Conservation Principles - ARCH8440

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 7 30 (15) Manolo Guerci checkmark-circle


This module introduces the students to the research in architectural history and to the study of conservation philosophy that underpins past and present attitudes to architectural heritage.

The introductory lectures will provide an opportunity to investigate the development of architectural form from Antiquity to the 20th century, focusing on the European traditions. They will also introduce the students to the various approaches to the research and documentation of historic buildings. Cultivating a multifaceted understanding of architectural heritage while offering access to the relevant research methodologies, the module provides the expertise necessary to evaluate historic buildings and to decide what should and could be conserved and why. As well as an introduction to architectural history, lectures and seminars will investigate the field of conservation philosophy. This part of the module will examine the evolution of the attitudes to architectural heritage from the 19th to the 21st century. Special emphasis will be put on the theoretical problems of maintenance, restoration, and the way in which 20th-century international charters addressed these problems. Examining a wide range of case-studies, the module will also investigate various theoretical approaches to the adaptation of new buildings to the historic environment.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 30 hours
Private study hours: 270 hours
Total study hours: 300 hours

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Essay 4,000 words (80%)
Site Documentation Study (20%)

Reassessment methods
Like for like.

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Brandi, C., Basile, G. (2005). Theory of Restoration, Rome: Istituto Centrale per il Restauro
Curtis, William J.R. (2006, 3rd ed.) Modern Architecture since 1900. London: Phaidon Press Ltd.
Earl, J., Saint, A. (2003) Building Conservation Philosophy, London: Taylor & Francis
Fazio, M., Moffett, M., Wodehouse, L. (1st ed. 2003; 2nd ed. 2008). A World History of Architecture. London: Laurence King
Jokiletho J. (2002). A History of Architectural Conservation. London: Routledge
Lowenthal, D. (1998). The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1998
Tyler, N. (2000) Historic Preservation?: ?An Introduction to Its History, Principles, and Practice. W. W. Norton.?????????
Watkin, D. (2011, 5th ed. – earlier eds. will be fine). A History of Western Architecture. London: Laurence King???

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to demonstrate:

1 An understanding of the knowledge required to analyse historic monuments in Europe, especially Britain, and of the significance of the conservation of buildings.
2 An understanding of attitudes towards architectural heritage and their historical development.
3 An understanding of the current overarching philosophical framework of conservation.
4 An understanding of the concept of historical environments.
5 An understanding of the various approaches to the documentation and monitoring of historic buildings.
6 An understanding of different research methodologies for the study of the development of architectural forms, with an emphasis on European architecture.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to demonstrate:

1 Ability to critically apply theories, research and analysis to the ideas, development and quality of projects.
2 Ability to communicate effectively, using a range of communication skills.
3 Ability to comprehensively understand the nature of differing types of documentation used in planning and analysis.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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