Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Heritage Building Materials and Technology

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Conservation and Built Heritage

DESCRIPTION This study-unit will discuss the history of technology and building, illustrated with particular case studies. Development of constructional techniques of historic buildings, particularly those applicable to local historic buildings, will also be discussed. There will also be a discussion on the wide range of traditional building materials, especially local ones, to be found in historic buildings. These include stone, mortars and plasters, focusing on the composition and properties of these inorganic building materials, the most common constituent materials used for the production of traditional mortars, and how these materials were used in the construction of historic buildings.

Emphasis will be put on the compatibility of lime-based mortars with porous limestone, and the differences when compared to modern (cement) mortars and plasters.

Study-unit Aims:

The aims of this study-unit are two-fold; to introduce the student to the development of structure and form in historic and traditional buildings, based on a discussion of the history of building technology, and to make the student aware of the type and nature of traditional building materials (stone, mortar, plaster) to be found in traditional and historic buildings and archaeological sites, particularly in Malta, and of compatibility issues in conservation.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Explain the development of technology over time, also in a local context;
- Describe the composition and properties of traditional local building materials (limestone, mortar, plaster);
- Compare the properties of a traditional mortar with those of local building stone;
- Compare a traditional (lime) mortar with a modern (cement) mortar.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- List the traditional materials, tools and methods used in local building construction;
- Explain how to prepare a traditional (lime) mortar;
- Choose the characteristics which ensure compatibility between a building stone and a repair mortar.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Essential Readings:

- Ashurst, J., (1983), Mortars, Plasters and Renders in Conservation: A Basic Guide, EASA.
- Ashurst, J., and Dimes, F.G., (1990) Conservation of Building and Decorative Stone, Butterworth-Heinemann.
- Ashurst, J., and Ashurst, N., (1988), Practical Building Conservation, Vol.3. Mortars, Plasters and Renders. Gower Technical Press.
- Cassar, J. et al (eds) (2014) Stone in Historic Buildings, Geological Society S.P.391.
- Cassar, J. et al (eds) (2013) Introduction to the Stone Cycle and the Conservation of Historic Buildings, Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, Thematic Set, Vol. 46, Part 4, Nov. 2013.
- Mainstone, R., The Development of Structural Form, Architectural Press, 2001.

Further Readings:

- Adam J.P., (1194), Roman Buildings, Materials and Techniques, Indiana University Press.
- Allen G., et al. (2003), Hydraulic Lime Mortar, Donhead.
- Alberti, L.B. (J.Rykwert ed.) (1986), The Ten Books of Architecture, Dover Publications, NY.
- Buhagiar, K., and Cassar, J., (2003) "Fort Chambray: The genesis and realisation of a project" in 18th c. Malta" in Melita Historica, Malta, Vol.XIII, no.4, pp. 347-364.
- Cassar, J., (2010), "The use of limestone in a historic context - the experience of Malta" in Limestone in the Built Environment: Present Day Challenges for Preservation of the Past. Smith, Gomez-Heras, Viles & Cassar eds. Geological Society, London, Special Publication 331; p. 13-25.
- Cassar, J., (2004), "Comparing visual and geochemical classification of limestone types: the Maltese Globigerina Limestone", in Stone 2004, 10th International Congress on Deterioration and Conservation of Stone, 27th June - 2nd July, Stockholm, Sweden, pp. 569-577.
- Cassar, J., (2004), "Composition and property data of Malta's building stone for the construction of a database.", in Architectural and Sculptural Stone in Cultural Landscape, Prikryl, R., and Siegl, P., (eds) pp. 11-28.
- Cowper, A.D., (1927) (reprinted 1998) Lime and Lime Mortars. Donhead.
- Elert, K., Rodriguez Navarro, et al. (2002), "Lime Mortars for the Conservation of Historic Buildings" in Studies in Conservation 47: 62-75.
- R.J. Milne, (ed.), (1997), Structural Engineering, History and Development, Spon Press.
- King, R., (2001), Brunelleschi’s Dome, Pimlico.
- Straub, H., (1952), The History of Civil Engineering, MIT Press, Cambridge MA.
- Parsons, W.B., (1968), Engineers and Engineering in the Renaissance, MIT Press, Cambridge MA.
- Warland, E.G., (1953), Modern Practical Masonry, Reprint Stone Federation, Pitman & Sons Ltd.
- Spiteri, S., (2008) The Art of Fortress Building in Hospitaller Malta, BDL Publishing, Malta.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Fieldwork, Ind Study, Lecture, Project & Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Mark Azzopardi
Jo Ann Cassar
Amanda Jane DeGiovanni

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.