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Saturday, June 2 • 10:00am - 10:30am
(Architecture) Ground-truthing Adobe Ruins:Assessing Vulnerability of Earthen Architecture in a Changing Climate

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One hundred miles northeast of Santa Fe is Fort Union National Monument, the largest adobe ruin in North America and once the largest U.S. military reservation in the Southwest. Established as a National Monument in 1954, Fort Union challenged every succeeding generation of cultural resource specialists—archaeologists, architects, historians, engineers, scientists, conservators, and masons—to find a sustainable solution to the preservation of its earthen walls. The ruins of Fort Union now face unprecedented challenges as increased cycles of extreme weather undermine and topple walls. This research establishes a framework for the integrated study of the deterioration for earthen and masonry structures in the arid West. Risk and threat are examined as ‘vulnerabilities’ related to factors such as materials, construction, use, environment, weather, orientation, exposure, past treatment, and maintenance. The first phase of the project focused on preparing a database inventory and assessment of past records including historical photographs, construction documents, geotechnical and engineering analyses, administrative reports, and weather data (back to 1861) as well as past and current conservation and management strategies. The second phase examined individual vulnerabilities through a survey of one unit of the Fort—the Mechanics Corral in real and projected time. The field survey studied past and current conditions of the adobe walls to calculate wall loss, attrition, and profile changes over time. Real-time recording of the weather on site was conducted over one year, including monitoring of adobe walls using embedded temperature and moisture probes and time-lapse photography to test monitoring apparatus and record actual weather phenomena and wall responses to those phenomena. Finally, parametric software was employed to dynamically model current and future weather and potential climate-based threats to the site to design smarter responses to threats in the form of preventive conservation measures.

avatar for Frank Matero-[PA]

Frank Matero-[PA]

Professor of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania Architectural Conservation Laboratory
Frank G. Matero is Professor of Architecture and Chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director and founder of the Architectural Conservation Laboratory and a member of the Graduate Group in the Department... Read More →

Saturday June 2, 2018 10:00am - 10:30am MDT
Texas Ballroom C Marriott Marquis Houston
  6. Specialty Session, Architecture