Excavating the Athenian Agora: the temple of Hephaistos

Temple of Hephaistos, the Athenian Agora © David Gill

John Camp has given another virtual seminar from the Athenian agora. The subject this time was the temple of Hephaistos that stands on the low hill overlooking the agora. He broke the temple down into its architectural elements from its foundations to the roof. His explanation of the proportions of the Doric order showed how a reconstruction can be made from the smallest of architectural fragments. Camp explained how the internal structure of the temple had been reorientated when the building had been converted into a Christian church. There was a reminder that the modern planting was informed by the excavated ‘plant pots’ around the temple.

The subsequent questions include a discussion of the date as well as the use pf polychromy.

These in situ seminars do so much to explain architectural remains.

Academic journals: International Journal of Architectural Heritage (Conservation, Analysis, Restoration)

Journal summary: IJAH provides a multidisciplinary scientific overview of existing resources and modern technologies useful for the study and repair of historical buildings and other structures. The journal will include information on history, methodology, materials, survey, inspection, non-destructive testing, analysis, diagnosis, remedial measures, and strengthening techniques.
Preservation of the architectural heritage is considered a fundamental issue in the life of modern societies. In addition to their historical interest, cultural heritage buildings are valuable because they contribute significantly to the economy by providing key attractions in a context where tourism and leisure are major industries in the 3rd millennium. The need of preserving historical constructions is thus not only a cultural requirement, but also an economical and developmental demand.
The study of historical buildings and other structures must be undertaken from an approach based on the use of modern technologies and science. The final aim must be to select and adequately manage the possible technical means needed to attain the required understanding of the morphology and the structural behavior of the construction and to characterize its repair needs. Modern requirements for an intervention include reversibility, unobtrusiveness, minimum repair, and respect of the original construction, as well as the obvious functional and structural requirements. Restoration operations complying with these principles require a scientific, multidisciplinary approach that comprehends historical understanding, modern non-destructive inspection techniques, and advanced experimental and computer methods of analysis.

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Website: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/uarc20/current

Access: Subscription

Journal type: Peer-reviewed; some open-access

From transit to tapas and trinkets

Coal Drops Yard has now opened behind King’s Cross Station, London. Whilst snagging jobs are still being completed, and with retail units still to fill, the site remains a work in progress in a rebirth that has seen the area’s legacy of historic buildings change from hosting goods yards and activities associated with the railways and canals, to retail and catering outlets at the ‘craft’ and ‘high end’ of the commercial spectrum. New architectural interventions have been added, such as the striking new roof over the west side of the coal yard, and in fully redundant plots brownfield redevelopment is seeing new office and retail blocks with strong design signatures distinctly of their time. Residential blocks combine old and new forms, including the striking Gas Holder blocks of flats.

Following the successful heritage-led redevelopments previously of the main King’s Cross and St. Pancras Stations, the whole area is now a fascinating amalgam of old and new, and epitomises our shifting relationship with places of transit which now tempt us to dwell longer rather than pass through.

Academic journals: AMPS (Architecture, Media, Politics, Society)

Journal summary: AMPS (Architecture, Media, Politics, Society) is an international nonprofit research organisation. AMPS sees the definition, debates and concerns of the built environment as intrinsic to those at the heart of other social, cultural and political discourses. The territory it seeks to explore is an overlaid terrain in which the physical, material and the environmental are critically examined through the prism of the cultural, the mediatic, the social and the political.
Its focus is cross disciplinary and draws on the media, politics and the social sciences. It invites participation from all sectors: architects, planners, policy makers, artists, academics, the public and community activists. It functions as an open access platform for publication, a forum for debate through conferences and workshop, a conduit for book publications and also operates as an academic resource repository. Run by information professionals, the repository offers up-to-date materials and listings for research.
Its social aims can be defined as: promoting an understanding of the role of architecture and the built environment on communities, public health and society more broadly; engaging all its stakeholders in events and debates aimed at better understanding and communicating the needs of each party; and providing openly accessible materials such as written articles, research guides, current event listings, and a database of organisations that support these aims.

Publisher: UCL Press

Website: http://architecturemps.com/

Access: Open-access

Journal type: Academic peer-reviewed

Academic journals: Future Anterior

Journal summary: An international point of reference for the critical examination of historic preservation. Future Anterior approaches historic preservation from a position of critical inquiry, rigorous scholarship, and theoretical analysis. The journal is an international forum for the critical examination of historic preservation, spurring challenges of its assumptions, goals, methods, and results. As the first journal in American academia devoted to the study and advancement of historic preservation, it provides a much-needed bridge between architecture and history. The journal also features provocative theoretical reflections on historic preservation from the point of view of art, philosophy, law, geography, archaeology, planning materials science, cultural anthropology, and conservation.

Publisher: Minnesota University Press on behalf of Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP)

Website: https://www.upress.umn.edu/journal-division/journals/future-anterior

Access: Subscription

Journal type: Academic peer-reviewed

Special interest magazines: Country Life

Magazine summary: Country Life is a British weekly glossy magazine which covers a range of subjects in depth, from gardens and gardening to country house architecture, fine art and books, and property to rural issues, luxury products and interiors. It contains extensive property listings for countryside and historic properties and estates. Considered a British institution, Country Life has charted the historic context for country houses, architecture, estate management and society over an extended period. The associated Picture Library forms an important historic architectural record of buildings and landscapes.

Publisher: Time Inc. (UK) Ltd.

Website: http://www.countrylife.co.uk/

Access: Print / online subscription; available in newsagents; also available via various County Library e-magazine services

Journal type: Special interest magazine

Exploring the Architecture of Wales


The aim of this pocket guide by John B. Hilling is to assist ‘the reader in the recognition of the wide variety of buildings to be seen in the Welsh landscape and townscape’. There are line drawings, plans, and photographs. The guide is divided into 22 sections from ‘Early Medieval: Early Christian’ (e.g. Llangorse crannog) to ‘Late Modern’. There is a short glossary and then a ‘Gazeteer of Important Buildings’ consisting of 160 locations.

Research seminar: Utopia, museums and the issue of identity – the Mexican case.

Our final research seminar for this term will be on Wednesday 18th December at 4.30pm. We hope to have mince pies!

Dr Fidel Meraz, Senior Lecturer in the UCS School of Arts & Humanities will be talking about: “Utopia, museums and the issue of identity: the Mexican case”

The presentation explores the shift of Mexican architectural practice from a nationalist model towards a dystopian globalized one by revealing controversies in cases of conversion of colonial architecture into museums. On the one hand, Mexican heritage is protected by a scientific approach of conservators who seem committed not only with the physical evidence of the past, in archaeological and anthropological senses, but also championing vaguely defined identity values. On the other hand, globalizing designer architects propose projects that challenge traditions. The encounter between conservators’ intelligentsia and architectural practice in the transformation of architectural heritage is often problematic. This is an attempt to unravel the architectural perceptions of architects facing the dichotomy colonial-contemporary.

If you’d like to attend, please register with Julie Barber email: julie.barber@ucs.ac.uk / 01473 338181

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