Before I take you into the world of CAD conversion, I would like us to learn more about preservation and the role it plays in architecture/historical architectural blueprints.
Preservation: A Short History
Over the millennia, man has always used one method or the other to preserve agricultural produce, intellectual work, architectural pieces and historical stories/facts. And for agriculture, the preservation style alternated with the seasons for in winter, food could be preserved by piling it underneath snow while in summer; smoking with fire and drying agricultural produce with the heat of the sun were used.
For historical facts, passing them by word of mouth was the preferred technique before the alphabets was introduced in Egypt. As for architectural blueprints, the methods of preservation alternated between cultures and cultural beliefs. Below is an outline of the preservation methods from the time of yore, outlined according to the ancient practices of these kingdoms:
Egypt—the Egyptians believed and practiced the preservation with the use of dung beetle—the insect—scarabs to encase written documents and architectural blueprints. The longevity of this method cannot exactly be placed but what is known is that very, very few documents from the ancient Egyptians survived till the 21st century.
The Arabic societies –believed that a metaphysical or let’s say religious appeal to Kabi:Kaj—the king of cockroaches—through the offering of prayers and sacrifices was enough to keep a manuscript—architectural or not—for millenniums.
While in Christian Europe—the preservation method was the invocation of patron saints of libraries and also the more orthodox method of placing curses at the end of each book/architectural blueprint to scare away an unrighteous individual.
The effectiveness of these methods can be summed up by the amount of architectural information—which is next to none—available to us today. For all the above methods could not protect manuscripts from the following issues:
Large scale natural disasters
Fire outbreak—an example is the amount of information lost during the Roman fire that occurred in the time of Emperor Constantine which saw millions of volumes lost.
War—the scourge of war in ancient times always consumed the intellectuals along with their works because the conquerors of yore believed in eliminating any records showing the achievements of the people they conquered. The Turkish war, Alexandra the great wars and a host of others are prime examples on how intellectual works were destroyed by the conquering army.
Age—all physical parchments, drafts and design plans are subject to age and in time they either disintegrate or lose their clarity.
The Importance of CAD Conversion
With the advent of computer aided design software applications in 1961, came a revolution in the way both new and ancient architectural blueprints could be re-designed and stored to end all forms of degradation, destruction and loss. The importance of CAD use includes:
Restructuring Historical blueprints—CAD converting software and techniques can now be used to complete torn or missing parts of a blueprint and to sharpen the text or ink used in drawing out these plans in a bid to preserve them.
Storage—CAD conversion has totally eliminated the problem of storage associated with ancient documents because CAD specialists can create soft copies of any historical document/blue print—no matter how large they might be—which makes storage possible and keeps these documents safe till time immemorial.
We all should note that the responsibility of preserving historical architectural drafts for posterity reasons fall to each and every one of us therefore, if you have an historical draft sitting on your laps, the duty of converting and preserving it falls squarely at your feet.