From “Münchner Kreis” to WTA International

The first 25 years in WTA history

The first 25 years in WTA history spanned the time of emergence from "Münchner Kreis" to "Wissenschaftlich-Technischer Arbeitskreis für Denkmalpflege und Bauwerksanierung e. V." to "Wissenschaftlich-Technische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Bauwerkserhaltung und Denkmalpflege (WTA) e. V." It was a long and sometimes very difficult journey.

Our very special thanks at this point go to Prof. Wittmann and Dipl.-Ing. Schumann, who have been members of the WTA board since its inception as well as the other founding fellows - Dr. Preusser, Dr. Weber, Mr. Bromm and Mr. Mack, who assumed volunteer or board member positions numerous times. The Association owes all of them a substantial debt of gratitude for its consistent development and independence.

The principles that were already defined in the invitation to the founding assembly of the "Münchner Kreis" in December 1976, which stipulate that the Association membership must be constituted exclusively of private individuals who had professional training and experience in compliance with the Association’s statutes, are still in effect today.  However, the Association allows representatives of businesses, institutions or government agencies to join as “supporting members” to assist the WTA with its work for the benefit of the general public.

With the aim of teaching and learning, new members joined the fledgling Association rather quickly. Despite initial disputes, this practice continues today. Even in the early years, the organization hosted a large number of seminars in Germany and abroad. The Association organized WTA colloquiums, WTA days and WTA excursions to interesting refurbishment projects.

However, the core work was and is being done by the technical commissions and working groups. These are the projects that demand the interdisciplinary participation of all official WTA members as well as experts who are not associated with the WTA. The goal of the working groups is usually the compilation of a code of practice or the preparation of a colloquium. The working groups gather the respective expertise for a tightly defined subject matter and document it in an easy-to-understand manner to present it to a broad circle of interested parties. Among experts, WTA codes of practice enjoy great respect and consequently frequently provide the foundation for the development of new standards and directives of the German Standards Committee as well as for standard specification books on housing construction commissioned by the German Ministry for Housing.

The idealism of the founders and the vision of preserving cultural heritage ushered in the establishment of the WTA. The WTA is still rooted in this idealism today.

Since March 5, 1992, the Association’s name has been

         “Wissenschaftlich-Technische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Bauwerkserhaltung und Denkmalpflege e. V.”

This name makes accommodations for changes in terminology. The principle “teach to learn” is still the foundation of the Association.

The Association did and does publish and document its gathered knowledge through publications in the "Bautenschutz und Bausanierung" magazine, through seminars and in seminar documents. The "International Journal for Restoration of Buildings and Monuments" is the new body of the WTA, which has been updated to the current status of the Association. Expert reports penned by WTA members can be found in various construction industry related magazines. WTA members are in demand as speakers at German and international events that include presentations on a wide variety of topics. The annual WTA reports are published on the occasion of the WTA Day, in addition to the WTA publication series, which is released at irregular intervals. A WTA Library, where pertinent expert literature is collected and archived, also exists.

Also noteworthy: The report volumes, which are now being published for an impressive forth time on the occasion of the International Colloquium at the Technical Academy in Esslingen, Germany and always represent another milestone in the Association’s development.

Furthermore, it must be emphasized that it was primarily the international teaching activity of its first chairman, Prof. Dr. Wittmann, who held the position for many years, that quickly made the WTA a renowned entity in The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria. Designated national groups were established, so that the WTA now has representatives in all of Central Europe.

Hans-Peter Leimer

The next 15 years ...



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