Track 3: DELIVERY – INTERVENING INTO HISTORIC PLACES / Volet 3 : Réalisation – Intervenir dans les lieux historiques

Keeping the Berlin Wall from Falling: Conservation Challenges at the United Nation’s Berlin Wall

Friday, October 13
10:30 AM - 12:15 PM

How do we conserve something we once wanted to demolish? The Berlin Wall was, at first, utilitarian. It was not meant to be an enduring work of art, but rather a divider, meant to go up quickly and stay up. Its materials were chosen for speed and strength. But as it was toppled, the Wall took on a new symbolism of overcoming, realized through different actions and reactions. Some took axes to it; others took spray paint.
Now, rather than demolish it, the goal is to save this bittersweet symbol of war and division. The areas of loss are part of its ongoing history, together with the graffiti and artwork layered on top of the concrete surface. However, the incompatible materials and outdoor location provide seemingly insurmountable challenges to its longevity. The weather exacerbates and progresses the existing spalling and rebar corrosion. The incompatible paint refuses to adhere to the substrate, or to itself. Biological growth threatens the adhesion of the paint as well as the integrity of the concrete.
This paper will discuss the challenges of conserving the section of world heritage sited in the gardens of the United Nations. Techniques used to consolidate the paint, inhibit rebar corrosion, remove biological growth, consolidate concrete, and stabilize spalls will be discussed, along with caveats and considerations.

Learning Objectives:

Beata Sasinska

Conservator
EverGreene Architectural Arts

Beata is a Conservator with EverGreene Architectural Arts, and has completed a wide array of projects in plaster, decorative finishes, stone, wood, metals, and other architectural materials at sites such as the New York Public Library, St. Paul's Chapel, and a section of the Berlin Wall at the United Nations. She has an M.S. in Historic Preservation from Columbia University and a B.A. in Architectural History from Boston University.

Presentation(s):

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