JOINING CHEMISTRY AND ARCHITECTURE
All Universities along Europe, due to the Bologna Process and its implementation, have done a great effort to offer postgraduate studies with an attractive range of Master Degrees. At the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), the development of the new master studies has had the multidisciplinarity as one of the main objectives. In this abstract we present the experiences that a group of lecturers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry have had in the Master on Restoration and Integral Management of the Built Heritage. The Master is open to architects, chemists, physics, engineers, historians, lawyers and geologists among others, and it has been designed in collaboration with the Faculty of Architecture and the Department of Geography, Prehistory and Archaeology from the University of the Basque Country. Chemistry has been present in the following three 5 ECTS credit subjects; Environmental Impacts on Façades and Roofs, Restoration and Preservation of Materials and Illumination, sound and colour in Restoration.
In the Restoration and Preservation of Materials subject, students learn about the main physical and chemical characteristics of the materials used in buildings, such as stones, metals, polymers, composites, etc. They are also instructed in the use of several analytical techniques, as well as in the information they can obtain when these techniques are applied in the study of the characteristics of such materials. In the same subject, issues on conservation and preservation are presented.
In the Environmental Impacts on Façades subject, students are concerned about how the building materials are affected by several environmental stressors, such as acid gases, rain water, micro-organisms, etc., and how they degrade. Those mechanisms of degradation are worked using a chemical prediction computer programme. Besides, several lessons are devoted to acquire knowledge on the use of analytical techniques to study the environmental impact.
In the Illumination, sound and colour in Restoration subject, students are taught on the importance of the colour, illumination and sound when a restoration of a building is carried out, as they may be fundamental characteristics of the buildings and, thus, have to be taken into account in any restoration work in order to maintain the original configuration. The measurement of acoustic and colour properties of buildings is studied, as well as the relation of colour and pollutants.
The three subjects are organized in three sections: theory lessons about each section of the subject, class practices in which case studies are presented and discussed, and outdoor practices in which real cases are visited and analysed. In some outdoor practices, portable analytical instrumentation is used in-situ, so that students can check the usefulness of such techniques.
On the whole, the experience demonstrates that multidisciplinarity is essential for the proper management of Cultural Heritage, and even more when a restoration of an irreplaceable building or artefact is going to be conducted.