Series introduction. October 2009. November 2009. December 2009. January 2010. February 2010. March 2010. April 2010. May 2010. June 2010. September 2010.
By Nicholas Bogosian
I have now reached the fifth quarter of my training at the Building Preservation & Restoration Program of Belmont Technical College. That’s five out of seven. I started this series at the beginning of my training with the intent of highlighting the trades function in the preservation of our built environment and as an open scrapbook of my experiences through the duration of the training. I am happy to say that the zeal I came into the process with hasn’t wavered a bit. Now the time has come to begin seeking out internships and think more forwardly about my place in the field.
I know, like most of my peers, that I find satisfaction in making an unhealthy structure healthy again. I enjoy even more knowing why it is healthier and why it was unhealthy in the first place. This maintenance ethic may seem concrete in our minds, but I bet most of the world doesn’t view maintenance as a technical skill, a science, or an art (or even a priority). The beauty of the craftsman is not only their ability to work with their hands – truthfully, their handiwork would have no value without the intellectual understanding of the materials they are working with.
It is not enough, however, to be proficient in the historic building trades (i.e. plastering, blacksmithing, masonry, timber framing, faux painting, etc.) A modern preservationist (or conservator, or preservation technician) must take their knowledge of these highly specialized professions and view the building holistically and understand the process of deterioration. What good is a plasterer’s handiwork in repairing cracks in a wall when significant differential settlement is taking place in the building? A preservation-sensitive structural engineer would do more good.
So I suppose the conservationist shares in the same delight of the chemist, in knowing something at its atomic and molecular level – to know something through and through.
6 thoughts on “A Life in the Trades: October 2010”
Hey Nicholas…shoot me an e-mail if you get a chance. I know you’ve done some work at the Lundy Home in Saint Clairsville and I’d love to talk to you about the Lundy house/Free Labor Store in Mount Pleasant. jgilot at bethanywv dot edu
Thanks for sharing your process and progress while going through Belmont’s program. It’s been fun to read about your experiences!
je – will soon
Frank: not done yet – just 5 out of 7 quarters…..to be continued. Thanks for reading!
It is so inspiring to read about your passion and ‘foundational’ knowledge of preservation. The layman takes for granted all of the love and care and expertise that goes into the restoration of an old structure. Modern construction has lost so much integrity and style in efforts to churn out mass product. I’ve walked through soaring cathedrals and castles around the world that have stood the test of time because of the intense labor and materials that went into the original construction. I’ve walked across bridges build by the Romans. New structures may have a beauty all their own, but I don’t think you can ever improve on the architectural beauty or enduring composition of the past. Thanks for keeping history alive!
One of your biggest fans,
i plaster for sarel and all i can say is wow what an adventure it truly is