Building stone as a part of a World Heritage Site: ‘Piedra Pajarilla’ Granite and the city of Salamanca, Spain
Dolores Pereira, Barry J. Cooper, 2014. "Building stone as a part of a World Heritage Site: ‘Piedra Pajarilla’ Granite and the city of Salamanca, Spain", Stone in Historic Buildings: Characterization and Performance, J. Cassar, M. G. Winter, B. R. Marker, N. R. G. Walton, D. C. Entwisle, E. N. Bromhead, J. W. N. Smith
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Building stone is a significant product in most human communities. While some civilizations paid more attention to the aesthetics of the stone, others focused more on physical properties, especially durability, as well as the ease of transportation to construction sites. These latter issues determined which rocks were exploited, in preference to others, for centuries. Ancient Roman society became expert in constructing durable engineering projects (e.g. roads, bridges and aqueducts). Most of their projects were realized using local granites and most remain in excellent condition today. The historic cores of many European cities need to preserve their integrity, using the original building stone of the city both for new construction and for restoration. A supply of the original material should be preserved in order to avoid use of alternative building stones when restoring old monuments. In Salamanca, a specific unique granite was used to build many of its monuments that are now preserved as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. An attempt to preserve this architecture and restore it, when needed, with the original material is the main focus of our paper, as some experiences using other types of rocks have led to unfortunate results.
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There is considerable academic and practical interest in stone and stone buildings, as exemplified by the wide range of high-quality and innovative work being conducted in the pursuit of the effective preservation and restoration of historic buildings. This is reflected in the numerous publications on stone and stone buildings that regularly find their way into the public domain. Not least amongst these are a number of Geological Society Special Publications, which have appeared in recent years. This current volume seeks to bring to the attention of the various professionals in the field (geologists, architects, engineers, conservators and conservation scientists) recent work centred on the characterization and performance of this important resource and its use in historic buildings. The volume has wider relevance, including to those interested in the heritage of stone.