A Peek at Portugal

Feast your eyes on this collection of architectural photographs taken by Hansel Hernandez. Hansel, who we met when he volunteered with Adventures in Preservation at the Bartow-Pell Mansion, spent a month in Portugal doing more volunteer conservation work.

He took a month’s vacation to do a professional internship in metal and wood conservation with Benfica, the most famous soccer team in Portugal.

His work focused on conservation of the team’s vast trophy collection, full of silver cups and wood pedestals in dire need of conservation. The work required skills he didn’t have in his repertoire as an architectural conservator, so he learned a lot. The private conservation firm from Lisbon that was behind the project has since asked him to help launch their architectural conservation department.

Hansel is off to Portugal this winter, once again proving that a volunteer vacation can be a life-changing experience!


See all Hansel’s photos

And the winners are…

We are pleased to announce the winners of Adventures in Preservation’s Historic Building Photo Contest!

Entrants were asked to submit a photo of a historic building that held particular meaning for them and explain why. We, of course, go gaga over historic buildings and could no more be asked to choose a favorite than a mother could choose a favorite child, so we turned to an expert to review the entries and select the winners.

Architectural photographer Raul J. Garcia did the honors for us, and we thank him for his time and effort.

First Place

Nicolas Miquelon -The Kizhi Ensemble, Karelia, Russia

Nicolas Miquelon - The Kizhi Ensemble

Sitting under a pale grey sky most of the year, the Kizhi ensemble is located about 600 km south of the polar circle, on the tip of a small island (Onega) in a region of lakes separating Russia from Finland. Made out of local aged woods and covered in silver-colored shingles, it blends harmoniously with its environment.

Three religious buildings form the complex: a large summer church (Church of the Transfiguration), a small winter church (Church of the Intercession), respectively built in the first and second halves of the 18th Century, and a belfry erected in 1862. Exceptional for its scale, the Kizhi ensemble displays the aesthetic of a traditional wooden Orthodox religious ensemble.

It is also remarkable for its high level of craftsmanship, passed on from generation to generation: the main church is 37 meters high, includes 22 onion cupolas, and is entirely built without nails (except for the roof shingles). On the world heritage list since 1990, it has since undergone major restoration works.

Remoteness and monumentality gives this site a most romantic allure. Whether you are an orthodox pilgrim, a simple tourist or an onion domes enthusiast like me, this is a love-at-first-sight religious ensemble.

Second Place

Sean Maxwell – Liberty Hall, Quakertown, Pennsylvania, USA

SEan Maxwell, Liberty Hall, Quakertown, PA

This is Liberty Hall in Quakertown Pennsylvania. It was the home of the Liberty Bell for a night in September 1777. Part of warfare is to destroy the morale of the people you are fighting by destroying their precious icons that define who they are. This is a sort of psychological warfare that goes on while bullets are flying. The British would melt the bells and make bullets and then shoot us with our Liberty Bell if they could. The freedom fighters took the Liberty Bell down from The State House (Independence Hall) and on its long journey to be hid in a basement of a church in Allentown, PA, it rested overnight in a covered Ox cart behind what we now call Liberty Hall in Quakertown. Today, Liberty Hall is a part of the historic fabric of the city complete with a replica of the Liberty Bell.

Third Place

Emilie Sizemore – Old Stone Church, West Boylston, Massachusetts, USA

Old Church Boyleston, MA

The Old Stone Church of West Boylston, Massachusetts was built in 1891. The original town of West Boylston was flooded and ultimately destroyed to produce the Wachusett Reservoir (constructed 1896-1905), the largest public water reservoir of its time. The Old Stone Church remains as the last building standing from the original town of West Boylston.

I was impressed by this structure the first time I drove past, house hunting for my first home. There stood a lovely stone church capped with snow nestled along a picturesque curve of the reservoir preceding a road dotted with beautiful Victorian homes. From that first glimpse, I’ve dreamt of painting landscapes of the site in all four New England seasons. My recent photography trip produced this photo, from which I’ll produce the first image in the series.

Honorable Mention

Raul was so taken with the photos he couldn’t help but award an honorable mention for Mugwima Njuguna’s photo of the Prisoners of War Church in the Great Rift Valley, Kenya.

Mugwima Njuguna - Prisoners of War Church, Great Rift Valley, Kenya

This church was built by prisoners of war in 1942. They were at the time building a road in the most taxing terrain in the Great Rift Valley, Kenya. The church is timeless and for all people, not only of the Roman Catholic faith. Motorist stop to pray and wonder. It is situated in picturesque valley forming a great accent and vista. The Church is under the protection of National Museums of Kenya.

Our First, Second and Third Place winners receive discounts of 30%, 20% and 10%, respectively, off the price of an adventure in preservation with AiP. We look forward to having you join us in getting your hands on history!

Congratulation to our contest winners and our honorable mention, and thanks to all those who submitted photographs. We’ve enjoyed seeing more of the world’s historic buildings, and will be posting the other entries on our Facebook page and Twitter feed over the coming weeks so you can see them too.