Teaching Activities: Capstone Design ∣ Conservation and Restoration of Historic Buildings and Sites
CON 500 ∣Department of Architecture, University of Cyprus
The Capstone Design Project is the most important course of the graduate program Conservation and Restoration of Historic Buildings and Sites. It consists of three individual parts. Through this course a close collaboration is achieved between the different departments involved in this interdepartmental graduate program and individual fields of specialization, as well as between the students who come from different academic disciplines.
In particular, this course gives students the opportunity to become trained and acquire the scientific knowledge required in their field, while familiarizing themselves with the tools and methods for conducting historical research, on-site design recording (using traditional and contemporary digital measuring instruments) and systematic data analysis.
Thus, students explore issues of digital recording and three-dimensional renderings. In addition, they gain knowledge on recording construction pathology by identifying damage and alterations to structures and building materials and elements, as well as on processing and evaluating field data. Students are also trained in the methodology of sampling and laboratory analysis of building materials. Finally, they become trained on formulating theoretical and design proposals for the conservation and reuse of historic buildings.
The Capstone Design Project is essentially a case study that combines analytical and design work and includes theoretical archival research, field work (survey and design), laboratory experiments and design studio proposals.
The goal of the course is the comprehensive interdisciplinary training of students and their co-operation in real-life management issues in the conservation of cultural heritage.
The course aims to help students develop critical thinking and critical and interpretive approach and methodology, as well as to provide them with the practical experience and know-how in dealing with the protection and reuse of architectural units of other periods, through contemporary views in the framework of current needs and challenges. At the same time, it aims at interdisciplinary cooperation between group members and at finding a common language of communication between interested parties in the conservation of cultural heritage.
More specifically, this course helps students acquire theoretical and practical knowledge in order to fulfil the current needs for documentation, analysis and design interventions on historic buildings in the private and public sector.
Teaching is carried out face-to-face, in groups of students organised in teams, through lectures and presentations for the first 2-3 weeks, as well as by visiting historic buildings with in-situ documentation of the assigned case study, and lastly by laboratory experiments. The last part of the course involves design studio meetings with the students, presentation of their work and feedback by the teachers. Research in libraries and archives is also carried out in the first part of the project.