London-based building restoration and cleaning company, Spectrum has created a series of mockup images showing what would happen to some of the world’s most famous landmarks if they were left without any maintenance.
To produce their incredible images, Spectrum considered the effects of everything from the weather to pollution, erosion and even biological growth. Using their experience in this area, it has reimagined how some iconic structures would look if they were left derelict. During their research, the company also uncovered how much maintenance is needed to keep the well-known and celebrated sites looking their best.
One of the capital’s best-loved landmarks, Tower Bridge, would become enveloped by plant life, including moss and algae and would eventually become structurally unsafe. This is said to be because the alkaline Limestone used in its construction would be cracked and eroded by acid rain, allowing windblown seeds to embed themselves and germinate.
The roots of these plants would then also weaken the bridge. In addition, the Limestone would be prone to further erosion from alkaline-loving lichen growth, which could cause it to collapse. Currently, the lichen is removed by DOFF steam cleaning every three to four years.
The Parisian wonder, the Eiffel Tower, would be reduced to ruins without the meticulous maintenance it currently gets. The iron structure would simply rust and corrode due to wet weather and the moisture in the air, eventually leading to its collapse. To prevent this from happening, the Tower is repainted every seven years by hand with tiny round brushes, as these also clean the structure at the same time.
Speaking about the research Michael Blowman, a building maintenance expert at Spectrum, offered these comments, stressing the importance of maintaining and protecting our historic buildings:
“Alongside creating a unique look at what might happen to our landmarks, our analysis was also done to help create a shift in the public’s perspective. It highlights how maintenance and cleaning is a lot more than just ensuring these amazing buildings look pretty – it’s something that we believe is essential in preserving their façade and structure.
“As the saying goes, we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and perhaps the cover of these buildings tells us that there is a lot more to maintenance than what may appear at first glance.”
Michael went on to discuss some of the most common issues they encounter during their building restoration and cleaning work:
“Breathability is quite often one of the most important parts of a building’s health. One of the key reasons stone and brick buildings need to breathe is because they are porous, and when they are exposed to moisture from rain and the surrounding elements, they need to be able to let the moisture out.
“When moisture cannot escape, it gets trapped inside the brickwork or stonework and eventually is forced out through the water cycle causing either ‘spalling’ or the face of the brick and stone to come away, which over time can cause severe damage to the building.
“Carbon staining also does much more than just make a building look dirty; the carbon trapped inside the brickwork causes a barrier that traps moisture inside. This, over time, will also cause the same problems to occur.”
It’s fair to say that our landmarks are hugely important to society; they give us captivating glimpses into our cultural history and make significant contributions to the economies of their respective home nations, particularly in tourism and employment. However, a key takeaway from Spectrum’s findings is that their maintenance – and indeed the maintenance of all buildings, domestic or commercial – is pivotal to ensure they survive and can keep being enjoyed by future generations.
Learn more about Spectrum and its range of services at www.spectrumspecialistsupport.co.uk.