The Gray Area of Intervention

In architecture and design, there are 4 levels of Intervention. They are Preservation, Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Restoration. This blog will focus on Reconstruction and Colonial Williamsburg. Williamsburg is over 100 acres in size and was created in 1699. The architectural style of the district is Georgian and it is ruled over by a private government. Colonial Williamsburg is a real- life museum that presents a portion of the historic district. It is an artificial reconstruction and restoration of the city in Virginia.

Williamsburg is known as one of the first fully professionalized preservation projects and took on more than just a single building or structure. It was done at a mass scale. Its developers researched archival records, archaeological research and building methods to create the overall effect of an 18th century town. In my course, my professor had us do an exercise with the levels of intervention. We broke into groups and were told to choose an example of each but also an example of a project that did not fit into any of the four levels. When it came to Reconstruction, almost every group chose Williamsburg for their example of that level.

We were then informed that Williamsburg could not truly be categorized as a Reconstruction because it was also a partial Restoration. There is a gray area that projects like Williamsburg fall into that has no name other than the outliers. Other projects that fit into more than one category should be defined as a level of intervention. There has to be a reason that we all chose that as a reconstruction.Is it because the majority of the project was a restoration project pr because that is the easiest of the levels to identify? Too many questions, not enough answers. Williamsburg


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