General Info

This is a Digital Heritage Collection of Historic Buildings. It is the result of a 6 year research contucted by National Technical University of Atherns and Municipality of Hermoupolis. The main objective of this research is to evaluate the vulnerability of historic buildings and propose a decision-making model ranking the need of intervention in a historic building stock. In order to achieve this, it is essential to design a database system that enables the recording and indexing of the historic buildings pathology profile. Apart from pathology data, historic buildings are classified in terms of architecture style and type, historic importance and spatial data (position in the city). Monitoring building’s pathology profile has many positive impacts, such as knowing the building’s conservation status, the need for intervention, and the risk of collapsing. In a historic building stock, the safety assessment of buildings is a major research goal. It needs a rational and quantitative evaluation, which usually involves six steps:  information acquisition, data processing, numerical modeling, evaluation of potential scenarios, risk analysis, decision-making conservation plan.

The city of Hermoupolis was chosen because of its uniqueness that can be traced on its intact conservation almost as a hole until today. In Greece, there are only a few cities that have managed to remain unharmed and even less are those that have endured the unbearable pressures of  “land granting”.  In addition, the global interest for this city by dozens of travelers for over 200 years, has maintained its physiognomy alive through a number of literature works and manuscripts, which served as a protective shield for its uniqueness. This protection endures until today in the consciousness of the inhabitants as well as the visitors of Hermoupolis, and has produced many supporters of its physiognomy ready to take action in case of its endangerment. Therefore, it should come as no surprise thatHermoupolis presents a uniform historic imageability that cannot be found anywhere else in Greece.

Because of the severe economic crisis, Greek historic heritage is in risk. Historic cities as Hermoupolis, were dealing with this risk years before the crisis. The current situation needs drastic action, with innovative low cost ideas. The historic building stock in Hermoupolis counts more then 1.000 buildings. For developing a conservation plan, nine hundred and twenty four (924) buildings were recorded, creating inventories with one hundred and ninety two (192) fields for each of the examined building. Furthermore 4.500 digital photos were added in the DBMS, increasing the total recorded data to 180.000. A multi-variable model has been developed for the assessment and monitoring of historic building’s pathology and architectural quality. The system is based on two pillars: the Database System (DBMS “Hermes”) and the Geographical Information System (GIS “Hermes”), which are interconnected. The first pillar addressed the concern and for reliability and objectivity of the data, with the development of two specific internal control procedures. The second pillar (GIS “Hermes”) enables spatial search across historic buildings. In this way, one can use different variables and criteria for composing complex questions. In order to increase the pathology data reliability, an algorithm was developed to control the data and the inspectors (trained Architects & Civil Engineers). 

By recording the pathology, the GIS and the D.B.M.S "Hermes" with the appropriate algorithms identify the historic buildings in risk. In the first application of the system those buildings were 160 from a total of 924 buildings, with a rate of 2.4 historic buildings collapsing every year. The prioritization of interventions in these buildings is critical, as it is not possible to lower the collapsing risk simultaneously in 160 buildings, but neither the interventions can be judged solely by the reactions of local residents. Bearing in mind the fact that one, given the current economic conditions, has to make best use of the funds for this purpose, it is proved that the relevant decision requires multi criteria analysis method of prioritizing interventions. Specifically, the analysis takes into account the risk of collapse of each building, but in connection with a series of other variables, such as the role of building in Hermoupolis, the position in the city, the influence in other areas of interest, the social impact etc.  

The final result is a catalogue with historic buildings and a point system which reflects the risk of loosing the building. The point system leads to a Conservation Plan for the city of Hermoupolis, giving the hierarchy of interventions that must be done in order to save the maximum architecture heritage with the minimum funds, postponing the risk of collapsing. With this in mind, the Municipality of Hermoupolis started applying this strategy as a Conservation Plan and implemented the proposed interventions on several buildings. So far the results have been encouraging since the deterioration process has been delayed and the risk hazard has been reduced. These results validate the model developed in the present study.

Saving Historic Buildings in risk, using Conservation Plans is not a new tactic. Combining multi-criteria model and algorithms to increase the reliability of the recorded architectural and pathology data in order to apply a holistic conservation plan, is innovative and never been used in any other European Historic City. Finally, the achievement of the documentation and management of important building stock of Hermoupolis as implemented in this research, enrich the proposal for inclusion of Hermoupolis in the list of monuments and sites of World Heritage by UNESCO