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Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada
THE NEED TODAY FOR A RESIDENT RESTORATION ARCHITECT
BY ERIC KRAUSE
FORTRESS OF LOUISBOURG
JANUARY 22/FEBRUARY 14, 1990
Louisbourg's accelerated 0 & M maintenance and Re-Capitalization programmes have placed an unfair burden upon the Structural Design and Technical Maintenance Teams as they are presently constituted. Because the Park has charged these two related teams with the responsibility for recommending period solutions to present-day maintenance and re-cap problems, they are the de facto protectors of the historical accuracy of Louisbourg's as-built assets. Unfortunately, these teams today lack a vital player.
From 1961 until 1972, Louisbourg's developmental capital construction phase sputtered along without the services of a resident restoration architect. Problems, which appeared solvable in those early, heady years, simply festered into lingering disputes over time. Then, in 1972, the project hired its first, and to date, only restoration architect. By any standard, he increased the efficiency and effectiveness of the project's effort in dramatic fashion.
In 1982, Louisbourg passed from its developmental to its operational phase. In this new regime, the Park regarded the services of a resident restoration architect as non-essential, and it did not re-write the position. Unfortunately, time has proven this decision flawed, and shortsighted. Once again, Louisbourg's 0 & M and Capital programmes are displaying many of the same characteristic shortcomings of the pre-1972 era: work delays; unsure actions; inappropriate, spurious, or creative designs, communication gaffes, misunderstandings, and re-inventions of the wheel, amongst others.
Since 1983, and for the first time since 1972, a restoration architect has not chaired the Structural Design Team. As a result, the team functions, as it did in the 1960's, much like a ship without its captain. Its crew, though competent, is ignorant of its proper destination, or of what dangers lurk in the waters of historical fact in which it has set sail. Yet, the ship continues on, landing upon one solution after another, hoping that each will stand the test of time and historical scrutiny.
Clearly, if the Structural Design Team is to succeed in achieving its goals, its chairman must be a knowledgeable restoration architect, permanently established, here, with an eager desire to conduct research in the Archives/Library, where the record of Louisbourg's unique construction and architectural heritage is to be found. The job description, responsibilities, and language requirement must be the same as it was as for the previous incumbent, Yvon LeBlanc. The position must also be indeterminate.
FROM THE RECORD
In 1962, the Department stated that it was unable to recruit a suitable civil service "Restoration Architect' anywhere in Canada, the United States or Europe, as one was neither available nor ready to move to Louisbourg. (1) As a result, beginning in 1963, Louisbourg decided to contract out many of its period and modern design services to the Canadian, R. Calvert, working out of Toronto, while retaining the Frenchmen, Maurice Berry, President of the "Compagnie des Architectes des Monuments Historiques," as a technical advisor to the project.(2) Calvert, by his own admission, was not a trained restoration architect, while Berry, though well versed in 18th century architecture, was but an occasional visiting architect to Canada, who resided otherwise in France. (3)
In particular, this system displayed serious shortcomings:
(1) While Calvert was the one who prepared the designs, he was not the one who supervised actual construction, be it by contract or by the Department's own forces;(4)
(2) Neither the contract nor the visiting architects had daily, routine contact with the research staff and their findings, nor, for that matter, with each other, since they were not centrally located at Louisbourg. This naturally led to many misunderstandings ;(5)
(3) Calvert, since he was not a trained restoration architect, had to learn his practice on the job. He also had to travel to France on several occasions to acquaint himself with assorted technical details.(6)
With the tendering of the first architectural designs in 1965, the Department, though half-heartedly, again tried to obtain a bilingual resident trained restoration architect to replace the existing Calvert/Berry style contract system. (7) At the same time, it embarked upon developing an architectural capability in Ottawa, with, ultimately, a plan for stationing a restoration architect in Halifax, and architectural "specialists" in Louisbourg.(8) Notwithstanding this undertaking, because of the investment which the Department had made in Calvert and Berry, in terms of money and accumulative expertise, the Department decided to continue with the Contract system until 1968.
Throughout this period, tensions mounted between the many disciplines involved in the Louisbourg Restoration Project: For example, between architect and research; between architect and engineering; between research and engineering; and between architect, research, engineering, and the Park Superintendent. In an attempt to solve this conflict between competing interests, the Project committed itself in 1966 to a team approach in the design of historic structures and landscaping at Louisbourg because:
According to John Lunn, the major players in the design process in 1970 (which he placed in alphabetical order, obviously so as not to offend feelings) were" the archaeologist, architect, draftsman, engineer and interpreter...."(10) So important did Lunn regard the position of architect that he recommended that the Department assign it to the Louisbourg establishment, and that, immediately afterwards, the architect ought to assume chairmanship of the Structural Design Team (hitherto chaired by an engineer).
The key role which the architect, one well versed in 18th century architecture, was to play in the design process, besides acting as referee, was to "assess the validity of the collected information and evolve the final restoration concept for the project ... he must be considered as the final design authority ... [otherwise] the Department is open to severe criticism by outside experts in the field."(11)
Like the architect, then stationed in Toronto, the historians at the beginning of the project worked in Ottawa, far distant from Louisbourg. However, after years of complaints with this arrangement, the Department decided , in 1965, to shift the historical unit to the Project site itself. As experience from that date has shown, the decision was a wise one.
During the 1960's, the Louisbourg architectural system suffered many of the same complaints as did the historians before their move. Because of the distant relationship with the Project:(12)
(1) Integrating information was difficult;
(2) Associating with the realities of reconstruction was not feasible;
(3) Continuing dialogue on a daily basis was impossible.
By 1967, Louisbourg's intent was to:
In 1968, a combination of reasons, including small "p" political, personality clashes, and the time-lag (caused by distance) in reaching decisions, caused the Department not to continue with the services of the contract architects. At the time, it even abandoned any hope of hiring a Louisbourg based restoration architect. Their continued unavailability, or their reluctance to locate in Louisbourg, remained barriers which the Department found impossible to hurdle.Besides, according to Superintendent John Lunn, the Barracks of the King's Bastion, for example, was a complicated design, requiring the previous contract system, whereas the remaining designs, being for "bourgeois' or "peasant" structures, would be for more simple to design and construct. However, if a restoration architect did become available, he need be full-time, and in residence, since the "inter-related" Structural Design Team required it, in order to function effectively. Meanwhile, if Louisbourg needed architectural advice, it could consult with a regional or branch architect, if one were available. (14)
Given the dearth of qualified restoration architects, as well as the Project's unfamiliarity with certain structural details, particularly in the area of interior structural design, Lunn hoped to reach professional advisory agreements with certain Canadian and American restoration architects.(15) A less formal arrangement than the previous contract system, this relationship need not commit Louisbourg to any particular piece of restoration advice or even to any architect, except on an as-need basis.(16)
In 1969, the Branch Architectural Section, as had the previous Louisbourg contract architect, would assure the Project that it was capable of assuming some of Louisbourg's considerable design workload. It also promised to visit the site frequently. Notwithstanding this commitment, the obvious requirement for increased building design forced Louisbourg to continue its lobby for a full time resident architect. At the same time, it had to recognize the reality that it had always proven impossible to obtain one.(17)
In 1970, the Department was again actively seeking the services of a suitable restoration architect for Louisbourg. This time its thinking was as follows: what existing engineering design that remained, a restoration architect could complete, and now that civil servant architects were better paid, one might actually apply. (18)
According to Louisbourg's standards, its resident architect required architectural schooling in French rather than in Quebec traditions and architectural styles. The nature of Louisbourg's historical growth, and that its structures owed more to the French rather than to the Quebec experience, demanded no less than that stance.(19)
At the time, Louisbourg recognized that the availability of architectural documentary evidence on its vernacular buildings, in contrast to that on its King's buildings, was generally lacking. However, the problem was actually more one of degree, rather than of no knowledge at all of domestic building techniques, and, to that extent, even the now completed King's Bastion Barracks had suffered, from time to time, from a lack of information.
In fact, according to the Branch's Chief Restoration Architect, a number of designs within the Parks system "show an inadequate knowledge of [the] ... architecture of the period ...." For these reasons, the Department was actively seeking the services of qualified restoration architects from France. One of these, at least, they hoped to assign to Louisbourg.(20)
In 1971, Louisbourg and the Branch clashed over the following points in the hiring of a restoration architect:
(1) Residency: whether Louisbourg or Ottawa based;
(2) Reporting line: whether to the Louisbourg Bureaucracy or to the Chief Restoration Architect in Ottawa;
(3) Membership on the Louisbourg Structural Design Team: whether routine or generally inactive;
(4) Ottawa functional control: whether tight or loose;
(5) Contribution of Louisbourg research findings: whether it existed in a portable enough form for distribution to Ottawa so that it could contribute to design.(21)
At the ARO level, the regional engineer supported Louisbourg's arguments. The existing Louisbourg Team approach to design maximized not only the use of existing research data but also a growth in productivity. In addition, he thought that:
This clash with the Restoration Section in Ottawa had deep roots in the fixing of blame, over the years, for the numerous design and construction delays which the Project had suffered, and in a Louisbourg-Ottawa power struggle as to who would be best, as well as responsible, for design.(23) According to Lunn, not only ought Louisbourg be responsible for most designs, but also it required a resident architect to guide the work, because it:
(1) had the capacity to do the job;
(2) held the evidence for reaching design decisions;
(3) had the historians and archaeologists who provided the evidence:
(4) had developed a proven inter-discipline team approach for developing designs;
(5) had suffered over the years from a process that encouraged long-range communications.(24)
For Lunn, his thoughts were that a resident restoration architect ought to chair the Structural Design Team and report to Louisbourg rather than to Ottawa. He would be there to offer daily guidance, assert his knowledge, arbitrate professional disputes, and provide a strong influence upon design. This he would do for at least 5 years, when, as the thinking went, the Project would no longer required such a service.(25)
With Yvon LeBlanc's appointment as Restoration Architect in 1972, the Project entered a new era of design procedure. At first aided by consulting architects from Ottawa, Mr. LeBlanc, in a most competent and aggressive architectural manner, quickly took charge of Louisbourg's massive domestic reconstruction programme. (26) Here, in this position, he remained, until his retirement in 1983.(27)
Unfortunately, his appointment to the position did not alter how the Louisbourg establishment. viewed the position over the long haul. As expressed in a 1973 task force on Louisbourg's future, and affirmed by later re-organization initiatives, the position of restoration architect was not to be extended following the completion of the planned reconstructions. Instead, the Project's shortsightedness envisioned a trades staff directing an Engineering and Works maintenance programme without benefit of a professional component. (28)
Prior to Mr. LeBlanc's retirement, the Structural Design Team had begun to experience the beginnings of a growing maintenance problem (which a well-attended Louisbourg seminar on the subject of how to properly maintain its as-built assets first discussed in 1977).(29) Indeed, some of Louisbourg's reconstructions had deteriorated to such a degree by then that the Superintendent would authorize the establishment of a Technical Maintenance Management/Team Task Force (with initial input from the Restoration Architect). Its objective was to establish maintenance guidelines; technical maintenance method standards; and Technical Maintenance Manuals for each reconstructed feature.(30)
The known examples of seriously deteriorated assets has increased dramatically since 1983, and has prompted the introduction of a massive re-capitalization programme to Louisbourg.(31) Four, sometimes interrelated reasons, have caused the problems:
(1) Failure of 20th century technology;
(2) Failure of 18th century technology;
(3) Design errors;
(4) Inherent period and modern design limitations.
The challenge facing both the Structural Design Team (charged with recommending a course of action) and the Technical Maintenance Team (charged with identifying technical standards and devising method standards) is how best to implement the repair and/or recapitalization (re-reconstruction) of deteriorated historical assets. Two road blocks today stand in its path:
(1) An ambivalent philosophical reconstruction goal;
(2) The absence of a knowledgeable resident restoration architect.
The re-capitalization problems of 1990 are similar, in an important respect, to those of the earlier developmental phase :
(1) Be it re-reconstruction or reconstruction, repair or new construction, their solution lie in proper design based on an understanding of primary (Louisbourg) and secondary (general 18th century French) architectural and construction evidence.;
(2) Experience has proven only a qualified restoration architect, with a specialist knowledge, capable of generating the necessary respect to weigh the oft-conflicting evidence and make authoritative decisions, to be that person;
(3) The re-capitalization programme must also establish an appropriate life cycle model for reconstructed historical features, as well as a mechanism for improving the authenticity (i.e. historical accuracy) of Louisbourg's as-built assets;
(4) It must also allow the restoration architect time to anticipate and plan for change, as well as time to analyze technical failures and success;
(5) Resident historians, archaeologists, archivist, and a trained drafting staff must also be available to the restoration architect, for consultation purposes;
(6) Access to the views of outside reconstruction and restoration specialists is equally important.
1. November 5, 1962, Central Registry Files 321-4, 22/7-Rl; R. L. and B. W. Way, "Reconnaissance in Europe," November and December 1962, Appendix, pp. 4 - 5.
2. "Meeting of December 27th 1962," January 2, 1963; "Meeting in Montreal with M. Berry Re Louisbourg," April 15, 1964, April 16, 1964; Maurice Berry,"Restoration of the Louisbourg Fortress," May 12, 1964; Contract and Specifications for Design for the Chateau St. Louis, Fortress of Louisbourg, N. S., Contract 378, February 1963, Central Registry Files, 321-4, 22/7-RI; John Lunn to T. C. W. Little, "Contract for Professional Services, Chateau St-Louis, Fortress of Louisbourg," [Circa march 13, 1968), Central Registry Files, 321-11, 22/4-C2.
3. "Meeting in Montreal with M. Berry Re Louisbourg," April 15, 1964, April 16, 1964; R. G. Calvert to A. D. Perry, August 16, 1965, Central Registry File, 321-4d; Ronald L. Way to J. I. Nicol, October 14, 1965, Central Registry File, 321-4d.
4. E. A. Coté," Louisbourg - Chateau St. Louis, Contract vs. Day Labour, "March 26, 1965, Central Registry File 321-4a; R. G. Calvert to John Lunn, "Re: Contract for Architectural Services - Chateau St. Louis, "February 16, 1968, Central Registry Files, 321-4.
5. John Lunn to Research Director, "Communication", February 2, 1966, R.B. 14/7; John Lunn to Director, "Chateau design and the complications of a part-time, non-resident architect," February 23, 1966; John Lunn to Research Director, "Communication and the Historical Research Unit,' February 28, 1966; Ronald L. Way to Regional Director, "Informational Report," November 10, 1967.
6. R. G. Calvert, John Lunn, "Re: General Architectural Consulting Services," November 15, 1967, Central Registry Files, 321-11; John Lunn to Regional Engineer, "Contracts for Consulting Architect Services - Louisbourg," December 7, 1967, Central Registry Files, 321-11.
7. R. P. Malis to Director, Organization Review, October 22, 1965; L. R. Thompson to A. D. Perry, October 5, 1965, Central Registry File 321-4d; R. P. malis to Director, "Organizational Changes - Louisbourg, November 29, 1965.
8. A. D. Perry to Regional Engineer, "Tentative Organization, Engineering Staff, Fortress of Louisbourg Restoration and Park," April 14, 1966.
9. John Lunn to Heads of Sections, "Design Procedures", July 24, 1970, Central Registry File 22/1 - S 4.2 (Design); John Lunn to Research Director, "Communication," February 2, 1966, R.B. 14/7.
11. "Louisbourg Project - Division of Responsibilities", N.D. [Circa October 1970], Ottawa Files, Record Box 2/3.
12. "Financial Analysis and Forcast, Fortress of Louisbourg," [Circa 1967], Draft Report.
13. John Lunn to Regional Engineer, "Contracts for Consulting Architect Services - Louisbourg," December 7, 1967, Central Registry Files, 321-11.
14. John Lunn to Regional Director, "Future Design of Historic Structures at Louisbourg", June 6, 1968, Central Registry Files, 321-11, 22/4-C2; Arthur Laing to C. M. Drury, may 31, 1968, Central Registry Files, 321-11; "Meeting at Louisbourg," December 15, 1971.
15. John Lunn to Regional Director, "Mr. A. J. H. Richardson and HiS Drawings of 18th Century Structures," August 22, 1968; John Lunn to Regional Director, "Restoration Architect Support", AuguSt 22 1968, R. B. 12/11.
16. John Lunn to Charles E. Peterson, September 25, 1968, R.B. 12/11.
17. R. J. Harmer to Regional Director, "Design by Branch Architectural, Section," March 28, 1969, Central Registry Files, 844-1, G. J. Bowen to Regional Engineer, "Town Buildings, 22/2 M2.7 Fortress of Louisbourg," May 5, 1969.
18. D. W. Street to Director, "Restoration Architect, Fortress of Louisbourg,' April 14, 1970, R.B. 15/230.
19. John Lunn to Regional Engineer, "Restoration Architect - Fortress of Louisbourg', June 3, 1970, Central Registry Files, 22/6-E3.
20. "Louisbourg Project - Division of Responsibilities," N.D., R.B.
21. J. K. Edmonds to Director, "Restoration Architect, Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic park," April 2, 1971, R.B. 2/4; "Meeting at Louisbourg - December 15, 1971.
22. J. K. Edwards to Director, "Restoration Architect, Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Park," April 2, 1971, R.B. 2/4.
23. John Lunn to Regional Director, "Present Period Structure Design Situation at Louisbourg," August 19, 1971, Central Registry Files, 22/2-M2.7; John Lunn to Regional Engineer, "Project Authorization to Branch Design of "Piquet" House, July 19, 1971, Central Registry File 22/2-M 2.7; J. K. Edmonds to J. E. Savage, "Engineer'S House - Interior Design, Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Park, April 2, 1971, Central Registry Files, 22/7-Rl; John R. Dun to Head of Research, "Bigot and Engineer House Design," August 23, 1971, Central Registry Files, 321-10; John Lunn to Regional Engineer, "Bigot House & Engineer House Design Meeting," September 1, 1971, Central Registry Files, 22/2-M 2.7; John Lunn to Regional Director, "Some Ramifications of the Director's Tour of the Fortress Area on November 9, 1972," R.B. 14/16.
24. "Meeting at Louisbourg, December 15, 1971".
25. "Meeting at Louisbourg - December 15, 1971".
26. John Lunn to Regional Engineer, "Field Visit Reports by Consulting Architects," October 19, 1972, Central Registry Files, 22/2 M2.7; E. Poirrier to Regional Manager E & A, "Report on J-C Yarmola, Restoration Consultant," June 24, 1974, Central Registry files, 22/2-M 2.7.
27. Cape Breton Post, July 18, 1983.
28. Louisbourg Task Force, 'Recommended and Reduced Postures Development and 0 & M (Plus Long-Range Development Costs," April 12, 1973; "General Works Section, Recommended Organization, Fortress of louisbourg National Historic Park,' Submitted February, 1977; William O'Shea to Park Superintendent, "Park Organization, Operational Period," January 26, 1979, Louisbourg Report PD-53.
29. Fortress of Louisbourg, "Maintenance of the Site Seminar," January 24, 1977, Louisbourg Report E-20.
30. D. Lipton, "Technical maintenance Team," March 2, 1983 (Draft).
31. "Recapitalization of Built Assets - Fortress Area," P.A.D., December 30, 1986; J. Moriarty, "Louisbourg: Condition Inspection - 21st - 24th April 187 - Wood-framed Buildings."; "Recapitalization of Built Asset- Fortress Area," April 14, 1987, Central Registry Files, 7903-1; Andrew Powter, "Atlantic Regional Office, Fortress of Louisbourg HHP-Recapitalization Programme," 17 August, 1988, 26 October, 1988.