When a building is demolished or changed—even in well planned conservation works—some evidence of its history is lost. Archival recording aims to preserve at least some of that evidence.
Recording is a part of good practice. The Burra charter recommends that Existing fabric, use, associations and meanings should be adequately recorded before any changes are made to the place (article 27). It says the records should be placed in a permanent archive and made publicly available (article 32).
For a place on a heritage register, recording may be a condition of development approval. In Queensland the Department of Environment and Science’s Guideline: archival recording of heritage places sets the standards used by state and local authorities. Other agencies have their own standards, usually similar to these.
Appropriate recording methods should be used in each case. Measured drawing and photographic recording are usually called for (at the proper level of detail), and video or audio recording are sometimes needed. I prefer drawings made by hand, rather than by computer, to show the details that matter.
Usually I take the photos, but for some projects I work with other professionals.
Projects involving archival recording
Government House Brisbane: the hall floor
Revealing and conserving a beautiful 1880s geometric tile floor.
Blog posts about archival recording
When I go out to do serious work recording historic places I carry a pile of camera gear—a solid tripod,...
I'm just back from spending a few days in Sydney, staying in one of my favourite houses. A friend has...
Bernd Becher, 1931-2007
I'm saddened to read that Bernd Becher has died. Bernd, with his wife and photographic partner Hilla, produced a wonderful...