The planning and development of heritage sites into visitor parks is an important tool for raising public awareness to the issue of conservation. This deepens the visitor's understanding of the site and raises appreciation for the conservator's work. In addition, it also demonstrates the importance of maintaining the site for today's visitor and for future generations.
A superficial attempt at conservation is the exact opposite of all the aforementioned in the previous chapters. The bodies in charge, public as well as private, need to understand that more is hidden than visible on the site itself.
The first stage necessitates an initial, professional evaluation that considers the following; gathering and assessment of data regarding the state of conservation of the site and the site's project's potential compared to the developer's expectation and financial capability.
Concept planning for site presentation
Each concept plan must be both creative and tangible but always restricted to the principles of conservation. The guidelines for the planning are based on:
1. Period of construction - for whom was the structure built and what were its uses throughout history.
2. The structure's original plan: Understanding that each site or structure was created with a plan, a design and in a certain technique. There is a need to understand and to study in a detailed fashion each specific including drainage system, positioning of structure in relation to the sun, winds, ratio of summer/winter/night/day light and shadow, relative volume and size of the structure. It is important to remember that in the past each detail was accounted for and taken into consideration. Only in depth research can reveal all the details.
Current Situation Analysis and Documentation
This stage includes the identification and assessment of the decay processes and their influence on the conservation needed on site.
Each concept plan must be faithful to the original site in terms of style, construction techniques, uses, landscapes and scenery and building architecture.
Intervention on the site must be minimal and based on evident facts. This includes reconstruction plans for conservation and presentation purposes, development plans for visitor accessibility, paths and visual content experience. All these plans must be examined and discussed by a professional, interdisciplinary team.
Onsite structural intervention must be done with materials that are compatible with the original materials in terms of composition, strength, porousity and durability. This principal de facto prohibits the use of modern alternatives such as cement, concrete, iron or other adhesives as substitutes to the original materials, both in conservation and reconstruction.
The reversibility principle
Each material used on the site, whether it is modern or original, must have the ability to be reversible, meaning that it can be disassembled or detached without causing harm to the site's original material and composition.
An example of applying conservation principals to a concept plan is as follows:
- The demand, from an engineering standpoint, to use strong, modern materials must be examined in light of the requirement to use materials that are compatible to the original materials. Additions like roofing, view points, safety features and shelters require special debate and consideration.
- Architectural desire for aesthetics must be measured against the requirement for minimal intervention.
- The general need for durability and minimal maintenance must be examined vis-à-vis the requirement of authenticity and faithfulness to the original site.
- The need for reconstruction and presentation needs to be measured against the reversibility principal.
The process for site development for visitors and business opportunities:
- nitial professional evaluation
- Concept plan based on the principals of conservation:
- An in depth understanding of the current site
- Documentation of current state of conservation
- Minimal intervention
- Compatibility of materials
- Reversibility principal
- Detailed conservation plans including maintenance plans
- Established architectural plan for conservation, visual content, landscape development
- Engineering related plans for conservation and architecture.