Stone conservation specialists to preserve Durham Castle
(10 July 2009)
Durham University and the University of Pennsylvania have embarked upon a multi-year collaborative programme to develop stone conservation techniques for Durham Castle.
The Castle, also Durham’s 'University College' and home to over 100 students, is part of Durham’s World Heritage Site, which also includes the Cathedral, Palace Green, and some of the surrounding buildings. Two architectural conservators, Tiffani Simple and Yaritza Hernandez, led by Professor Frank G. Matero, an internationally- renowned stone-conservation expert, will study the condition of the Castle’s stonework this summer to develop appropriate conservation techniques to deal with the soft, weathered stone. This initiative will complement the expertise already available at hand, comprising conservation architects and stone masons engaged in a continuous building conservation and maintenance programme for the 900 year old Castle, and a curator for its collections. Frank G. Matero is Professor of Architecture and Chair of the Graduate Programme in Historic Preservation, as well as director and founder of the Architectural Conservation Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Design. Since 1988, he has been on the faculty as lecturer in Architectural Conservation at the International Centre for the Study of Preservation and the Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) in Rome, and Senior Lecturer for Restore, New York City. He is also on the board of directors of the Global Heritage Fund. Avenues for future technical cooperation will also be explored between Durham Cathedral and the University of Pennsylvania, as part of ongoing initiatives to further the preservation and interpretation of the Durham World Heritage Site, inscribed by UNESCO in 1986. Vice Chancellor Professor Chris Higgins said: “Durham University recognises the pivotal role that culture can play in the regeneration of the North East, and is proud to be taking an active part in the preservation and promotion of Durham’s heritage. "Other heritage-related projects underway include the creation of a world-class exhibition space in Palace Green Library, showcasing Durham’s treasures, and the establishment of a World Heritage Site visitor facility.” Durham Cathedral’s Canon Rosalind Brown, Chair of the Durham World Heritage Site Coordinating Committee, said: “This initiative is a very good example of international collaboration to enhance a site that is of international interest. "We welcome the specialists to Durham and hope that this will pave the way for future international co-operation on other projects in the World Heritage Site.” The Durham World Heritage Site Coordinating Committee includes representatives from Durham University, Durham County Council, Durham City Vision, One North East, English Heritage, and the City of Durham Trust.