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About the Research Methodology
Steps of the survey in Medan

There are some steps in the "Understanding Heritage" process. Although in this paper it is our main goal to establish a standardized manual, it is difficult to create a manual without working examples.

First step: "Preparing for the survey"?


A. It is important to make a concrete plan of the survey from the beginning. In the case of the Medan survey, we contacted an NGO, Sumatra Heritage Trust. We can contribute the know-how of a survey, while Sumatra Heritage Trust has a local network and much data already accumulated on Medan. We could thus share a vision of Asian modern heritage with each other. Then we could set up three goals of survey clearly: first, making a database; second, writing a history of Medan; third, is making a website for sharing the knowledge.

B. Next, it is necessary to invite applicants who are interested in architectural heritages. In the Medan survey, participants from Japan came from several universities. And some foreign researchers came to the survey also, from Singapore, the United States, and India. We also invited Indonesian participants through Sumatra Heritage Trust. Most of these Indonesians are students who are studying architecture.

C. If the surveyor doesn't have the know-how, some consultants should join them. But in the case of the Medan survey, we had the know-how for the research.

D. Money is a big problem. In the Medan survey, Nissan Science Foundation and The Charitable Trust Taisei Corporation Natural and Historical Environment Fund made contributions. Generally speaking, anyone, who wants to survey, should get money from some foundation, public corporation or local government office.

E. The next step is to prepare a datasheet and maps. Both will be used at the field. In the datasheet, we established the following items: Building Number, Building Name, Address, Usage, Main Structure, Finish Material, Completion Year, Designer, Contractor, Special Features, Current Owner, Architectural Evaluation, Condition of Preservation, and so on. In doing research, these items should be commonly applied to surveys of any other cities. In addition to this, we itemized some categories. For example, before the survey, we anticipated that Medan consisted of many ethnic groups, so we added an item to represent ethnic types of the building owner (Indian, Overseas Chinese, Malay, Batak Karo, Batak Toba, Batak Mandailing, Minankabau, Ache, Java, and so on). Maps for the survey are very important. I previously got maps for the survey from the urban planning office in Medan. The proper scale of map for a comprehensive survey is from 1/1000 to 1/2500. Basically, a map is adequate if one can distinguish each building clearly.

F. Collecting archival material should be done simultaneously. In the Medan survey, I visited the city and collected some materials from some researchers. For example, I got old maps and old photographs. In addition to this, Sumatra Heritage Trust contributed some information. It is better that one would obtain original documents or those created in a former suzerain state.

G. Gather necessary material for the survey. In the Medan survey, we prearranged 200 films, 15 drawing boards, and a lot of stationery. It often happens that we cannot get materials easily, so we should arrange them in advance.

H&I. It is necessary to build survey teams. For a quick survey, teams consisting of 2 or 3 people will do. Therefore we separated ourselves into 12 small teams, and divided the survey area among these teams. Empirically speaking, one team could cover 20 hectares in one day.

J. Setting criteria is one of the most important things. We needed to think about the values on which the criteria could be based. All buildings should be recorded on datasheet as long as one of these criteria is satisfied. These values are as follows. We had two separate categories for value.




Architectural Historical Criteria

1. Chronological value
Value based on relative age

2. Technological value
Value based on construction method and other technical merit

3. Stylistic value
Buildings deemed as a good example of certain architectural style.

4. Significance of its architect/contractor
Buildings built by historically important architects or contractors

5. Rareness value
Value based on rareness of a building

6. Regional value
Buildings unique to a particular region

Broader Cultural Criteria

1. Impression value
Buildings that give strong first impressions to the viewers (beautiful, powerful, proportional, etc.)

2. Historical value
Buildings deemed important in their historical context

3. State of preservation
How well a building is preserved

4. Integration value
Whether a building is integrated into its environment.

5. Public value
Whether a building is valuable to the public at large.

6. Stock value
Whether a building is valuable as a part of the city's built stock.

7.Modernization value
A building considered as an important architectural manifestation of the region's modernization process

The total value of a building is determined by considering all of the criteria presented above.