Integrity—the ability of a resource to communicate its historic significance—is a physical concern for heritage conservation practitioners.
The concept of integrity in the conservation of the built environment encompasses a range of characteristics. Integrity can have different meanings in different contexts. The goal of this article is to show how the history and significance of a site determined the integrity of three rehabilitation projects and how integrity guided the approach to the projects’ different objectives.
The use of the word “integrity” has evolved over time in both the discourse and practice of conservation. Cesare Brandi, an early modern theorist and the first director of the Instituto Centrale del Restauro in Rome from 1939 to 1959, postulated that the existential reality of a work, its materials and patina, are necessary components to understand and conserve works of art and architecture.1 His ideas for the conservation and restoration of monuments and sites were further developed in the Venice Charter of 1962, and the word “integrity” was used in Article 16 with respect to the protection of historic sites.2 The charter mainly discussed safeguarding historic monuments as works of art, inseparable from their history and reflecting their settings.