|Ph.D Student||Lobovikov-Katz Anna|
|Subject||The "Stone Regulation" and Stone Building Conservation in|
(The Role of Building Material - Stone -
in Urban Conservation)
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisors||Professor Emeritus Avraham Wachman (Deceased)|
|Professor M. Turner|
Stone masonry was practiced in Jerusalem from its foundation to the 20th century. The limestone deposits within its boundaries and around it are of suitable building quality and were quarried for this purpose. A systematic approach to conservation began with the British occupation of the city in 1917. The new authorities found a city built of stone, but its historic character was about to undergo basic transformation through two processes:
1. Spread of the use of reinforced concrete and new technologies in building construction.
2. The rapid development and expansion of the city and its neighborhoods.
With the objective of preserving the city’s unique character, the British authorities took immediate regulatory steps, the most important of which was the mandatory “Stone Regulation” which imposed the use of stone in all new constructions. The enforceability and scope of this Regulation were gradually extended to all parts of the city. Simultaneously, the conservation efforts were reinforced also by other means, such as a systematic urban planning policy, under which the Old City was declared a separate conservation area as early as 1918 - an event far in advance of the contemporary conservation approach.
The Regulation is a unique measure which was aimed directly and conclusively towards preserving the historic character of the whole city, and has consistently governed the visual appearance of its built environment to these days. However, following the significant changes which took place over the years in the construction industry, in its technology and in architectural design - the mandatory use of the traditional building material became incompatible with advanced technologies, and this incompatibility has since been reflected in Jerusalem’s overall character. However, stone is more wear-resistant than, for example, concrete or plaster and imparts a certain aesthetic quality to the buildings. It carries also special associative and historic value in the context of Jerusalem.
The present study is an attempt to examine the background of the “Stone Regulation”, its original objectives, and the changes it has undergone parallel to the design and technology changes. Consequences of its application are also examined. As the Regulation concentrates on the building-material factor, the research concentrates on the “stone” theme in the context of urban character preservation and examines the link between the properties of the material and their visual expression (shape, color, texture) in the urban design. Selected examples of buildings from different periods in Jerusalem are examined, and conclusions are drawn regarding the original objective of the regulation and the consequences of its ongoing application.
Key words: Conservation, Conservation policy, Preservation of the urban character, Conservation of stone building (Jerusalem)