This side-project arose out of the work of the Syrian Heritage Archive Project and became a second track of its archival work. The Damage Assessment work augments historical data by adding information about destruction of architectural and archaeological Syrian cultural heritage caused by the present war.
Data on, among other things, the administration, history and location of buildings is being collected via regularly updated photographs and sound and film recordings. The team uses this data to prepare status reports with a quick assessment of the most important damage and an urgency assessment, together with recommendations for securing the buildings. The damage assessment is methodically based on an in-depth analysis of the European standard EN 16096 for the assessment of the condition of built cultural heritage – and thus on the empirical knowledge of monument conservation. UNESCO questionnaires for urgent damage assessment (rapid assessment) are a model and their content is adopted. The aim of the project is to gather detailed knowledge that can be used to plan reconstruction.
Funding: Gerda Henkel Stiftung
Duration: July 2017 to July 2020
The work of the project is mainly focused on providing material for practical use, after disasters and war. The project develops and produces Rapid Condition Assessment reports for heritage buildings in Aleppo. They serve a needed general situation report, which should include an assessment of the sites according to the severity of their condition and the need to intervene in them.
Ultimately, this situation report serves the purpose of establishing a time-bound and objective priority list for interventions, whether or not the management structure needed to implement such measures is in place.
Some outcomes from the work of the Aleppo Built Heritage Documentation Project:
- the application of a unified working methodology for rapid documentation reports of (heritage) buildings, which allows the comparison of materials from different teams,
- as a result of this, we have established a uniform work form that allows the contribution of semi-skilled helpers (architects, engineers and archaeologists), with subsequent finalization by specialists,
- the European standard [EN 16069] on “Condition Survey and Report for the Built Cultural Heritage” serves as a guideline, in the absence of other standards with the same scope. This adaptation is particularly recognizable in the structure of the reports, as well as in the two-part assessment of components/elements; on the one hand a classification of the condition, but also a further classification of the need for intervention! Only these partial evaluations and recommendations result in a general evaluation of a site/building [The project has also prepared a translation of the standard into Arabic].
- in addition, in relation to established methods of heritage conservation and restoration practice, we applied the following steps in site inspection and report writing: Site visit, anamnesis, then assessment of the situation.
An extensive collection of photos from 2012 to 2019 of damage to built structures in Aleppo was integrated into the project’s archive database, if rights of use were available.
Materials and Documents
The projects provides guides with general recommendations, model examples and guidelines to help e.g. with building documentation and damage assessment, rubble/debris management, and a guide on general patterns of damage to building materials (stone) and structures in relation to their causes.
The guidelines are published, access below, and available for download (save as) as bilingual PDF files in Arabic and English.
Click to go to publications
Aleppo Built Heritage Documentation (and Damage Assessment) Project has conducted several exemplary Rapid Condition Reports for Built heritage in Aleppo. Below, you find a map with there locations and names, followed by the (bi-lingual: Arabic-English) reports in PDF format ready to be downloaded. A methodical showcase file is been made on ʿAdiliyya mosque!
Also available: the special report on missing ʿAjami wooden interiours of Bayt Ghazala.
Related articles, made together with the sub-project Aleppo Catalogue, are also published on L.I.S.A Wissenschaftsportal of Gerda-Henkel Stiftung, within the Teamwork project Aleppo Heritage Catalogue, such as for the site of Madrasat al-Khusrawiyya, the endowment (waqf) of Ibshir Basha, and the Great Mosque of Aleppo….
Out of its damage assessment work on Bayt Ghazala (house) in Aleppo, our project has been collecting all available data of the house due to its architectural and art historical importance, especially as regards wooden, highly decorated interior decorations called ʿAjami . These ʿAjami rooms were missing during the recent conflict in in Aleppo. In order to prevent them from being illegally sold, this report presents most of the removed panels by using photos that were taken before September September 2012 .
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