EHTF book reviews

Understanding Historic Building Conservation
Historic Building Conservation: Volume 1: 'Understanding Historic Building Conservation'
Historic Building Conservation: Volume 2: 'Structures and Construction in Historic Building Conservation'
Edited by Michael Forsyth, Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2007

The three volume series 'Historic Building Conservation' aims to provide concise, basic and up-to-date knowledge for architects, surveyors and engineers as well as for commissioning client bodies, managers, and advisors, through chapters written by experts in their fields. All volumes include colour and black and white illustrations and drawings, well related to the text, and each chapter includes notes and references with suggestions for further reading.

Volume 1 discusses conservation philosophy and strategic decision making in relation to the understanding of the history of a building. The role of the various conservation professionals is described and the context of the current planning and legislative frameworks outlined. Guidance is also included on writing conservation plans, costing conservation work, contracts, maintenance and the role of building preservation trusts.

Volume 2 explains structural principles and their influence on the evolution of building forms and styles. It describes up-to-date on-site structural survey techniques and advises on structural solutions and methods of repair in relation to the philosophical principles of historic buildings. Causes of movement, basic soil mechanics and diagnosis of structural failure are explained, and the conservation of a range of different types of construction, such as masonry, iron, steel and concrete is included.

The third volume in this series 'Materials and Skills for Historic Building Conservation' is due to be published early in 2008. This will concentrate on the characteristics and process of decay of traditional materials and will inform on appropriate repair techniques, the sourcing and environmental impact of appropriate materials and their application on conservation projects.

Architectural Conservation, Principles and Practice

Aylin Orbasli, Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2008

This book principally aimed at students in built environment and related disciplines, provides a comprehensive introduction to the principles and current day practice of architectural conservation. Divided into two sections, the first concentrating on the historical and theoretical basis for architectural conservation in the wider physical, social and international context; the second illustrating the theory in practice, with chapters on management, causes of decay, conservation of individual materials and regeneration, reuse and design in the historic environment. It is amply illustrated with colour and black and white photographs and drawings, and includes a glossary, recommended reading lists, an extensive bibliography and web sources.

Prue Smith,
Member of the EHTF Executive Committee