In recent decades, the Venice Charter of 1964 [1] has provided the guiding principles for the conservation and restoration of ancient monuments. However, many interpret these principles as applying to historic structures in general, and not just monuments. The articles in the Restoration section of the Charter have several interesting statements (underlines are for emphasis) that are open to interpretation. In many cases, these statements cause a conflict of priorities, especially with funding being the overriding issue. In addition, local and national heritage agencies sometimes take a more liberal approach to restoration, particularly regarding authenticity. The statements under discussion are: “ARTICLE 9. The process of restoration is a highly specialized operation. Its aim is to preserve and reveal the aesthetic and historic value of the monument and is based on respect for original material and authentic documents. It must stop at the point where conjecture begins, and in this case moreover any extra work which is indispensable must be distinct from the architectural composition and must bear a contemporary stamp.” “ARTICLE 10. Where traditional techniques prove inadequate, the consolidation of a monument can be achieved by the use of any modem technique for conservation and construction, the efficacy of which has been shown by scientific data and proved by experience.” “ARTICLE 12. Replacements of missing parts must integrate harmoniously with the whole, but at the same time must be distinguishable from the original so that restoration does not falsify the artistic or historic evidence.” Each of these statements affects the authenticity of the restoration. But, maintaining authenticity of the restoration has to be balanced with the reality of maintaining our heritage buildings on limited resources. Can it be done? This paper discusses these challenges in the context of the 1996 restoration of a threestory, 19th century brownstone. The paper will include the conflicts with recommendations for an authentic restoration in accordance with the Charter principles. The work was performed on a limited budget and attempted to address the Owner’s desire for an aesthetic solution. Finally, an assessment of the restoration after 23 years will be included

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[1] The International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites (Venice Charter), Association for Preservation Technology International Bulletin: The Journal of Preservation Technology, Vol. 37, No. 4, p. 51, (2006).

[2] Starn, R. Authenticity and historic preservation: towards an authentic history. History Of The Human Sciences Vol. 15 No. 1, SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi) pp. 1–16,

[3] First International Congress of Architects and Technicians of Historic Monuments, Athens 1931.

[4] New York City Administrative Code, Title 25, Chapter 3, http://library.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/New%20York/admin/title25landuse/chapter3landm arkspreservationpreservatio?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:newyork_ny$anc= JD_T25C003

[5] Rules of New York City Landmarks Preservation commission, Title 63, Rules of City of New York, January 22, 2019, https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/lpc/downloads/pdf/Rules/Rules%20of%20the%20NYC%20Lan dmarks%20Preservation%20Commission_01.22.2019.pdf

[6] Nara Conference on Authenticity in Relation to the World Heritage Convention, Nara, Japan, 1-6 November 1994, https://www.icomos.org/charters/nara-e.pdf

[7] InterAmerican Symposium on Authenticity in the Conservation and Management of the Cultural Heritage, San Antonio, TX, 27-30,March 1996, https://www.icomos.org/en/charters-and-texts/179-articles-en-francais/ressources/charters and-standards/188-the-declaration-of-san-antonio

[8] Guidelines For Alterations to Historic Buildings and New Construction, March 4, 1992, https://www.chicago.gov/content/dam/city/depts/zlup/Historic_Preservation/Publications/Stan dards_for_Rehab_2015.pdf

[9] Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, https://www.nps.gov/tps/standards/rehabilitation/rehab/stand.htm

[10] Façade Restoration of an 1889 Brownstone, Proceedings of the 8th Canadian Masonry Symposium, Jasper, Alberta, pp.2226-275, 1998

[11] Custom SYSTEM 45 Masonry Patching & Coating, Edison Coatings Inc., Plainville, CT.

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Published on 30/11/21
Submitted on 30/11/21

Volume Interdisciplinary projects and case studies, 2021
DOI: 10.23967/sahc.2021.212
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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