Sunday, 28 September 2008

Lessons from the collapse.

Since seeing the sorry mess that was the beginning of the restoration of Mostar's Music School I've been pondering the lessons. I should confess I am not a qualified scaffolder. Nevertheless, I have done a bit of rigging in the past. Despite my comment in my video I have combined a rooftop and scaffolding without adding protective headgear into the mix. However, that's not what I've been thinking about.

My thoughts are with a damaged building that stood, albeit in a ruined state, for fifteen years since the conflict only to fall when help for rebuilding arrived. Perhaps you can see where this is going? My suspicion is the Music School frontage was pulled down by scaffolding caught in the wind. In every instance of building renovation we've seen here the scaffolding is secured into the front of the building involved. There is little in the way of bracing, certainly none of the big diagonals I'm used to seeing. It seems that scaffolding is not truly self-supporting instead relying too heavily on the building it's supposed to be helping.

The collapse ruined what looked like brand new scaffolding as well as destroying, rather than helping restore, a local landmark. All this reminds me of something I said when we were packing to leave: it's only help if it's helping. Things that have been damaged do need renovation; they need help to do what they cannot do for themselves. But that help must help, providing support instead of pulling on an already weakened structure. Only then will things be properly restored.

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