Restoration and Conservation works in Conservatory of Lorca

My name is Fran Ruiz, I am from Murcia (SE of Spain) and I work for Patrimonio Inteligente which is a company that involves many different professionals from different backgrounds to care about Cultural Heritage. And this includes archaeology, arts, restoration, museology and everything that has to be with culture. I am going to talk about myself, my job, my work, my routine on any given day.

Patrimonio Inteligente

Did you really think that this was just about archaeologists!?

I am an architect. Yes, I know. I am not the guy you expected to find in here but life has this kind of surprises. But I care about Cultural Heritage and Archaeology. As part of my job, I use to look after the projects of conservation and restoration of Patrimonio Inteligente. And I think that the best way to explain that to you (and get you to understand what it is between Archaeology and Architecture) is showing you one of my duties.

cúpula conservatorio LorcaLast week my mate Eduardo and I went to visit the works of the Music’s Conservatory of Lorca restoration project.  What did we do there (apart from making noise and bothering people?! ) Well, as part of my job, I have to check that the restoration of the building follows the expected plan. I have got to say that this Conservatory suffered the earth quake of Lorca in 2011 and it did almost collapse. Our job there tries to recover the strength of the foundations, walls and ceilings.

And to do so it is necessary an archaeological job first, followed by the architecture plan. And also, the Arts department of Patrimonio Inteligente has to deal with the possible paint walls, murals and all kind of object that arein the building and establish the conservation strategy as well. So you can imagine how a day could end up working with such diverse group.

The principles of restoration from the point of view of an Architect

First of all we have got to make sure that the building will keep en la azotea del conservatorio de Lorcastand up for long. We have to ensure that the foundation and the principal walls are safely set. Thus we have added a kind of metallic box in the structure of the lift, and then we will cover it all in concrete. After the structure has been saved we focus on walls, cleaning up of fissures, polishing, varnishing and stuff like that.

Then we also have to restore a masonry tower that also was affected by the earth quake and try to fix the tower base. We always try to keep the structure safely but also trying not to modify the building itself (at least not much). It is important to keep the frescoes and artistic objects but also the building where they are.

The Conservatory has a Cupola that was also affected and because of that we went upstairs to have a look and check the work of covering with glazed pottery and painting. After this tour, we got down and go to a place where the ancient Muslim baths were, in one of the basements, which was restored in the past (late 90’s). It is in a good condition but we had to check humidity and how that was affecting the place. During the works of restoration a piece of the Muslim Wall was discovered. But this will be explained in another chapter by an archaeologist.