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Conference of the Association for Preservation Technology (APT)
11-15th October 2013, New York City

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky to attend this year’s conference of the important US-based conservation body the Association for Preservation Technology, which was held in Times Square, New York City. As part of the proceedings I was invited to present our work on the Bath Abbey project which resonated with the key themes of conservation, sustainability and design at the centre of an important urban context.

As a first time delegate attending from the UK I really enjoyed the spirit of goodwill and collaboration amongst the 850 or so attendees and was amazed at the quality of thinking and discussion at each of the paper sessions I attended.

I particularly enjoyed the paper sessions including ‘Balancing Development at Brooklyn Navy Yard’ chaired by Liz Leber of NYC based BBB architects, and also the ‘Curtain Wall Preservation’ discussion which considered the technical challenges of NYC’s tall buidings in Manhatten, chaired by architect John Matteo.

But perhaps the main highlight for me was the field visit sessions. Firstly I was lucky enough to be part of the group to see the cast iron repair project for the Judd Studio at 101 Spring Street, Soho. This was a fascinating restoration project undertaken by Robert Silman Associates and Walter Melvin Associates. A great deal of skill and care had been taken in the attention to detail and it held some lessons for our own major project for the oldest cast iron framed buildings in the world at Ditherington Flax Mill in Shropshire.

Then in the afternoon we were privileged to a sneak preview of the major works underway as part of the United Nations capital master plan with the projects architects, clients and contractors. As a scheme dealing with a group of important modernist buildings, the colossal $2bilion project prepares the complex for the 21st Century. In addition to the careful restoration of the interiors we discussed the technical aspects of the new environmental design including the replacement of over 5,000 cladding panels in the main secretariat building. We were then thrilled to be offered lunch in the delegate’s restaurant overlooking the Hudson River; a highlight to great day!

The APT annual conference was a great event in a great city. It was action packed and covered a huge number of issues in its 4 day programmes. I would encourage others to considering attend next year’s gathering which will be held in Quebec city!

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