycles and maintained its popularity over time. With some ups and downs. They usually referred to as classics, design classics or modern furniture classics. It is this category of furniture with roots in the Swedish 20th Century this study focus on. These furniture has left a clear imprint in the Swedish furniture history. It has been of interest to examine them for several respects. One is their ability to survive generation after generation.

The overall objective of the study is to identify the concept of modern furniture classics and explore, discuss and analyze the same. It also aims to outline what characteristics of modern furniture classics considered likely to have, identify this furniture and seek their origins and emergence. 

- Anna Wahlöö

The research project is in progress and aim to result in a PhD thesis.


Non Invasive Analysis of Cultural Heritage Material

Jenny worked as a post doc researcher in 2009 at the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program and the Archaeomaterials Group in Los Angeles, USA. Currently working as a post doc at the Division with research on non invasive methods for Cultural Heritage including hyperspectral imaging, documentation and analyses of heritage buildings and artefacts.

At present the interdisciplinary project concerning the antique villa, Casa di Augusto, at the Palatine hill in central Rome is undertaken. The project concerns studies of present status of the historic walls and rooms as well as plans for future conservation. Both studies on site as well as laboratory experiments is performed in collaboration with architects, archaeologists, conservators, biologists, chemists from CNR-IFAC, Florence, Universitá La Sapienza, Rome and the Swedish Institute in Rome.

Furthermore, studies on industrial heritage and reuse and adaptation of church buildings are implemented.

On December 14-15, 2010 the bilateral workshop 'Lasers for Cultural Heritage' were held at the Italian Cultural Institute in Stockholm with focus on future research and applications of lasers working in Cultural Heritage. Programme.

 - Jenny Hällström


Natural Stone in Architecture

The Division is performing research on natural stone applications in buildings that aim to increase sustainability and quality design of architecture. The research is part of a project organized by the Swedish Stone Industry.

- Mats Edström


Completed projects

South Swedish colour schemes from the 19th century to modernism.

This project is particularly intended to shed light on the importance of colour selection for settlement conservation and to contribute towards a better understanding of colour experiences, e.g. when discussing the colouring of the public environment.

Colouring has an important bearing on the experience of architecture and the built environment. Colour and colour combinations vary and are an important part of the identity of historically interesting environments.

Local variations of colouring are often slight and sublime and of great importance for the overall impression created by settlement. How does local colouring vary? The basic idea of the project is that colour combinations vary according to time, place and the function of the building. In the initial work on the Licentiate thesis, a study was made of the overall colouring of buildings in a number of geographically and chronologically limited areas, in order to consolidate this statement.

In the second part of the project, now in progress, which will conclude with a PhD thesis, the study is being deepened in two of the geographic areas previously studied, so as to be able to describe in greater detail the character and origins of the local colourings.

- Richard Kjellström

Licentiate thesis 2004. Exterior colouring of housing development in the 19th century – Four areas of south Sweden.

Conference text: Color and Paints 2004. Local colouring and regional identity: Colours on buildings exterior. Porto Alegre. Ed. Caivano J. L.

Conference text; Paint Research in Building Conservation 2005. Interpretation and accessibility to the public: a challenge for architectural paint research. London. Eds. Bregnhøi L., Hughes, H., Lindbom, J., Olstad,T. & Verweij, E.

PhD thesis 2010. Exterior Colours at Rural Dwellings in Southern Sweden during the 19th Century - To increase knowledge regarding local differentations.


Steering instruments for architectural quality in the planning, construction and property management of airports

There are today some 40 Swedish civil airfields with regular air services, 12 of which in 2005 were owned and operated by LFV/the State. The period between 1994 and 2001 saw a steady growth of air traffic, accompanied by capacity enlargement of both runway systems and airport buildings. In 1998 the Government and Riksdag (parliament) resolved on a national quality programme for architecture and design, whereupon the governmental building and property management agencies drew up action programmes and other policy documents concerning their architectural qualities. In 1998 LFV adopted an action programme of its own, setting forth architectural quality targets both for new buildings and for its ongoing property management.

The aim of this project is, by studying a representative sample of civilian airfields, to:

- investigate and describe the settlement-related and architectural values of the airports,

- to investigate in what way and with what results the LFV Architecture & Design action programme has been implemented,

- their construction and civil engineering projects for the period 1994-2003,

- the steering instruments used in the project processes involved,

- the results achieved and

- how they can and should be acted on in the property management phase.

- Mats Beckman

Licentiate thesis 2010. Flygplatsens arkitektur. Om flyget, flygplatserna och deras byggnader.


Remote hyperspectral laser-induced UV-fluorescence imaging - a non-invasive method for the architectural heritage

The aim of this project, aided by a mobile system, is to use UV fluorescence and lidar (Light Detection And Ranging) to document and investigate the surface of a historic building. The method has been developed to give different pictures of reality from those which can be read off within the supremely limited wavelength range of the human eye. The technique is used in the field of hyperspectral imaging and can provide opportunities for new topics of enquiry and analyses for building investigations in the conservation sector. Spectroscopic reading is a very powerful technique which can be used for spatially mapping the concentration of atoms and molecules, temperature differences and other physical phenomena. Applications of this technique will then be developed in a very wide spectrum. Making other wavelengths “see” and in images visualise the result yields images of changes in the surfaces and materials and provides an opportunity of identification without sampling.

The mobile method also makes it possible to carry out investigations in adverse weather, visibility and distance conditions and without needing to put up scaffolding or cordon off an area (we have carried out investigations at distances of 60-100 metres). In this project, ever since it began in April 2003, we have, for example, been working with Övedskloster Castle in Skåne, the Coliseum and Lateran Baptistery in Rome and a host of different material specimens with various conservation agent treatments. The investigations have above all been carried out on inorganic materials such as natural stone and brick. This project is an innovative international joint project involving Lund University (Architectural Conservation & Restoration, Atomic Physics), the CNR-IFAC Institute in Florence, the Swedish Institute in Rome and the responsible authorities and local research institutes in the places concerned.

- Jenny Hällström

Licentiate thesis 2005. Application of the Fluorescence Lidar Techniques in the Architectural Heritage.

PhD thesis 2008. Non-Invasive Monitoring of Architectural Heritage – Remote Fluorescence Lidar Imaging.


New funding models for building conservation

We are a research group in the Architecture and Built Environment Department of the Faculty of Engineering (LTH), Lund University, Department of Architectural Conservation and Restoration, who are working to chart funding support for building conservation and restoration in six northern European countries (the UK, Norway, Germany, Denmark and Sweden).

The aim of the study is to devise dynamic and general funding models to safeguard our cultural heritage by

- dividing the financial burden between more agents,

- giving heritage conservation a chance of cost control at all stages,

- developing methods for reducing heritage conservation expenditure,

- elevating knowledge levels, disseminating information, improving the management of cultural objects.

- Ingela Pålsson.Skarin & Inger Strömberg 


Architectural Qualities

This research is concerned to highlight and articulate the values of significant, qualitative architecture, focusing on design, planning methodology, construction technology, craftsmanship and construction process. The genesis of the buildings is described throughout the planning, construction and management phases. Special attention is devoted to the perception of the buildings and their valuation properties during the creation phase and at present. Rebuilds and renewals of the structures are analysed.

This research is at the centre of the task of architectural conservation and restoration, namely that of making enduring qualitative architectural properties visible, buildings which endure and are valued today just as they were when new.

- Mats Edström

The following publication has appeared in this research series:

Edström M; Medborgarhuset i Eslöv/Eslöv Civic Hall, Arkitektur förlag, Kristianstad, 2007.


Architectural Conservation and Restoration round the Baltic

Work on the thesis “Architectural Conservation and Restoration round the Baltic. Studies of the conservation and restoration working process, with case studies from Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden”, is a survey of renovation measures and is aimed at improving feedback. The study, which is intended as a contribution towards the formulation of guidelines for future architectural conservation and restoration, takes as its starting point 15 current renovation projects in five Baltic countries.

- Ingela Pålsson Skarin

Licentiate thesis 2001. Byggnadsvård kring Östersjön - en studie av arbetsprocesser med fallstudier från Litauen, Polen, Tyskland, Danmark och Sverige.


Airport Architecture

The Department researches the architecture and planning of airports in association with the Civil Aviation Authority. This project has been in progress since January 1999, its purpose being to develop “Design Programming” methods for airports. Work so far has resulted in part-studies of the three main terminals at Stockholm Arlanda, Sky City and the terminal at Göteborg Landvetter. Conjointly with the research project, courses are being offered, such as “Airport Architecture”, 10 credits. In addition, a European conference on Nordic Airport Architecture took place at LTH in August 2001, and annual seminars are convened by the Nordic Airport Architecture network.

- Kerstin Barup & Mats Edström 


Understanding a Building. The dynamic model – documentation methods, care plan and restoration ideology

The main purpose of this thesis is to enquire how we arrive at an understanding of the historic building and to discuss the role played by historical documentation in the planning of restoration. The thesis can therefore also be said to address restoration as a hermeneutic problem and with the connection between historical studies, analysis of the knowledge accumulated and the creative process, in which restoration ideology plays an important part. In conjunction with the argument presented in the thesis, a model is presented for an information system which will integrate the documentation process ore closely with the planning of restoration and with planning for the care and management of buildings of historic interest. In addition, the thesis contains in-depth studies of various techniques and methods of investigation.

- Ebbe Haedersdal

PhD thesis 1999. Om att förstå ett hus. - Den dynamiska modellen - dokumentationsmetoder, vårdplan och restaureringsideologi. Parts I & II

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