A contemporary approach to heritage and conservation

The value of excellent architecture and interior design, irrespective of style or period, is part of our shared cultural heritage. Although we are designers of contemporary architecture and interiors, when called upon to work with architecture of historic interest we are always delighted.

We have a great deal of experience in working on listed buildings, in conservation areas, and in other heritage situations. From the grade I listed Victoria and Albert Museum in London, to more humble grade 2 terrace houses, our approach is essentially the same. That is to restore what should be restored of the original building in a scholarly way, but where a new intervention is required, it should be clear and contemporary in its style. It should be respectful of the original and usually subservient to it, though not always. A new intervention within historic building fabric should usually be reversible without damaging the original.

In conservation areas we favour contemporary designs that are able to sit comfortably along side the older built fabric. The new building must be able to add to the character and appearance of the conservation area and may well acknowledge some of its defining characteristics. It is our belief that a new building should seldom seek to copy an historical building.

We consider that imitating the design of older buildings is a cultural cul-de-sac and is more often than not disrespectful of the original, and the people that created it. That devalues the cultural currency for everybody.

Visit English Heritage for more information about the historic built environment.