Due to society’s greater appreciation of our history, many projects may involve heritage considerations, regardless of the building type. The heritage significance may lie in the surrounding built context, it may be due to the significance of the building itself or it may arise due to the need for sensitivity within a historic precinct.
Following this heightened awareness of historical values and heritage issues, many Councils have established heritage precincts with a range of measures and controls that must be addressed to alter or to construct new buildings within these areas.
It is important to distinguish between the different reasons why a heritage zone may be established. This significance may arise from important social or political events, or relate to previous industrial or agricultural uses of an area or it may involve aboriginal items of significance or it may come from the age and quality of an existing building.
As Architects working with numerous Councils, we are familiar with the planning controls including the heritage provisions. Part of our training as Architects involves a study of architectural history, the various historical styles and the methods used to construct these buildings. Our architectural training allows us to respond professionally to a wide range of heritage issues.
Within Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, our work involving heritage projects has been in areas with heritage controls such as Hamilton South, Catherine Hill Bay, Dudley Village, central Maitland and Newcastle.
Many of these heritage zones have specific Council controls, with requirements regarding:
- Restoration techniques
- Form and scale of additions
- Alterations to ensure respect for the existing scale and streetscape.
Where necessary we can engage a Historian or specialist Heritage Architect to address specific aspects of a project or unusual conservation requirements. In some cases, Council will require that an assessment and report be prepared by an accredited Heritage Consultant.
Regardless of the level of importance of the heritage considerations, what is most important for any project is to have a creative and sensitive Architect who can address all the possibilities with an open mind and propose innovative solutions. This may be in contrast to a more specialized Heritage Architect or Consultant who tends to approach any heritage project with a limited attitude based on their heritage bias.
The most current heritage philosophy is to treat heritage structures less cautiously than was the case in past years. It is now recognized what it is most important for any building, whether heritage or not, is to be occupied and used so that it is maintained and not allowed to deteriorate.
All parties involved in heritage want to avoid the situation where heritage issues prevent the use of a building so that it remains undeveloped and unoccupied and eventually allowed to decay through neglect.
Mark Lawler Architects can provide advice and design solutions for all types of heritage issues in relation to building projects. Contact us to discuss your brief.