Purposing aesthetics in historic preservation: advocating, signifying, and interpreting aesthetics
Keywords:purposing aesthetics, aesthetical advocacy, aesthetical signification, aesthetical interpretation, historic preservation, preservation standards
Aesthetics is a pillar consideration in historic preservation. Yet, purposing aesthetics for historic preservation ends seems to lag behind the opportunities. Utterly subjective, aesthetics poses challenges for the preservation community worldwide to moderate, accommodate, and purpose aesthetics in heritage programs. The challenges revolve around the assessment of aesthetical purposing in three domains. These domains include the community disposition towards accommodating aesthetics (advocacy), the criteria and strategies for assessing the aesthetic value of historic resources (signification), and, the standards for treating historic resources in preservation projects (interpretation). This study, therefore, assesses the trends for purposing aesthetics in historic preservation thought and practice through three platforms: advocating aesthetics, signifying aesthetics, and interpreting aesthetics. The study completed literature content analysis on aesthetics in general and aesthetics in historic preservation in particular. Further, because of the perspective of the study, the works of international and country preservation programs provided information relevant to advocacy, signification, and interpretation of aesthetics that have been refined by classification, comparison, and exemplification methods. Among others, these works include those of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the U.S. National Historic Preservation Program in the National Park Service. The study culminated with general and platform-specific conclusions. First, as the three proposed platforms (advocacy, signification, and interpretation) maintain structural and serial relationships, they constitute a relevant and feasible framework for assessing aesthetical purposing. Second, as the aesthetical purposing assessment followed a broad, international perspective, the conclusions of the study are commensurate with the selective scope of information used from international and country preservation programs. Third, the contribution to aesthetical purposing at each of the three platforms can be measure only in general, and at times, subjective terms.
Proposing aesthetical advocacy, aesthetical signification, and aesthetical interpretation as a platform framework to assess the purposing of aesthetics was feasible.
As aesthetical purposing was approached from a broad, international perspective, the conclusions of the study commensurate with the selective scope of information used.
The contribution to aesthetical purposing at each of the three platforms is hard to measure; however, the indications point to uneven contribution.
Australia ICOMOS. (2013). The Burra Charter: The Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://australia.icomos.org/publications/burra-charter-practice-notes/#bc
Barenboim, D. (2017). Reclaiming Tangible Heritage: Cultural Aesthetics, Materiality, and Ethnic Belonging in the Maya Diaspora. The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean 23(1): 113-130. https://doi.org/10.1111/jlca.12284
Brady, E. (2006). Aesthetics in Practice: Valuing the Natural World.” Environmental Values 15(3), 277-291. https://doi.org/10.3197/096327106778226202
Crippen, M. (2019). Aesthetics and action: situations, emotional perception and the Kuleshov effect. Synthese. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-019-02110-2
Ebdrup, T. R. (2017). The aesthetics steps: differentiated approaches to spatial aesthetics. Artifact: Journal of Design Practice, 3(3), 6.1-6.12(1). https://doi.org/10.14434/artifact.v3i3.3119
Falasca-Zamponi, S. (1997). Fascist Spectacle: The Aesthetics of Power in Mussolini’s Italy. University of California Press. https://doi.org/10.1525/9780520926158
Halperin, C. T., & Garrido, J. L. (2019). Architectural Aesthetics, Orientations, and Reuse at the Terminal Classic Maya Site of Ucanal, Petén, Guatemala. Journal of Field Archaeology 45(1), 46-66. https://doi.org/10.1080/00934690.2019.1676033
ICOMOS New Zealand. (2010). Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Heritage Value. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://www.icomos.org/images/DOCUMENTS/Charters/ICOMOS_NZ_Charter_2010_FINAL_11_Oct_2010.pdf
ICOMOS. (1931). The Athens Charter for the Restoration of Historic Monuments. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://www.icomos.org/en/resources/charters-and-texts/179-articles-en-francais/ressources/charters-and-standards/167-the-athens-charter-for-the-restoration-of-historic-monuments
ICOMOS. (1964). International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites, the Venice Charter. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from http://www.icomos.org/charters/venice_e.pdf
ICOMOS. (1987). Charter for the Conservation of Historic Towns and Urban Areas: The Washington Charter. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://www.icomos.org/images/DOCUMENTS/Charters/towns_e.pdf
ICOMOS. (1993). Appleton Charter for the Protection and Enhancement of the Built Environment. Retrieved May 29, 2020, from https://www.icomos.org/en/resources/charters-and-texts
ICOMOS. (1996). The Declaration of San Antonio. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://www.icomos.org/en/resources/charters-and-texts/179-articles-en-francais/ressources/charters-and-standards/188-the-declaration-of-san-antonio
ICOMOS. (1999). Charter on the Built Vernacular Heritage. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://www.icomos.org/images/DOCUMENTS/Charters/vernacular_e.pdf
ICOMOS. (1999). International Cultural Tourism Charter. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://www.icomos.org/images/DOCUMENTS/Charters/INTERNATIONAL_CULTURAL_TOURISM_CHARTER.pdf
ICOMOS. (1999). Principles for the Preservation of Historic Timber Structures. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from https://www.icomos.org/images/DOCUMENTS/Charters/wood_e.pdf
ICOMOS. (2003). Principles for the Preservation and Conservation-Restoration of Wall Paintings. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://www.icomos.org/images/DOCUMENTS/Charters/wallpaintings_e.pdf
ICOMOS. (2005). Xi’an Declaration on the Conservation of the Setting of Heritage Structures, Sites and Areas. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from 2005. https://www.icomos.org/images/DOCUMENTS/Charters/xian-declaration.pdf
ICOMOS. (2008). Charter on the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://www.icomos.org/images/DOCUMENTS/Charters/interpretation_e.pdf
ICOMOS. (2008). Québec Declaration on the Preservation of the Spirit of Place. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from https://www.icomos.org/images/DOCUMENTS/Charters/GA16_Quebec_Declaration_Final_EN.pdf
ICOMOS. (2011). The Paris Declaration on Heritage as a Driver of Development. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from https://www.icomos.org/images/DOCUMENTS/Charters/GA2011_Declaration_de_Paris_EN_20120109.pdf
ICOMOS. (2011). The Valletta Principles for the Safeguarding and Management of Historic Cities, Towns and Urban Areas. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from https://www.icomos.org/Paris2011/GA2011_CIVVIH_text_EN_FR_final_20120110.pdf
Lamarque, P. (2016). Reflections on the Ethics and Aesthetics of Restoration and Conservation, the British Journal of Aesthetics, 56(3), 281–299. https://doi.org/10.1093/aesthj/ayw041
Munro, T., & Scruton R. (n.d.). Aesthetics. In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/aesthetics
NPS TPS (n.d.). Preservation as a Treatment. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from https://www.nps.gov/tps/standards/four-treatments/treatment-preservation.htm
NPS TPS (n.d.). Rehabilitation as a Treatment. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from https://www.nps.gov/tps/standards/four-treatments/treatment-rehabilitation.htm
NPS TPS (n.d.). Walkthrough Historic Buildings: Identifying the Visual Character of Historic Buildings. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from https://www.nps.gov/tps/education/walkthrough/index.htm
NPS NRHP (1980). Akron Rural Cemetery Buildings. Retrieved September 28, 2020, from https://catalog.archives.gov/id/71991545
NPS NRHP (1995) Bulletin 15, How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nationalregister/publications.htm
NPS NRHP (2005). New York MPS Elmwood Park. Retrieved September 28, 2020, from https://catalog.archives.gov/id/75314079
NPS TPS (2017). Guidelines for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from https://www.nps.gov/tps/standards/four-treatments.htm
Page, M. (2017). Beyond Pretty Buildings. Chronicle of Higher Education. 63(19).
Plato, L., & Meskin, A. (2014). Aesthetic Value. In AC Michalos. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research. 76-78. Springer. https://aaron-meskin.org/publications/ https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_3349
Saito, Y. (2019). Aesthetics of the Everyday. In Zalta, E. N. (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2019/entries/aesthetics-of-everyday
Stanford University. (2019). Environmental Aesthetics. In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2019/entries/environmental-aesthetics
Tenen, L. (2019). Aesthetic and Historical Values – Their Difference and Why It Matters. Environmental Values. White Horse Press. https://doi.org/10.3197/096327119X15747870303863
Van Camp, J. (1980). Aesthetics and the Law of Historic Preservation. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetics, Milwaukee, October 22-25. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from http://web.csulb.edu/~jvancamp/ASA_1980.pdf
Vihanninjoki, V. (2019). Urban Places as Aesthetic Phenomena: Framework for a Place-Based Ontology of Urban Lifeworld. Topoi. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11245-018-9601-1
How to Cite
This journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.