Working with History
THE SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF ANCIENT BUILDINGS SCHOLARSHIP
MARK HINES IS ONE OF JUST A HANDFUL OF CONSTRUCTION PROFESSIONALS WHO HAVE BEEN FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE UNDERTAKEN A SCHOLARSHIP WITH THE SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF ANCIENT BUILDINGS, ONE OF THE OLDEST AND MOST INFLUENTIAL CONSERVATION ORGANISATIONS IN THE WORLD. THE NINE MONTH COURSE TAKES THE SCHOLARS TO ALL PARTS OF THE UK AND OFFERS A WAY OF THINKING ABOUT DESIGN THAT IS STILL RELEVANT TODAY.
There can be many different reasons why work on a historic building might be needed. It could be the slow ravages of time taking its toll, the result of changing demands, a desire to make better use of an existing room, a need to create more space, improve access or perhaps save energy costs.
We have learned that in experienced hands, every historic building as an opportunity. Sensitively repaired and refurbished buildings are very attractive to users, visitors, tenants, and purchasers and add economic value- retaining its special qualities, lowering running costs and making the building feel more comfortable to live and work in.
The principles of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) scholarship has partly influenced the way we think about architecture and helped inform our approach to design and conservation. The scheme works on the basis that the best way to learn about construction methods, building materials and the range of methods of repair available today is out on site. The Scholarships, which have no equivalent in Britain in either the formal or informal education system, are highly respected within the world of building conservation.
The Society advocates a policy of sensitive, conservative repair (rather than restoration). The architect Philip Webb was the leading light of this group and a number of young architects trained under his guidance. Today, many former scholars are among the leading conservation professionals in the United Kingdom and are responsible for maintaining some of the country’s most important historic buildings. Some are cathedral architects or look after National Trust or English Heritage properties or ruins, producing conservation work of the highest quality.
Much of the emphasis on the Scholarship is on understanding handcrafted buildings and the protection of existing historic fabric. Scholars learn about the theory of conservation and traditional methods of manufacture and construction such as oak framing, lime mortars and the performance of solid masonry walls. The way in which traditional buildings “breathe” is complex and a thorough understanding of a building’s use, history, construction and materials are required before undertaking any work.
THE SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF ANCIENT BUILDINGS ANNUAL SCHOLARSHIP