On Historical Climate in Swedish Stone Churches
2011 (English)In: Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings: Postprints from the Conference : Visby, February 9–11, 2011 / [ed] Tor Broström and Lisa Nilsen, Visby: Gotland University Press, 2011, 245-259 p.Conference paper (Other academic)
Archival sources and historical methods have so far been underutilized in the research on past indoor climates in historic buildings. Before we can build a base of empirical knowledge, we need to discuss and develop the methodology. How would one go about researching the climate history of a building over the course of 50, 100 or 200 years? The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the importance of archival sources when attempting to reconstruct the climate history of an historic building. Knowledge of the long term indoor climate of a church may support strategic decisions for a more sustainable use of resources. In order to show the feasibility of this, the paper will examine the maintenance and restoration of two medieval stone churches: Levide church on Gotland and Strängnäs cathedral.
Levide is a small rural parish in which the church has never had central heating or mechanical ventilation. Using documents spanning a time period of more than 200 years it becomes evident that the church has always been a very humid environment with mould and rot appearing time and again. Already in the beginning of the 19th century, the diocese urged the parish to obtain a heated vestry in order to increase the thermal comfort of the priest and the school children, and to preserve the liturgical objects. This and other statements show that the diocese, but not necessarily the parishes themselves, showed an interest in indoor climate in the 19th century. A stove and chimney were installed in the beginning of the 20th century. Findings show long term problems with keeping parish records, the mass robe and other liturgical objects in this humid climate. Water leakages, the buffering capacity of the thick walls and traditions in managing the church, such as airing in spring and summer, have been strainful to the building itself. Although the level of thermal comfort has improved, it is doubtful whether intermittent electrical heating, introduced in the 1950s, has had positive impact on the conservation of the building.
Strängnäs is a cathedral and a burial church for some of the members of the royal Vasa family. The church is thus both a historically important monument and a sanctuary. In contrast with the small parish church the cathedral was in almost daily use, and also visited by tourists. When Guerneys ovens were introduced in Sweden by Bolinders in the 1870th, as many as six where installed to heat the church. In the same period a larger restoration of the church was planned. The planned restoration was however delayed. When the restoration were about to be executed some 25 years later, the new techniques for heating had been established and the old ovens were deemed obsolete for several reasons. An interesting debate on what techniques, steam, hot air or a water based system took place. The discussions concerned the convenience of the installations, maintenance and economy of the different systems, the comfort of the churchgoers, the esthetical effects and archaeological matters.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Visby: Gotland University Press, 2011. 245-259 p.
Gotland University Press, ISSN 1653-7424 ; 15
Conservation Indoor climate Stone churches Gotland Strängnäs Levide
Building Technologies Religious Studies History
Research subject Building Conservation (HGO); History (HGO)
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hgo:diva-829ISBN: 978-91-86343-11-8OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hgo-829DiVA: diva2:399357
Spara och Bevara : Conference on Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings, Visby, February 9th-11th, 2011
ProjectsKulturarvet och komforten: frågan om lämpligt inomhusklimat i kulturbyggnader under 1900-talet
FunderSwedish Research Council, 2009-2375