1-2(9-10)/2001, p. 61

Grażyna Szumska-Józefiak
The protection of individual features of monumental architecture

    A contemporary threat to historical buildings, apart from the destructive effect of time and environment pollution, is also industrial civilization.
    An important problem is the breaking off of tradition continuity, both in the technological as well as aesthetic patterns. The mutual foundation of the aesthetic basis formed by commonly accessible natural materials and technical requirements bound with them, among other things, construction – has been destroyed. Resulting from this are difficulties, for instance obtaining of traditional materials and contractors with abilities embracing old craftsmanship related to building.
    New building and painting materials are characterized by new parameters (also aesthetic), related to the production technology or to the required contemporary standards of use. Applying them in historical buildings, taking into consideration only technical criteria, leads to impoverishment and the change of artistic expression (e.g. the changing of roof tiles to metal plates), and even to the reduction of authenticity and historic features (e.g. the changing of window woodwork with wood-carving decorations to plain plastic).
    The historic range of colours was conditioned (and limited) by the availability of natural pigments and paints of a simple composition. At present the market offers paints in thousands of colours – synthetic pigments have been introduced as well as multi-component mixtures on the basis of “glaring” whites. The paint texture is very smooth and even in the matt version it slightly glistens. Aggressive colours, smooth, shining surfaces optically and aesthetically degrade the authentic, historic colouring and texture of the neighbouring preserved historical painting or the brick and stone surfaces. Beside them the patina and signum temporis become solely dirt and devastation.
    The new technologies, solving many technical difficulties, have led to the depreciation of conservation knowledge. The accessi-bility of new materials has given a dangerous conviction that anyone can carry out conservation.
    The commercialization of protection of monumental objects has become a fact; the boundary between a work of art and an ordinary object has faded.
    Humanistic sciences and humanistic mentality should control technology in conservation operations.