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Urban Conservation in the local context

The principle of repair The surveying projects Assessing building for conservation Legislation for urban conservation legislation for urban conservation in Libya Dr Jalal R Elbelazi 11/11/2009

The conservation projects

Any conservation or restoration project involves adaption work for new use to secure long-term preservation it require the following:

1- Historical research
The purpose of researching a building or an area history is to know its story. It may provide knowledge for structural diagnosis of strengths and more particularly weakness. It may explain the symptoms of disrepair including that which has arisen from previous repair or other interventions in the fabric.

2- Location
The location of a building or area is significant in a number of ways to the initial assessment of a conservation project. Also location have a particular relevance in relation to historic buildings, it is a significant factor in the finical viability of a conservation project.

3- Condition
In many cases historic buildings have passed the test of time. Nevertheless the condition of a historic building is a fundamental consideration in any conservation project and can only be ascent aired by detailed investigation.

4- Flexibility to use
The best use will very often be the use for which the building was designed and the continuation of that use should certainly be the first option when the future of a building is considered. But not all original uses will now be available or even appropriate.

The principle of repair

There has been a shortfall in specialist tanning provisions in the philosophy and practice of conservation repair. Therefore the basic tents of conservation and repair relevant to historic buildings are:

1- Repair objectives
The main purpose of repair is to restrain the process of decay caused by the effects of nature factors (rain, heat, etc...). The objectives of repair must be to preserve a building so that it may then allow for long term use.

2- Avoid damaging the buildings

Selective repair work should be carried out over time whenever possible through maintenance rather than full scale treatment at one point.

3- Research & recording

No repair work should be carried out until a full understanding of a buildings history has been achieved. Exanimation of the building architectural and history qualities. Any work has been done in the past and the history of use such investigation may explain why decay occurred.


4- Analysis of condition
Before the design and specification of repairs can be determined it is essential to fully assess the nature and condition of the structure and buildings materials and the causes of defects to theses factors in historic buildings.


5- Approach to repairs
Any repair works should maintain the integrity of building respecting its age and character. It should be carried out in a simple manure matching existing materials and methods of construction.


6- Removal of damaging alterations & new additions

The removal of additions may be acceptable but only where they play no significant role in the historical interest in a buildings. New additions to listed buildings must be considered in the normal process of control.


7- Restoration & reconstruction work

Where restoration or reconstruction is proposed its relative merits should be considered according to accepted conservation philosophy and policy .


8- Architectural salvage
The practice of quarrying old buildings to repair other historic buildings is not new. Its provides an incentive to repair where it has proved difficult to obtain.


9- Future protection
This factor is significant to the final principle of repair. In order to safeguard the future of our historic buildings regularly maintenance according to accepted conservation principles.


The surveying projects

It is a feasibility study to test various aspects of the proposed projects and to develop an extensive data collection from all sources as possible. Basically it is the completion of this phase which constitutes the current undertaking. This include the following steps:


. Editing for publication all archival documentation. .Preparing complete architectural drawings including plans, sections, and elevations. . Completing the detailed photographic catalogue of the existing structure. .Securing cleaning and preserving physical structure. . Physical analysis of structure history. .Polite programme of limited area restoration/ regeneration of the total phased restoration plan.


Assessing Buildings for conservation.

To consider a building preservation an assessment of the building or group of buildings needs to be carried out. But before making those assessment these five questions needs to answered, they are:


What is the historical value of the building or the area?!!

Clearly or logically the more history you know and the more important the history the greater the historical value of the building.


What is the architectural value of the building???

By naming the architectural style , the date and the physical condition. We will be able to predicate the architectural value of the buildings.


What role the area play on the urban stage??

By researching the role of the building played in the general context of the urban area or by its significance of urban scale and dose it like many historical building make a vital contribution to the silhouette of the town as a whole.


What are the economic and social needs of a particular area??

A failure of a conservation policy is the well preserved town in old Eastern Europe, where the old centres of these towns survive intact but no new development allowed within them, which reflect the dead hand of conservation. Therefore a rich mix of people and uses could result in creative planning and conservation policy.


What is the essence of the building/ area!!! Its spirit??

This is of particular importance if the building or area is to be adapted to a new use.


What is the legislation for urban conservation??



It is a number of laws and acts which are specialised in the protection of heritage, old cities and historical areas (to regulate and provide the frame work for the protection of the built heritage).


Legislation for urban conservation in Libya

At political independence Libya inherited and developed the following legislation which control and regulate the conservation work of the built heritage and old areas in Libya. The main law which is still in use in Libya for urban conservation is law number 3. This law is specialised in the protection of heritage, museums, old cities and historical areas. This law has four main Acts, which are:

. Acts (1)- The legal use of heritage areas and old cities. . Acts (2)- The protection of monuments, museums and heritage. . Acts (3)- The protection of old cities and historical areas. . Acts (4)- The maintenance and rebuilding programmes of historical/ Old buildings A summery of the above acts and their role in the control of conservation will be explained and discussed in more details


Act (1) The legal use of historic areas & old cities
It is illegal to have any type of development in both areas, unless it has reference to the improvement or the discovery of historical buildings. In case of old cities maintenance programme there should be an arrangement between the department of heritage and urban planning authorities

Act (2) The protection of monuments, museums and heritage

This act aims to protect the built heritage and it has many topics which deal with this problem:
. It is the duty of the department of heritage and planning to decide which part of the city can be considered as historic area and list it in their files. . All heritage belongs to the nation except the privately owned ones. . It is forbidden to destroy damage or demolish any historic buildings or have it photographed in any commercial use unless one has the right from the department of heritage and planning.

. It is not legal for any Ministry to put any plan or

development programme to any city to build a new road or maintain their old unless they have the agreement of the Department of heritage and planning. . It is the responsibility of the department Of heritage and planning to protect and save their historic areas and heritage during the pace or war times. . It is illegal for the privately owned historic buildings to have any work or maintenance or selling without informing the Department of heritage and planning. . It is illegal to change the function of any historic buildings or have an extension added to them unless one has made arrangements with the Department of heritage and planning


Act (3) The protection of old cities and historic areas

This law aims to protect old cities and historic areas from being destroyed or demolished. It has many topics which deal with this problem: . Old cities and historic areas with all heritage
belongs to the Libyan. It is forbidden to add sell or developed any part of them without making arrangements with the department of heritage and planning. . It is forbidden to use historic buildings in old cities for any housing or commercial use (Castel/ Mosque/ Museum...etc)

. It is forbidden to have any type of activity work which

can cause any type of damage to the building of the old city. . The Department of heritage and planning will provide the construction and design work details for the private owners of the old buildings in the historic areas. . It is forbidden to put different materials from the original one during any type of maintenance work. Is necessary to reserve the old image and design in the commercial units of historic areas.


Act (4) The processing of maintenance and re construction of old buildings

It is aimed to give guidelines and control the processing of restoration and maintenances. The following activities are forbidden during the process of reconstruction of old buildings: . To remove or destroy the original architectural
heritages (doors/windows...etc) . To use new ideas or solutions from the old ones during maintenance programme. . To add a new extension or new storey to the old buildings. . To change the height of an existing building in a historic areas.

. To change the main entrance or change the

material of the main doors from the original one.34

. To change the infrastructure from the original one

which has been in the maintenance reports. . Any redevelopment programme has to be compatible with the urban image of the old city and historic area. . Any redevelopment has to solve the problem of housing and commercial expectation for a historic area. . Any redevelopment should not cause any damage to the infrastructure of the existing system of the old city.

The main observation on the above legislation is that the necessary legislation is exist but is not implemented properly or even disregarded because there is insufficient commitment to conservation