Journal of Architectural Conservation

Volume 5 Number 2 July 1999

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11-13 Cavendish Square, London. Lightwell, arcade and conservatory in the opened courtyard

 

See 'Creative Re-use: Working with the Building' by Derek Latham

Contents:

Creative Re-use: Working with the Building Derek Latham

The Use of Lead Paint for Historic Nigel Seeley

Technical Conservation, Research and Education in Historic Scotland Charles McKean

Architectural Conservation and Environmental Sustainability: Conflict or Convergence? Julia Wallace, Marilyn Higgins and Jeremy Raemaekers

The Conservation of Historic Areas and Public Participation John Pendlebury and Tim Townshend

 

Editorial
Conservation: A Culture of Change
David Watt

 

Whilst the principles of architectural conservation continue to be revised and developed in the light of growing pressures and new understanding, it is clear that its role is also having to change in order to meet the needs of a new society. The skill of the conservation professional is now less in his or her individual specialism than in an ability to influence and work with a wider range of people and organisations.

This culture of change needs to be shared within all the built environment professions, and equal value placed on the 'big issues' of the moment and the detail that helps to define conservation in a world of generality and doubt. The papers in this issue reflect the ways in which academics and practitioners alike are setting their work in the context of the future, rather than the past.

As Scotland begins to reassert her nationhood, it is timely that we consider the role and practice of conservation in that country. Professor Charles McKean, a respected author and commentator on such matters, has provided in Technical Conservation, Research and Education in Historic Scotland a considered review of such work through his interview with Ingval Maxwell, founder Director of the Division for Technical Conservation, Research and Education within Historic Scotland.

The valuable roles of research and education within the practice of conservation are regularly demonstrated by papers published in this journal. The Use of Lead Paint for Historic Buildings by Dr Nigel Seeley is one such paper. In this, the reader is given both a detailed explanation of lead paint technology and practical comment on its use today.

The role of public participation in the processes of conservation is a difficult and emotive subject for discussion. John Pendlebury and Tim Townshend of the University of Newcastle present in The Conservation of Historic Areas and Public Participation the findings of a survey of public participation in the designation and management of English conservation areas. This takes account of the attitudes and opinions of the conservation professionals who administer this system and provides comment on the value and effectiveness of public consultation. Conservation, in whatever country it is practised, is now recognized as a crucial means of achieving wider economic and social goals. The re-use of buildings forms an important part of this process, and there are few as well known for such work as Derek Latham. Creative Re-Use: Working with the Building provides a strong justification for taking this approach and steers the reader through the various challenges that can arise in re-using historic buildings.

Another part of the same process is that of sustainability. Although much has been written about this all, embracing philosophy, little has been done to show how its principles, as they apply to architectural conservation, can be put into actual practice. Architectural Conservation and Environmental Sustainability: Conflict or Convergence? by Julia Wallace, Marilyn Higgins and Jeremy Raemaekers provides a useful discussion on this subject and presents two case studies from Edinburgh that show that there is still much to be done to achieve universal acceptance and practical understanding.

 

Creative Re-Use: Working with the Building
Derek Latham

 

The re-use of existing buildings is an essential element of current urban design philosophy, and yet the skills required to use buildings creatively are misunderstood and poorly practised.

This paper, drawn in part from a book by the author Creative Re-Use of Buildings, identifies the need of a ‘plan of action’ and addresses some of the techniques that can be applied to the process. A real project has been used as a case study to examine the various factors that have enabled re-use.

 

Derek Latham Dip Arch, RIBA, Dip TP, MRTPI, Dip LD, MLI, IHBC, SIBH, FRSA
Following private practice in London, Derek Latham was Design and conservation Officer for Derbyshire County Council before setting up his own practice, now styled Latham Associates.

 

The Use of Lead Paint for Historic Buildings
Nigel Seeley

 

The use of lead paint is still permitted for some listed buildings in the United Kingdom, but there has been an almost complete discontinuity in its manufacture and use, and present-day utilization has not always been successful. This paper addresses a number of issues relating to the raw materials, formulation, application and permanence of lead paint, which must be taken into account if the correct visual appearance and acceptable lifetime are to be achieved.

 

Nigel Seeley BSc, PhD, CChem, FRSC, FSA
Dr Seeley read chemistry before working for five years as a forensic scientist. He then became head of the Department of Conservation at University College London Institute of Archaeology. He remained there until 1989 when he was appointed to the National Trust where he is now Head of Conservation.

 

Technical Conservation, Research and Education in Historic Scotland
Charles McKean

 

A useful way of understanding the purposes and ethos of Historic Scotland’s Division for Technical Conservation, Research and Education (TCRE) is to regard them as emerging naturally from the career of its founder Director, Ingval Maxwell. As a very junior architect, Maxwell underwent a damascene conversion after being instructed to insert a fire hose into the fabric of Dunblane Cathedral. He had designed and detailed the project when he suddenly realized that he was requiring permanent alteration – a fixing – to the beautiful ashlar inherited from the fourteenth century. It would have caused irreversible damage – which, since there were other, less drastic ways of achieving the same end, would have been needless destruction. Maxwell concluded: ‘When you are dealing with a sensitive and sympathetic old fabric, the question must be – is it reversible?’

So, when TCRE was established almost 25 years later in 1993, it had the aim of developing skills relating to the built heritage, researching appropriate conservation issues, and raising the standard of conservation practice amongst owners, contractors and professionals. Six years later, we should be able to evaluate its output and begin to assess its effectiveness.

 

Charles McKean BA(Hons), HonFRIAS, HonFRIBA, DLitt(Hon)
Charles McKean is Professor of Scottish Architectural History, Department of History, University of Dundee. He is founder/editor of the RIAS/Landmark Trust series of illustrated architectural guides to Scotland.

 

Architectural Conservation and Environmental Sustainability

Conflict or Convergence? 

Julia Wallace, Marilyn Higgins and Jeremy Raemaekers

 

There is a risk of an institutionalized separation between the goals of environmental sustainability and of architectural conservation within the planning system. Architectural conservation is not facing up to the challenge of sustainable development. Separation lingers in national guidance, and is echoed at local level by departmentalism and by a perception of architectural conservation as elitist. In this paper, the authors argue that conservation can and should use sustainability to support its case, and suggest ways to achieve better integration, including the potential role of the planning regime. Two projects, based on the redevelopment of historic buildings in Edinburgh, are presented as case studies to show how the goals can converge in practice.

 

Julia Wallace BScArch, DipTP
Julia Wallace is qualified as an architect and as a town planner, and has a particular interest in architectural conservation.

Marilyn Higgins BA, MPhil, MRTPI
Marilyn Higgins has taught at Edinburgh College of Art/Heriot-Watt University since 1993, mainly on urban design. She is a planner who worked previously for eighteen years in local authorities and private practice in Glasgow, London and the West Midlands, and for the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland. She is a member of the Urban Design Group.

Jeremy Raemaekers MA, MPhil, PhD, MRTPI
Jeremy Raemaekers trained as a planner in the early 1980s, served as environmental planner with Grampian Regional Council, and currently leads the undergraduate planning course at Edinburgh College of Art/Heriot-Watt University.

 

The Conservation of Historic Areas and Public Participation
John Pendlebury and Tim Townshend

 

The creation of conservation areas by the Civic Amenities Act of 1967 is often linked with the rise of conservation as a popular movement within the United Kingdom. Recent government and English Heritage guidance to local authorities has increasingly emphasized the importance of public engagement in conservation issues. At the heart of the conservation area system appears, however, to be a tension between assessment and administration by experts and public participation; this is exemplified by the phrases ‘special architectural and historic interest’ and ‘the familiar and cherished local scene’. This paper reports the findings of a survey of public participation in the designation and management of English conservation areas. The survey also canvasses the attitudes and opinions of the conservation professionals who administer this system with regard to the value and effectiveness of public consultation. Finally, these views are briefly considered in the terms of Arnstein’s seminal ‘ladder of citizen participation’.

 

John Pendlebury BA(Hons), MA, MA, MRTPI, IHBC
Lecturer in the Centre for Research on European Urban Environments, Department of Town and Country Planning, University of Newcastle. Previous experience includes working as Conservation Officer for Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council and Liaison Officer for the Settle–Carlisle Railway Conservation Area Partnership.

Tim Townshend BA(Hons), MA, MRTPI
Lecturer in the Centre for Research on European Urban Environments, Department of Town and Country Planning, University of Newcastle. Previously worked in conservation for Sheffield City Council and Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council including the Europa Nostra and Civic Trust award-winning conservation of Saltaire. 

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