Heritage Resources Management (HERM) 673

Architectural Conservation (Revision 1)


Architectural heritage makes places unique, creates a sense of home, and links us to our past while reinforcing communities; however, it is fragile and must be vigorously protected and promoted through an understanding of underlying values, communication, exemplary projects, research, and education. Heritage Resources Management 673: Architectural Conservation is an introduction to architectural heritage conservation and will provide the participants with a foundation in history, theory, and professional practice. It will include the historic conservation movement, including the main theorists, historical and philosophical development, major works, charters, and conceptual frameworks. HERM 673 will explore a range of subjects and issues that affect architectural conservation. It will also discuss the relationships between architectural conservation and its environmental and urban contexts.

HERM 673 offers an overview of technology and associated strategies in the conversation of buildings, including associated and topical technical issues in conservation (e.g., sustainability, management, and maintenance). Case study examples will be used extensively to illustrate different concepts and key approaches currently used in built heritage conservation, as well as various techniques for intervention (e.g., preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation). The terms from the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada will be used extensively, but this course will also present other terms used internationally. Such terms, including adaptive reuse and reconstruction, will be addressed to give participants a well-rounded vocabulary.

This course is for those interested in becoming cultural heritage managers or consultants, architects with no previous training in this field, architecture or history of architecture students, or those generally interested in heritage conservation of architecture.

Course Structure

HERM 673 is made up of ten units:

  • Unit 1: What Is Architectural Conservation? Why Does It Matter?
  • Unit 2: History and Theory
  • Unit 3: International Framework
  • Unit 4: Canadian Perspective
  • Unit 5: Values, Authenticity, and Significance
  • Unit 6: Interpretation
  • Unit 7: Context—Architectural Heritage and Its Surroundings.
  • Unit 8: Sustainable Development
  • Unit 9: Historic Resource Impact Assessment
  • Unit 10: Professional Practice

Course Objectives

The specific objectives move from theory and history to professional practice. These objectives are cumulative, and it will be stressed to the participants how these contribute to the overall objective.

After completing the course, students should be able to do the following:

  • Understand architectural conservation theory, its evolution, direction, current debates, and possible future trajectory.
  • Understand the history of the conservation movement, including critical moments and works, leading theorists, key documents, and organizations.
  • Decipher and then clearly communicate both the intrinsic and extrinsic values of architectural heritage and how these impact various interventions in their context.
  • Comprehend and critically review the various categories and appropriateness of interventions in architecture conservation practice.
  • Be aware of international and Canadian good practice with an understanding of the conservation process/cycle.
  • Become familiar with the international and national organizations that guide/govern theory and practice, as well as their mandates, responsibilities, interconnectivity, and limitations.
  • Develop a capacity for future-guided, formal, or self-study research with connections to other heritage resource management courses and international and Canadian organizations.
  • Understand the architectural conservation profession, including career paths, role in a multidisciplinary team, tools, vocabulary, and definitions.

Course Evaluation

To receive credit in HERM 673, you must complete all assignments and achieve a course composite grade of at least C (60 percent).

Activity Grade Weight
Assignment 1: Online Participation 10%
Assignment 2: Moderation of One Online Discussion 20%
Assignment 3: Personal Interpretation of an Architectural Example 15%
Assignment 4: Statement of Significance 20%
Assignment 5: Historic Structure Report 35%
Total 100%

Course Materials

All course materials are online.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, September 1, 2018.

Updated April 03 2019 by Student & Academic Services