Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Conservation Summer School, Day 1


I had the honour of being awarded a place on the Conservation Summer School run by Historic Environment Scotland at the Engine Shed in Stirling which literally means I will spend a week surrounded by beautiful historic buildings. A dream come true.

Here’s how it went:

Day 1

7:30 - an early start of the day. Quick breakfast and commute to the Engine Shed from Stirling University. Registration and awkward socialising.  

In total we had 5 talks on conservation related subjects ranging from philosophical questions such as 'Why do we conserve?' to more practical topics on building fabric and surveying. Each speaker was a pleasure to listen to as they represented their fields with a good mix of enthusiasm and information. By far my favourite talks were on building fabric – dissecting the elements of a 18c Scottish vernacular house, and surveying – examining the thermal images of the dilapidated Bannockburn House and investigating what went wrong and why. The last talk was supplemented by a field trip to the house which helped illustrate some of the points made but also put in perspective the magnitude and complexity of the conservation process of an actual building.

The house was fascinating to visit not only because of its curious state of disrepair that showed bared structures, fire damage, and years of remodelling , but also because of the original attention to detail and lavish design approach. More yet, it stood as a proud symbol of community spirit as it had been acquired several years prior by the local community who were pouring their soul and labour in preserving the house and educating visitors of its significance. Well worth a trip to Stirling.

The day's programme finished with a guided tour around Stirling which highlighted a number of wonderful edifices beyond the castle one would neglect if simply passing by. I remember being completely unimpressed with Stirling when I visited several years ago for St Andrew’s day and today I feel like I owe Stirling an apology. It may not be busting at the seams with heritage sites but it definitely offered prime examples of layers of Scottish architecture.


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