Florida/Caribbean Architect - Winter 2014 - (Page 16)

The 19th-century lighthouse at the Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve in Fajardo was rehabilitated between 1988 and 1991. It is used as a science and research center. Project Architect: Beatriz del Cueto, FAIA. Photo by Max Toro, 1998. The Conservation of Preservation BEATRIZ DEL CUETO, FAIA, FAAR, AND AGAMEMNON GUS PATEL, PHD, ASSOC. AIA Preserving historic buildings is often seen as esoteric or purely aesthetic, but it should represent a return to the vision that our resources are not infinite, but finite. An appreciation for durability and longevity needs to replace the vision of easy disposability. There is a big difference between conservation and preservation, a difference that few outside of the field of "historic preservation" recognize. Lots of terms are discussed these days including "preservation," "restoration," "rehabilitation" and "adaptive reuse" but "conservation" is rarely referenced outside the world of professional curators and others concerned with maintaining and showcasing historic properties. To "preserve" is "to maintain in safety from injury, peril or harm or to keep in unaltered condition." To "conserve" is "to keep an environmentally or culturally important place from harm or 18 destruction." In architecture, the former refers to any type of structure while the latter implies only buildings of lasting importance that must be "conserved" for future generations. With the passage of time, these terms have been diluted for a variety of reasons. Most notably, when buildings are restored without the benefit of due diligence to determine the building's construction history, great and irreversible damage can be done in what is often little more than repair work. Treating symptoms like leaky roofs, cracked walls and structural settling and not determining and treating the cause of the problem is not sustainable architecture. Nor is it conservation. We must learn to conserve what we preserve. Preservation is a process and not an end product. Today, more than ever, there is a pervasive concern about sustainability, reduction of carbon footprints, green building and LEED certification. These concerns are on the road to true preservation, the road to reason as it were. Over the years, rehabilitation and restoration projects in Puerto Rico have demonstrated the importance of utilizing the appropriate processes at the outset to extend the life of significant structures. In every project, the goal has been to preserve the historic building while a feasible contemporary use is determined and to ensure the preservation of the historic fabric by using compatible materials and techniques that are true to the original design. For the adaptive reuse of 18th and 19th-century buildings like the one that would serve as the headquarters of the Conservation Trust and the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico, the reconstruction or restoration of flat azotea-type roofs was achieved by recycling historic bricks and hardwood ausubo beams from the same buildings. At Hacienda Buena Vista in www.aiafla.org http://www.aiafla.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Florida/Caribbean Architect - Winter 2014

President’s Perspective / Nathan Butler, AIA, LEED AP
Editorial / Diane D. Greer
The Geometer’s Tower at 25
3-D Laser Scanning: A Snapshot in Time
The Call-Collins House Restoration
The Conservation of Preservation
Lakeland Service Center for Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector
Poker Room for Jacksonville Greyhound Racing
A Word from Your 2014 Florida/ Caribbean Associate Directors
Mosaic Salon
Advertisers Index

Florida/Caribbean Architect - Winter 2014