I have been practicing as a heritage architect in NSW for the last 30 years and during that time, I have witnessed a number of changes which I discuss below.
CENTRALISATION – First of all, under the NSW Liberal government, there has been a tendency in the last number of years for State government to become more and more centralised and in the process, to disempower local government thus depleting it of the necessary resources, skills and funding that it needs to process DAs and especially DAs that entail a heritage component.
Claims of historical inaccuracy surrounded the 2014 release of “the Monuments Men” movie directed by and starring George Clooney. The main issue raised being that the film failed to adequately highlight the achievements of the group of historians, architects and museum professionals that had banded together to save thousands of priceless artworks during and after World War II.Read More
Who makes decisions about heritage at federal, state and local government level? And who in the private sector makes decisions about heritage? Is cultural built heritage properly presided over by professionals? If so, how tendentious are they? What are their qualifications? And, in the community, what personal agendas are prone to render a decision biased or subjective?Read More
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.Read More
For local government heritage items (listed buildings) in NSW, Australia, we have only two little incentives. They are Clause 5.10.10 and Clause 5.10.3 of the Local Environment Plan. There is a third incentive only operated by the Council of the City of Sydney and that is a transferrable development right under the HFS (Heritage Floor Space Scheme). I will explain later what this other one is all about. However, first, I would like to say that these incentives are insufficient, paltry, ungenerous and counter-productive in their limited scope. Incentives need to be generously applied so long as it can be determined that the outcome for the heritage building would be positively enhanced, better maintained and actually restored. Put simply, these are the only criteria that should prevail. Instead, councils and the courts and now design review panels are applying a limited approach to the incentive – always with the suspicion that the applicant (developer) is seeking some sort of unjustifiable reward/ opportunity/ free ride.Read More
The Office of the Victorian Government Architect in Australia provides strategic advice to the government about architecture and urban design. It supports government with advocacy and advisory initiatives, including design review, collaborative workshops, design quality teams, desktop reviews and input on briefs. One of its aims is to encourage awareness of the role of good design in protecting, enhancing and layering contemporary legacy in heritage places.Read More
Lester and Reckhow (2012) – see reference below; write that the new economic reality of heightened international competition, constant technological change, and cross border migration flows—referred to in shorthand as “globalisation”—has upset traditional forms of governing capitalist economies.Read More
Today (I received them on 9 March 2018), the National Trust has issued a set of Ethical Principles for heritage and conservation professionals. Allow me to state that Heritage 21 fully and robustly embraces every one of the eight principles listed below.Read More
As planning matures it recognises an increasingly large set of multiple interests. Various planners (sic) have drawn attention to the multiplicity of interests inherent in a multicultural society and the relationships between this multiculturalism and the planning system. As planning theory recognises the legitimacy of a greater number of interests it also needs to recognise…Read More