The Living Laboratory

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Living Laboratory of Itinerant Educators

Truth is the fundamental principle of architecture. Of the many architectural styles which have, at one time or another, achieved popularity, those memorable few which most creditably bear the test of time are precisely the ones which we must provide a sense of stewardship and a need to preserve for the future. However, most building contractors working on pre-1940s buildings domestically and internationally do not possess the necessary knowledge, skills and experience for the task. Sadly, this all too often leads to inappropriate work being carried out in unsympathetic materials, much to the detriment of those structures.

In the long term, your group must be able to implement the management and restoration plan of your heritage building. But you might require help to prepare it, or help in training people to implement sustainable and sympathetic repair, especially if your group is not familiar with all the intricacies of how to preserve or repair the heritage fabric on your site. The right advice and education of your work force can also save you time and money in the long term.

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The Edifice Guild & Atelier has been delivering a celebrated education program for domestic home owners, commercial property owners and heritage professionals for well over three decades led by Dr. Christopher Cooper.

As Edifice has continued educating people in live setting workshops and professional intensive programs. Edifice Guild & Atelier has begun a progressive movement toward distance learning to make our courses accessible to everyone, wherever they may reside in the world.  Another important aspect to our mission is to make education very affordable.

About the program:

We have been approached regularly by heritage groups to help train their workers on the correct practices to implement sympathetic repair and restoration of their built heritage sites. With this in mind, we have created the Living Laboratory of Itinerant Educators. In this program, we will provide building pathology and conservation planning as well as training for a site administrator (at the Edifice Atelier Oxford Campus) and then deliver a complete education program electronically to the potential work force (or volunteers) in a classroom environment set up at your project location or in a suitable alternate location near the work site.

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How the program is delivered:

The education or professional intensives are delivered via a Wi-Fi link to a large monitor in the classroom environment. Techniques and hands-on work will be supervised by the Edifice trained site administrator directly on your site to move the project forward through to fruition. Edifice Guild & Atelier principals and or staff will monitor the project and provide remedies for any potential issues that may arise with the training programs or site-specific issues, with live feed training or onsite lectures/training.

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Program courses and training, but not limited to:

  • Understanding heritage architecture;
  • Understanding the intricacies of the design era of the subject building;
  • Principles of heritage design, as related to the subject building;
  • Principles of heritage woodworking;
  • Safety and machine tool use;
  • Principles of heritage interiors and exteriors;
  • Roof repair and restoration;
  • Water management;
  • Heritage cladding repair and fitting;
  • Proper insulation techniques for a heritage building;
  • Window repair and restoration;
  • Door repair and restoration;
  • Heritage masonry repair and restoration, brick and stone;
  • Timber framing repair and restoration;
  • Wooden floors, repair, restoration and replication;
  • Building replacement wooden windows and storms;
  • Building wooden replacement doors;
  • Ornamental plaster repair and restoration; and
  • Flat wall plaster repair and restoration.

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What happens after your project is completed?

In most cases, the buildings we will be providing this program for are in a pubic or museum setting. With changing trends in media and how people access information mean that there are new ways for public organizations and museums to tell their stories. We want to help you connect your stories with those who want to learn. Therefore, we will be actively working with your organization (after the project is complete) to implement a possible charter for a permanent campus of the Edifice Atelier, as well as a chapter of The Edifice Guild for your geographical location.


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About the Edifice Guild:

Learning from the Past to Preserve our Future…

Edifice Atelier’s professional intensives and courses offer high quality research-informed hands-on studies, professionally focused programs and technical skills to help your workforce achieve their future entrepreneurial career path after your project is completed. By creating knowledge and internship on site, sharing information through our courses and making business and client connections through acceptance into the Edifice Guild, we help enable our Professional Intensive students to realise their potential and achieve life-changing outcomes.

Certified Professional Development:

Structured Edifice Atelier CPD (Certified Professional Development) is considered a formal learning environment, which typically includes training courses, online e-Learning programs, workshops and seminars that have been accredited and conform to both Edifice Atelier’s and The Edifice Guild’s CPD guidelines and standards. When a delegate has completed a course of Edifice Atelier’s structured CPD, they will be provided with an Edifice Atelier CPD certificate of attendance/completion, which can be used as part of the individual’s personal Edifice Atelier CPD record, which is kept in our active reference data base for ten years (A record is archived in perpetuity after ten years).

To place the learning into context, a structured Edifice Atelier CPD will contain a point system for each completed course to become an associate or full member of the Edifice Guild with all the benefits and rewards allotted to members.

The Edifice Guild of Master Craftsmen is an international skilled trade and training association, representing skilled and rated tradespersons, artisans, craftspeople and other professionals, who strive for the uppermost quality in workmanship.

Its aims are to protect the skills, artistry and integrity of its guildsmen and clearly define the skilled from the unskilled, thus enabling the general public to choose an Edifice Guild of Master Craftsmen member to facilitate the craft or service they require with confidence.

The Edifice Guild’s website will provide a link between the general public and guildsmen that are thoroughly assessed and trained and or upgraded to earn the right to be an associate or full member of the Edifice Guild.

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Building Pathology Edifice Guild & Atelier:

Heritage Building Pathology provides a detailed knowledge of how buildings are constructed and function, and the various mechanisms by which their structural, material and environmental conditions can be affected by modern materials and poor workmanship.

The Edifice Guild & Atelier Building Pathology Report investigates and addresses the general repair and maintenance of heritage buildings both commercial and domestic in a sympathetic and sustainable manner.  The report will provide clear understanding of how the existing heritage building was meant to function prior to the modern age of construction (pre 1940’s) and how best to remediate problems without creating new issues to the historic fabric of the structure.  Most heritage buildings function better with a full understanding of how they were originally built and how to make those systems work again, to the benefit of the property owner.

At its most basic, a building Pathology Report describes:

  •  what type of work is needed;
  • Identify risks to the heritage, for example – fire, flooding, vandalism or lack of access to areas of a building;
  • why it is critical to your project;
  • which type of professional skills will be needed; and
  • the estimated cost and program of education delivery.
  • does not damage heritage unnecessarily;
  • anticipates impact on different kinds of materials and includes action to reduce that impact;
  • makes use of appropriate materials;
  • uses an appropriate approach to restoration, reconstruction and the reinstatement of lost features.

Ideally, the preparation of a full on-site Pathology Report from the Edifice Guild & Atelier is the first thing you will need to have executed in your development phase, as it will help you make important decisions about your project and prepare a Conservation Plan.


Conservation Planning

Conservation Plan Edifice Guild & Atelier:

An Edifice Guild & Atelier Conservation Plan is simply a document that helps you to understand why your heritage is valued and by whom. It helps you take an overall view, and it sets out a framework of policies that will help you make decisions about how to look after your heritage whilst ensuring it continues to be used, enjoyed and made accessible. In conjunction with the Pathology Report a detailed schedule of remediation works can be created.

At its most basic, a Conservation Plan describes:

  • your heritage;
  • why it matters and to whom;
  • what is happening to it; and
  • what are the key issues you need to be aware of to look after it.

The information in a Conservation Plan should help you to:

  • design new work;
  • plan conservation and restoration works;
  • improve public access;
  • or plan activities to help people engage with your site.

A Conservation Plan should include information about all of the different kinds of heritage on your site, and why they are important. Most historic places include more than one kind of heritage – such as archaeology, landscape, structures, signs or buildings. And each of these might be important in its own right. Having one single integrated plan ensures the issues are considered collectively and can also help you to anticipate and avoid potential conflicts in looking after different kinds of heritage.

Identify project costs:

It is not easy to anticipate heritage costs with any degree of certainty, but if you understand the heritage and its issues before your project begins, you have a better chance of predicting the financial need. The information in your Pathology and Conservation Plan/Report should help you to anticipate any heritage issues and allow for them in your timetable and costs.


Let’s Start The Conversation:

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