Georgetown, Malaysia – capacity building workshops

The APT Australasia Chapter is assisting George Town World Heritage Inc. with capacity building through the provision of training workshops for place managers and conservation practitioners.

The first workshops provided under this arrangement were presented in June 2012 to participants from Penang, Malacca and Sarawak. Donald Ellsmore (Melbourne-based convenor) was the lead presenter and Gesa Schwantes (University of Hong Kong) assisted.

Workshop 1 Porous Materials

The first workshop involved presentations on conservation of the common porous materials found in George Town; specifically brickwork, lime plasters and lime mortars, and damp treatments and desalination techniques. The practical component of the workshop was held at the Syed Alatas Mansion. Practical activities included making mortars with wet and dry slaking methods, preparing surfaces, salt removal with paper-based poultices and lime plasters.

Gesa Schwantes demonstrating a dry slaking method of making lime mortar
Donald Ellsmore demonstrating comparative methods of hot lime slaking at Syed Alatas mansion

Workshop 2 Organic and Non-Porous Materials

The second workshop included presentations on the characteristics and conservation of wood, ferrous metals, concrete, glass and ceramics. The practical components were a site inspection of works in progress at the Rice Miller site, where a large reinforced concrete structure is being adapted for a new use, and a detailed inspection of the Cheah Kongsi, where a range of conservation challenges was considered.

Cheah Kongsi, case study site where participants considered a range of issues
Participants at Cheah Kongsi
Rice Miller site – adaptive re-use of an historic concrete structure

Workshop 3 Architectural Finishes and Decorations

The third workshop included presentations on traditional surface coatings, internal building environments and RH, artificial climate control and conservation processes. The practical component was undertaken at the Syed Alatas Mansion. It included making and applying a range of conservation coatings.

 Participants at Syed Alatas mansion applying tinted lime wash to a garden wall

Dr Donald Ellsmore
APT Australasia Chapter
Email Donald

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