Section 2. Restoration of the World Heritage Site Kizhi Pogost in 2012 VkontakteFacebook

2.1. General information

In 2012, the 1st stage of the complex restoration of the Church of the Transfiguration was completed, and the 2nd stage was started. It will last approximately four years. It seems necessary to remind briefly the main point of the previous stages and reveal the essence of the coming 2nd stage.

Rather important and prolonged period of preparation had passed prior to the restoration proper, and namely the following activities had been completed: production infrastructure had been prepared, timbers of special condition stocked, carpenters trained, the restoration project developed, and steady financing secured. The essence of the 1st stage of the restoration was that methods, technologies and restoration approaches were developed and tested, namely experimental restoration of smaller objects was performed, lifting equipment was mounted in full, the lowest 7th restoration tier was disassembled, the church foundation was reconstructed, the 7th tier was restored and brought back to the original place. The most part of the 2nd stage of restoration is about restoring the whole building element-by-element, repairing damaged logs, eliminating wall deformations and reinforcing weak points and load-bearing elements. The work of this stage will be completed right after the central cross of church has been fixed in its proper place. The 3rd finishing stage includes disassembly of supporting metalworks inside, restoration of church interiors and gilded iconostasis, building of necessary networks in the under floor space and reinforcement of log walls, land improvement around the site.

In 2012, complex restoration of the church was accomplished without breaks. 7th restoration tier was restored and test-assembled in the Restoration Complex during winter period; work on the site Kizhi Pogost was started in spring and included disassembly of the 6th restoration tier, reassembly of the 7th tier on its original place. In autumn, team of restorers moved back to the Restoration Complex to start the restoration of the 6th tier. The site was closed down for winter period until spring, 2013.

Different organizations operating on the site have developed a good cooperation during the whole period of restoration. Steady financing is secured by the Ministry of Culture of RF; the Kizhi Museum is a General customer. Three contractors are working on the site, namely 'Alekon' Co ltd, 'Zaonezhiye' Co ltd, and a museum team of 'Carpenter's Center.' General designer “Spetsprojectrestavratsiya” research institute (Saint-Petersburg) developes construction documents for contractors. Quality supervision is performed by different institutions starting from the Customer up to international experts.

This is the most effective organizational management for the most complicated and long-term project. Different organizations were allied to achieve the common goal, and that resulted in increasing productivity and quality, decreasing costs of production and achieving the so-called synergetic effect.

This section of the report describes in detail and in chronological sequence the workflow and results of work in 2012. The restoration was performed on two sites: Pogost (the main restoration site) and the Restoration Complex (the complementary site), and also in the workshops for iconostasis restoration located on Pudozh exhibition sector. The report explanations are backed up with photos.

2.2. The work performed in the Restoration Complex. The restoration of logs and church walls. Winter, 2012

Photo 3. Reconstruction of the lost lower logs of the Transfiguration ChurchPhoto 4. Simulation of loadings on the restored walls Photo 5. The prepared space for the assembly of the restored tier on the foundation

The restoration and test-assembly of the 7th tier were started in 2011 in the Restoration Complex. Due to specific dimensions of the assembly department, the restoration tier was divided into two parts; the first one was restored and assembled in 2011, and the work on the second one was started in winter, 2012.

The technology of restoration (the whole production cycle) was tested in 2011; ICOMOS/UNESCO mission as well as Russian experts examined and approved the results of work in December, 2011. The Kizhi Museum kept on with the restoration of the second part of the 7th tier in line with the approved and well-tested technology.

The upper part of the 7th restoration tier was set on the two upper log-sets of the lower part which had been already disassembled and stocked. This method preserves the original geometry of the whole 7th restoration tier and minimizes matching of logs on the site during the final assembly. It will be used for the restoration of all remaining tiers, i.e. two upper log-sets of the restored lower tier will always be the basis for the whole upper one. These two upper log-sets need to be carefully measured at their corners and at the additional reference points by tacheometer, before they get removed from the restored tier and reassembled for the base of the upper one.

It is very important that both first and second part of the 7th restoration tier was restored by one and the same contractor 'Zaonezhiye' Co ltd. The point is that tendering can prevent from keeping logical and sound succession of work on one whole restoration tier. 'Zaonezhiye' Co ltd won the next tender by reducing the cost of contract which has not affected the quality of work.

Special quality timber of the required trunk diameter was prepared and stocked in addition to the available stock, because only 25% of the original material was planned for complete replacement preliminarily but, in fact, as much as 40% need to be replaced.

Second important problem was the necessity to correct some of the lifting supports after the lowest part of the church was set on the original historic place and, consequently, gained its original plan. Reference lines of the church on Pogost were copied on the floor in the assembly department and thus predicted the overlaying of lifting supports on the church beam system. The project documentation for correcting lifting supports on the site was developed during the winter, and the question was settled. It is essential that unnecessary metalware will start getting removed from the church in 2013, so consequently the lifting system disassembly will start in a reverse order.

The imitation of loads from the upper part of church on the assembled 7th restoration tier was performed likewise in 2011. Test-pressing of the assembled part was successful, no defects of restored logs found. This procedure will be applied for all upper tiers. In addition to that, the project documentation is prepared for test-pressing of the 7th restoration tier reassembled on the Pogost. It is necessary for eliminating micro deformations because the 7th tier at the moment is not loaded by the upper part of the building like usually.

All restoration works on the 7th tier (i.e. logs repair and test-assembly in the Restoration Complex) were completed by May, 2012, and the tier was prepared for the final reassembly in a reverse order on the original place.

The process of restoration as well as technology and methods are described in the Report for 2011 in detail.

2.3. The work performed on the Kizhi Pogost. Disassembling log walls. Spring, 2012

Photo 6. Dismantling of the walls in spring 2012

Height marks of the building baseline (foundation + 7th tier) were changed according to project objectives during the reconstruction of the foundation and restoration of the 7th tier. For instance, two lowest log-sets, previously lost, were reconstructed after careful examination of the upper logs and graphical analysis. Consequently, the building grew appr. 600 mm higher. Central part of the 7th tier was deformed downwards to 400 mm due to heavy loads, and it was set horizontally during the restoration. The reconstructed foundation preserves height marks on the south church wall, but those on the remaining ones were moved upwards while straightening the whole building.

Thus, the restored portion does not fit into its historic place, the more so because of the service clearance (about 1000 mm) needed for the work of lifting system.

It was not any surprising situation for restorers, and it was foreseen in the production technology. This is why the first work task in spring was partial disassembly of the upper restoration tier to get enough space for the final reassembly of the 7th tier on the foundation.

The process of disassembly was perfected in the earlier period. The disassembly of the dome and so-called 'barrel' roof above the altar was something experienced for the first time as well as the work on reassembling and disassembling performed simultaneously on the building.

This work was accomplished by 'Alekon' Co ltd. Position of some of the lifting supports was corrected after the partial disassembly of the 6th restoration tier. The correction is in line with the project documentation. All church beams were set on their position because metalware was not the obstacle any more.

2.4. The work performed on the Kizhi Pogost. Assembly of the basement part. Spring-summer

Photo 7. Installation of the first log on the foundation Photo 8. The restored tier exactly fit the foundation of the church Photo 9. Assembly of the restored 7th tier on the foundationPhoto 10. The fully assembled 7th tier (without two upper layers of logs)

In spring, at the end of May 2012 the assembly of the restored basement part of the monument (7th tier) started at its historic site. Long-term, and sometimes invisible, work of restorers started to take visible forms, the renewed Church of the Transfiguration started to grow upwards! The “empty” space started to fill with restored material that eventually formed a rather complicated in plan view (in plan, the church has 25 walls) and in elevation points (cascade construction of the walls adjusted for relief deviation) basement of the monument.

The first log-set (i.e. several logs notched with each other in their ends forming the perimeter of a building) started with the 5th row of logs. Consequently, the four lower rows of logs were not complete log-sets (did not embrace the whole perimeter) and were built in a cascade way according to relief. In the process of the lower logs assembly it was decided to lay them exactly in the center of the strip foundations. Then, during placing the first complete log-set it was necessary to verify its geometry by checking it with the control points and, if necessary, correct it.

A very good result was received in the end of this stage of the work. The plan of the foundation of the church coincided with the plan of log walls within the allowable tolerances! It was not a random luck as it was carefully thought out and measured in advance on two construction sites (“Pogost” and “Restoration Complex”), where the same system of coordinates was used. The accuracy of the walls and the foundation was confirmed for the second time during the installation of the supporting beam system. All beams were nestled precisely, practically, without any gaps and discrepancies.

All the statements of some Russian restorers that the lower layers of logs have to be left untouched during the restoration can be considered now not relevant.

The complicated geometry of log walls of the Transfiguration Church (that has 25 walls) was moved to the Restoration Complex and back to “Pogost” by the Kizhi Museum employees and the engineer of the manufacturing organization ‘Zaonezhie’ Co ltd to the nearest centimeter. More than that, the ground plan of the basement was amended in the Restoration Complex and, as a consequence, the position of the upper part of the foundation was corrected as well. Using modern measuring equipment in the restoration practice and identical coordinate systems on different restoration sites one can safely carry out the works departing from the so-called traditional methods and “canons”.

During the three centuries of the monument existence at least two lower rows of logs were lost and the technical condition of the existing lower layer of logs was poor. In accordance with the restoration project the two lost layers of logs were reconstructed of new material and the lower rotten logs were completely replaced. So, the three lower rows of logs of the church are entirely made of new material. The interior link logs between the walls were also reconstructed. They were lost together with the lower layers of logs. “New” connection elements have considerably strengthened rigidity and stability of the basement walls. Reconstruction of the lost elements has dramatically increased one of the restoration indicators – the percentage of new material.

Besides the above mentioned new elements, the projecting beams of the southern porch were also made of new material.

Totally 380 wooden elements were used during the reconstruction and restoration of the basement walls – logs, beams and link structures. Among them there are 182 reconstructed elements (exact copies of the completely rotten material) and 198 restored or completely saved elements. New material in percentage terms is 40% and the original material is 60%.

One of the objectives of the restoration is the correction of threatening deformations of the walls. Of course, the issue is not about the complete correction of deformations as restorers understand that the position of the framework is an objective factor because it has been formed through the centuries and, to some extent, after the process of reassembly, logs can take the “usual” position.

But during the process of working and, in particular, in the process of assembly all works are carried out with the use of plumb level.

Besides the precise assembly of the walls there was another task to ensure the horizontal position of the floor groove located in the upper rows of logs of the assembled 7th tier.

All test assemblies in the Restoration Complex hypothetically provided the opportunity to perform this task, but finally it was solved directly on the territory of the Pogost.

In accordance with the working plan, jacks with special tool trays were installed around the perimeter of the foundation. Logs were placed on these movable bearings. During the walls assembly jacks were constantly lifted and lowered depending on the need until logs with the floor groove took strictly horizontal position. It is worth recalling that the difference between elevation points at the level of the floor groove was about 400 mm before the dismantling, and it made no sense to reconstruct such “uneven” floors.

After the walls of the basement part (7th tier) were completely assembled, the two upper log-sets were measured and taken to the Restoration Complex to base the next, upper tier during the restoration.

2.5. The work performed on the Kizhi Pogost. Adjustment of the metal framework. Summer

Photo 11. Adjustment of the position of horizontal metal beams of the metal frame

In the process of the walls assembly there arose a situation when the position and level of wooden beams of the basement coincided with the position and level of metal beams of the metal framework. To continue the work it was necessary to remove the metal horizontal beams without sacrificing the strength and stability of the framework.

According to the project documentation there were installed compensating beams above and below the supporting beam system. After that the interfering elements were removed and wooden beams with logs of the walls were assembled.

This experience was very useful as this situation (when wooden beams “overlap” with metal ones) can be repeated and it is quite possible that similar works will have to be done at other elevation points.

2.6. The work performed on the Kizhi Pogost. Reconstruction of the foundation. Summer-autumn

Photo 12. Boulders under the corners of the walls and stone filling between the boulders

In 2011 about 90% of all foundation works were completed. The works were carried out manually under the suspended walls of the church and only in the warm summer-autumn period. In 2012 the final phase of the reconstruction started, i.e. construction of the above-ground lime mortar stone foundation.

The basic problem of the construction of the lime mortar stone foundation was the “lack” of precise indications of elevation of the upper surface of the foundation. All the draft indications of elevation had an approximate value and the actual indications of elevation could be defined only after the complete assembly of the basement part.

As it was mentioned above, the walls of the basement were aligned along the floor groove, that is, along the upper logs. Accordingly, the indications of elevation of the lower logs (that are at the same time the indications of elevation of the upper part of the lime mortar stone foundation) became available at the end of August. The remaining warm period was not enough to complete the construction of the above-ground part of the foundation qualitatively, but the major works were accomplished exactly in 2012.

Initially the lower logs of the basement were installed on jacks, during the summer all the movable supports were gradually replaced with stone boulders that were perfectly fitted to be placed between the foundation and the lower logs of the walls. 30 boulders were put under all corners of the walls and at the places of cascade construction of the longest walls.

Installation of large stone boulders under the corners of the walls of wooden buildings is a traditional method of foundation construction in the Russian North. The space between the boulders is filled with stones of smaller size. The original foundation of the Transfiguration Church was made in this way.

A great work was done by stone-masons of ‘Alekon’ Co ltd on adjusting the stones in size and shape. The work was carried out in a specially equipped area not far from the Restoration Complex.

Besides the 30 perfectly fitted stone boulders under the corners of the walls it was necessary to treat and adjust in size the stones used as a stone filling of the foundation. It is a thorough and painstaking work, which cannot be done fast. We can say that every stone in this foundation is a piece-work of stone-masons.

Unfortunately, due to the complexity of processes (search, delivery and treatment of hard stones) we did not manage to complete the upper part of the foundation in 2012. In 2013 the works will be continued and completed.

2.7. The work performed on the Kizhi Pogost. Dismantling of the 6th tier and conservation of the church for the winter period. Autumn

Photo 13. Conservation of the Church of the Transfiguration for the winter period 2012–2013

In autumn, the dismantling of the 6th restoration tier continued. According to the proven technology 283 logs, an altar dome with elements of a ‘barrel’ roof, window and door frames were dismantled.

The volume of the 6th tier is comparable to the volume of the already restored 7th tier. All elements are marked, cleaned and delivered to the rack storage of the Restoration Complex. The works were performed by ‘Alekon’ Co ltd.

A distinctive feature of the work carried out in 2012 was increasing height of work area and simultaneous processes of dismantling the upper and assembling the lower tier. Practice has shown that parallel work on disassembly and assembly of the log walls are quite possible.

More than that, the number of transportation runs from the Restoration Complex to the Pogost and back decreased. In other words we can say that the joint actions of two teams led to an increase in productivity (a synergistic effect).

The disassembled walls will be repaired during the winter 2012–2013 and in spring they will be prepared for reassembly on the original place.

The Church of the Transfiguration is traditionally conserved for the winter period. In addition to protecting the walls with reinforced polyethylene film in 2012, the restored part of the refectory was covered with a temporary roof.

The temporary roof is made of reinforced iron sheets and reliably protects the refectory from the weather. In addition to its intended application, the temporary roof will also serve as a working deck for dismantling the church walls and domes of the annexes.

Besides the basic conservation works some measures were carried out to shelter the lower layers of logs and the foundation, to do preventive maintenance of the wooden flooring around the church, to test the system of lifting and fire and security perimeter alarm systems.

2.8. The work performed in the Restoration Complex. Restoration of the 6th tier. Autumn-winter

Photo 14. The test assembly of the 6th tier in the Restoration Complex

Restoration of the 6th tier started with a preliminary assembly of the unrestored walls in the workshop and the comprehensive assessment of its condition. As it was mentioned above the assembly of the restored tier is carried out on the basis of two layers of logs of the underlying tier that has already been restored.

Specific restoration decisions are made exactly at the stage of the preliminary assembly, when all deformations and defects of the logs can be seen at eye level. It should be said that the 6th tier of the monument is placed quite high and its detailed study from the outside of the wall was approximate.

After the detailed investigation and decision-making the walls were dismantled and stored. They will be assembled again after restoration.

2.9. Off-season works. Restoration of logs in the Restoration Complex

Photo 15. Restoration of logs

The Restoration Complex was put into operation in 2007. It has greatly changed the approach to restoration works. Modern and comfortable conditions allow carrying out the restoration works at a good level all year round regardless of weather conditions, which is impossible while working in the standard “field conditions”.

In accordance with the agreements concluded, contractor organizations rent the assembly workshop to perform the work (assembly of restored walls). The ‘Carpenter Center’ of the museum under the direction of A.Kovalchuk is engaged in restoring the original historical material all year round.

Careful and thorough work on treatment of the historical material allows preserving maximally all logs and other elements that could be used in future. Every log of the wall has its own restoration project, and this is a kind of innovation in the restoration process. This approach on conservation of the historical material is very costly in terms of human and time resources. But the point of restoration is to do everything possible to preserve the element, to fight to the end. The last extreme measure is to make an exact copy of the worn out by time element.

It should be clearly understood that the building material of the church is wood that cannot live as long as, for example, stone. That is why one of the tasks of the restorers is not only to repair a log but to preserve the hand of masters and carpentry traditions.

In addition to logs repair the workers of the ‘Carpenter Center’ and other divisions of the museum perform other important functions: monitor the state of the new and historical material, conduct maintenance of facilities, provide yearly maintenance of the Restoration Complex, roads, security and communication systems and Internet.

2.10. Off-season works. Restoration of the iconostasis

Photo 16. Restoration of the iconostasis

In 2012, the Kizhi Museum continued the restoration of the iconostasis frame of the Church of the Transfiguration concentrating the efforts on the Deisis tier. It was planned to perform the conservation of the gilded surface and restoration of wood carving and the frame. The contractor is the Moscow Art Research and Restoration Directorate. Cost of works is 15 653 170 RUB.

The works started in the second half of 2011. Removable parts of the Deisis tier were sent to the workshops of the contractor in Moscow to perform the works all year round. In the summer of 2012 the restored elements were returned. The basic tier structures could not be transported to the workshops of the Art Research and Restoration Directorate because of their considerable size and the emergency state of the gilt covering and had to be restored on Kizhi Island. The only premises that could accommodate large fragments of the Deisis tier were household parts of farmer houses (monuments). The houses are temporarily adapted for carrying out the works that do not require regulated temperature and moisture characteristics.

The conservation technology of the damaged gilt covering requires a temperature not lower than 18 ° C.

Due to unfavorable weather conditions, by the end of the summer the temperature in restoration premises on Kizhi Island was not higher than 12 - 16 ° C. It significantly slowed both the process of the gilt covering conservation and the restoration of the tier.

In October of 2012 conservation of the gilt covering was completed.

Monitoring of the conservation state of the iconostasis frame was continued in 2012. A detailed examination of the remaining structures of the iconostasis was carried out in June-July of 2012. The examination was conducted to clarify the conservation state of the wood, wooden carving and the basis of the iconostasis. It included the process of photo fixation and detailed description of damages. The Contractor is ‘Gotland’ Co ltd (St. Petersburg). As a result, the museum received preliminary estimates of costs of restoration of wood and the opportunity to clarify the requirement specifications for the following stages of the restoration.

Permanent control was established over the ongoing works. It allowed solving the problems arising in the course of the restoration and also the problems concerning the organization of work in difficult conditions of the island.

However, other problems that appeared with the beginning of the restoration in 2009 worsened in 2012. They could not find their solution. Thus, the restoration rate in 2009–2012 was dictated by the financing rate that had been defined before the beginning of the works. But the restoration practice has shown that the conservation state of the dismantled iconostasis frame requires a more complicated and hard work than it was expected.

In this regard, the restoration process appears to be much longer and goes beyond the year 2014 that had been defined from the point of financing as the time of work completion.

Despite the seriousness of the problem, preparation for the next stages of the restoration was continued. By now, preparations for competitive bidding for the right to restore the Royal Doors and the altar canopy have been held.

2.11. Restoration of the Church of the Intercession on Kizhi Pogost

Photo 17. The Church of the Intercession of the Kizhi Pogost

Three-year period of work on the Church of the Intercession was finished in 2012.

At present, the Church of the Intercession is the main site of the Kizhi Museum exhibition and, at the same time, this is an active church where services are held. Anthropogenic load nowadays is much higher than during the time of construction. About 150 000 tourists visit the church every season, and this is the reason why some of the structural elements wear off quicker than usually.

The church porch was completely reassembled and restored in 2011; the roof and domes on the central octagonal part were restored during 2009-2012. Besides, the museum carpenters restored decor elements of windows which preserves window openings and improves the appearance.

Generally speaking, the work on the Church of the Intercession was started in 1998 and that was reroofing of the refectory part, and all remaining roofs were little by little restored by 2012. In addition to that, other measures on church preservation were performed, e.g. reinforcing the central part of roof bearing structure.

Thanks to all of the above mentioned measures taken in 1998-2012 the classification of operating regime can be revised, i.e. 'Regular maintenance and preventive inspection' instead of 'Needs restoration continually’. The Kizhi Museum strives for decreasing large-scale repair and restoration work by increasing regular preventive measures. This is the true essence of preservation of the Cultural Heritage!

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