Should Kelburn Castle Lose Its Outer “Psychedelic Art” and Be Restored? Even Against the Owner’s Wishes?

I love old buildings and respect the desire and need to preserve them. I also love public art and communities claiming spaces to make them beautiful through creative efforts.

That’s what makes the issue of Kelburn Castle a tricky one.

Kelburn Castle isn’t your typical 13th century Scottish castle and aristocratic estate. It’s an example of some of the best street art in the world.

As you can see, it’s pretty trippy, the product of a group of Brazilian street artists in 2007. It was allowed by the local council on the understanding that it would be up for no more than three years. Generally, there are strict rules in the UK about changing the appearance of historic buildings.

Despite this, the castle’s owner, the Earl of Glasgow, has been fighting to keep it. Now it looks like the mural will have to go. It turns out the layer of cement that the mural is painted on is damaging the original medieval walls.

[via Galding]

I understand why some would want the castle restored. I also understand why the current owner would want to keep it as it is with the art intact.

So who should decide what happens to the building and art? Should it be the owner of the castle’s right to decide what happens to it? Should the government and community have a say in the preservation/restoration of historical buildings/areas?

And how should these things be decided?

Being a modern sort of aristocrat, the Earl of Glasgow has launched a Facebook page to save the mural. So far it’s attracted more than 4,000 likes.

Who wins in the end? In this case, when either the original integrity of the castle or the art that currently adorns it will be lost, can there truly be a winning outcome? If so, how? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

[Photo courtesy of Galding and Iain and Sarah]