Archive for August 2018

Is Heritage Chauvinistic?

David Lowenthal writes that heritage betokens interest in manifold legacies – family history, familiar landmarks, historic buildings, art and antiques, plants and animals. So widespread and fast-growing is such concern that heritage defies definition. Heterogeneous, changeable, sometimes laughable, heritage is above all chauvinistic. Most heritage reflects personal or collective self-interest, things prized as mine or ours. We may be modest about what we are, but rarely about what we were.

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Should Heritage Design only be Presided over by Registered Architects?

Should heritage design only be presided over by registered architects? Arguably, there is a case for only registered architects to be involved in decision making affecting listed heritage buildings and buildings in conservation areas because architectural training allows for an enhanced understanding of two critical skills. Firstly, understanding building fabric and construction methodology i.e. how buildings are constructed, detailing and materials and secondly, the rigours of design i.e. experience in making design decisions in the context of innumerable constraints and opportunities. Without a background in these two fundamentals, it is difficult to see how non-architecturally trained practitioners can make decisions affecting heritage buildings.

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Conservation Areas – Ambience, Form and Scale

Insofar as local councils in NSW are concerned, the general objectives in a residential conservation area typically, are to conserve the ambience, form, materiality, scale, setting and subdivision pattern of the historic precinct in order that contributory buildings in such areas are appropriately conserved and new buildings introduced, are appropriately designed. It is simple politeness to deal with such precincts respectfully in a deferential manner rather than attempting to bombastically assert a bold and disruptive typology by way of new infill buildings that do not comply. Primarily, the aims and objectives of a typical residential conservation area are to; 1. Maintain all buildings and other structures which explain the history of the area and contribute to its significance – (HISTORICAL REFERENCE); 2. Ensure a consistency of scale and materials in extensions to existing buildings and in new buildings so that the new work does not detract from the historic buildings and their amenity or from the streetscape (CONSISTENCY).

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Why is heritage conservation good for society?

I can think of ten good reasons why heritage conservation is not only good for society but healthy too. I list them as follows;
EMBEDDED MEMORY – heritage buildings imbue localities with embedded memories. This is important for promoting civil pride and respect and promotes a sense of psychological reassurance in the sense that we trust places better if we know them as opposed to those places to which we have never been before. The fact that there are places with heritage buildings that may be hundreds of years old creates a sense of safety in our minds because we can easily tell that other people and previous generations have safely used and enjoyed those places before us – as we do now. HISTORICAL RECORD – clearly, heritage buildings and places are a marker of time. They readily reveal to us how previous societies built their spaces, constructed their buildings. Selected their motifs and decoration and understand what they were attempting to achieve with their buildings.

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