To Restore or Not Restore. That is the Question.

Restoration plays an important part in conservation and preservation. There are great arguments for and against the idea of restoration on a historic building or landscape. Ruskin tends to stand against restoration proposing that it would be better if the building be torn down rather than added on to or restored in any way. This seems like an economic disaster to me. Why destroy a building and build a new one, when the option of restoration or reconstruction is more economically feasible. Brandi on the other hand is a proponent of restoration if the aesthetic and historical requirements are met. Brandi describes a building as a work of art, something I too agree with, and indicates that there are factors in restoring a work of art (If it needs to be restored). This makes more sense to me than the opposition of Ruskin. A building is indeed a work of art and if that building falls into disrepair, it is only logical that it be restored to its original state using the closest historical accuracy possible. The architect like the artist creates his work of art in hopes that it will stand the test of time for all to see. If the art is damaged it is only fitting to honor that artists vison by restoring their work to its most original state possible. However, can all buildings, structures and landscapes be restored? Or more to the point should they be restored? When a building or structure is transformed into a ruin, a patina can form over the ruin (which Brandi points out) that helps protect it from environmental damage and can also be aesthetically pleasing. It is in this instance that I believe restoration should not be allowed. The structure, though severely damaged, can still be recognizable and maintain its original integrity, as well as be aesthetically pleasing and historically informative. Like Brandi, I too see it as falsify the work of architectural art. So to restore or not restore? That is indeed the question that must be examined carefully by anyone seeking restoration of a historic building or landscape. Only after doing the appropriate amount of research and weighing the factors, should the decision of restoration be made.


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