documentation and conservation
of buildings, sites and neighbourhoods
of the modern movement
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  • documentation

    The following guidelines are provided to assist working parties in completing the NIS fiche and to ensure uniformity in recording. Fiches should be completed as fully as possible but in the standard format every section might not be relevant to a particular subject. Relevant sections should always be completed even when the entry repeats data on other related fiches. The principal objective of the NIS is to provide a scientific record. Because chronology is particularly important, all data in the submitted documents should be as exact as possible. Entries in the section “history” (2) should be confirmed from all available sources.

    0. Picture of building

    Photographs and drawings illustrating the building or site are required in part 5 of the fiche. For a quick visual identification we ask here for a single image which characterises the subject. This image should be cleared for copyright and its source clearly stated. If possible one copy should be suitable for reproduction, e.g. an original black and white print. The “brief description” should form a caption to this picture.

    1. Identity of building/site

    1.1 Identification

    Here sufficient information must be given to locate and identify the subject.
    Addresses are stated conventionally; the zip/post code is important; use province/region/county etc. as appropriate. Where postal address is not adequate give location by place-name and in relation to nearest classified road. Always provide national grid reference.
    Typology should be standardised, see attached classification (e.g.: church: REL; fire station: PBS).

    1.2 The status of protection
    should be indicated according to the present and local situation.
    If a nomination is under preparation – for local protection or for the World Heritage List – this can be mentioned under the heading of remarks.
    Eventual changes in the status should be mentioned in later updates.

    1.3 Visually or functionally related building(s)/site(s)
    can be mentioned if they are essential for the composition of the main building/site. Eventual views can be indicated on a map by means of an arrow.

    2. History of the building or site

    2.1 – 2.2 – 2.3 Chronology-development-relevant person(s)/organisation(s)
    should be completed as fully as possible to record the design and building process from commission – client and programme – to inauguration, noting especially changes of programme, concept or construction during that period. Note also any connections, through related persons or events, with wider aspects of the Modern Movement.

    2.4 – 2.5 Other associated persons/events – important changes
    can be used to record the history of the building in use.
    Take especial care with dates, which should be precise and researched. They should be noted either “exactly known” (e) or “approximate” (a) or (c) for circa per item.
    Dates can distinguish:
    – the international competition year
    – the preliminary concept of the design
    – the official construction permission
    – the beginning and completion of construction
    – the inauguration of the building
    If possible, specify the information sources

    3. Description of the building or site

    3.1 Character
    Summarise here the main characteristics of the building or site, in no more than one page, please. The subject should be described, not only on the functional level, but also in its formal and technical aspects, and, in a few words, the architectural concept should be synthesised. Building complexes, neighbourhoods, urban and rural landscapes or gardens might require identification of separate buildings or elements, which eventually can be described more in detail in subsidiary fiches.

    3.2 – 3.3 Current use – condition
    should be completed to record present use(s) and condition.

    3.4 Context
    to note local developments or any known proposals affecting the concept or functions of the building or site.

    4. Evaluation Docomomo’s tests for modernity seek to establish innovation, technical, social and aesthetic

    4.1 – 4.2 – 4.3 Intrinsic value
    In this section, the principal reasons for the selection are explained. It is not enough to affirm the outstanding values of the building or site at technical, social, aesthetic levels; the reasons must be argued in a few words. The evaluations must stress the innovatory aspects eg in building materials, structure and details, in commission, use or typology, and in design.

    4.1 Technical evaluation
    The use of new materials and new techniques was a credo for modern architects, so this aspect must be examined very carefully. Building materials and finishes, structure and services and, if relevant, building methods should be considered.

    4.2 Social evaluation
    Consider here social purposes and effects. Was the client a new actor compelling Modern intervention as were the public housing offices, or demanding new building types such as sanatoria or health centres? Did the project serve wider social or economic strategies, as did hydro-electric schemes and new towns?

    4.3 Aesthetic evaluation

    Here are considered the formal strategies of the designer and the formal qualities of the building.

    4. 4 – 4. 5 Comparative significance
    The two next categories are complementary. Though modern architecture was often acclaimed for its innovatory character, not all buildings did introduce new models; moreover, many were derivative.

    4.4 Canonic Status (question of model)
    This question concerns architectural appreciation, reception in the specialized press, as well as the project’s impact on design practice, at international or local level. In other words, in the time of its construction, sometimes later, was the project recognized as a major contribution to modernity? Furthermore,.did the building or site contribute to establish new architectural principles? Did it become a model?

    4.5 Reference Value (question of precedent)
    Consider here the historical context: can we establish relationships (technical, functional or formal) between the building or site under consideration and others which were built or established before, in the same region or in foreign countries.

     Bibliographical references

    Book
    AUTHOR NAME, First name or Initials, Title, Town of publication; Publisher’s name; year; ISBN
    eg WATTERS, Diane, Cardross Seminary, Edinburgh; RCAHMS; 1997; ISBN 0 7480 5829 X

    Article
    AUTHOR NAME, First name or Initials, ‘Title’, Name of periodical, country, volume or issue number, year, pp. x-y.
    eg BROOKS, Allen, ‘PSFS: a source for its design’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, vol. 27, 1967, pp. 299-302

    What is important is the sufficiency of data; not the writing order, nor the punctuation. Different styles can be used, but be consistent. Please ensure that all important references are given.

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    Guidelines

    Building | Site Classifications

    Minimum Fiche (typical for ONTARIO Register)

    Full Fiche

    Download for filling in

    Minimum Fiche (typical for ONTARIO Register)

    Full Fiche

    Fiches have to be saved, after filling in, as a rtf format. To make a rtf format file from a pdf file, use “save as rtf”.

    documentation and conservation of buildings, sites and neighbourhoods of the modern movement