To protect the original or a palimpsest – dilemmas of the redevelopment process of the historic garden in Białaczów
The author of the paper, referring to the complex issues of protection of the historic park in Białaczów destroyed by a windwhirl in July 2011, discusses important issues connected with the protection of the original in Polish historic gardens and suggests developing conservation methods not only to rescue Białaczów but also to improve such activities in similar cases which unfortunately take place more and more often as a result of climatic changes. The residence complex in Białaczów (Łódź Voivodship) includes a huge landscape and forest park (over 22 ha) formed over the centuries by eminent designers (Lindauer, Stricker, Szanior, Tański). Until recently it was considered to be one of the most valuable historic gardens in Poland with high cultural as well as natural and landscape value. The scale of damage after the disaster was incomparable to any previous natural disasters to the historic gardens in Poland. Although the cleanup work began right after the tragic event, not much more has actually been done so far in order to save the valuable historic site from a total destruction. Apart from obvious difficulties connected with the character and scope of damage, the redevelopment process itself is highly complicated for a number of reasons. First of all it is necessary to define the objective of conservation work which so far has not been precisely planned. That objective should be to protect the original. The park is a centuries-old “account” of compositional transformations from a historic complex of maybe even medieval origin, to a huge 19th-century landscape complex that was still further developed at the beginning of the 20th century. Paradoxically, the damage to the trees revealed many elements of previously unclear layout. It seems to be extremely important to begin professionally conducted work as soon as possible in order to protect all of its elements and redevelop its space layout on the basis of the original remains of that historic site.
Key words: monument, park, Białaczów, devastation, revalorization, authenticity
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