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Forensisk byggnadsundersökning. Metodik för ökat utbyte mellan arkitekturhistorisk forskning och antikvarisk praktik

Conference contribution
Authors Gunnar Almevik
Published in Arkitekturhistorien och praktikerna. Charlmers, Arkitektur och Göteborgs universitet, Kulturvård 2012.05.03-04
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Conservation
Language sv
Keywords Building survey, documentation, byggnadsdokumentation, byggnadshistorisk undersökning,
Subject categories Cultural Studies, Technology and culture, History, Architectural conservation and restoration, Building engineering


Setting out from a repertoire of historical investigation methods used by professional actors within the field of architectural conservation, this paper deals with the question of what standard buildings can teach us about the past. The paper is based on a case study of the national reserve of Örnanäs in the region of Skåne. Örnanäs serves as a laboratory for action-based research and involves both conservationists and craftsmen. The context and process of investigation is examined from three perspectives: a forensic perspective on material culture, a source pluralism perspective, which refers to the possibility of combining information from multiple sources, and an actor perspective, which sheds light on how the actors involved influence the investigation. A theoretical platform is given by Carlo Ginzburg’s perspectives on diagnosis through clues and Martin Weaver’s approach in ‘forensic conservation’. The results constitute a set of reflections and judgements on survey methods and sources. In focus are working methods that facilitate an increased exchange between practice-based research and research based practice. The forensic perspective activates the building as a source of knowledge, and by combining different approaches it is possible to shed light on the history of the building from many different angles. Inquiry of historic construction, material use and signs of toolmarks, tested through processual reconstruction, is a method that has been systematically examined. The conclusion is that this method requires craft skills, yet it also opens up for cross-disciplinary work and thinking. The results articulate the importance of a heuristic approach. As conservationists and architectural historians we need to oscillate back and forth between the details and the whole, between observations and logical reasoning and between a physio-technical and socio-cultural perspective in order to uncover the layers and traces of the history of a building.

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