Heritage

History as context for the future

Our sites have all had a past life, the legacy of which is more evident on some than others but all are worthy of exploration, explanation and celebration. From Roman remains to Cold War infrastructure and from cathedrals of telecommunication to medieval abbeys we have the opportunity of weaving the past into the present to create a context for the future.

The Master Developer Approach:

1

Investigate the heritage of the site and the surrounding area.

2

Assess buildings and infrastructure for alternative uses within the new community.

3

Incorporate heritage buildings and features into design codes to inform both future use and wider design considerations.

4

Ensure that listed buildings and other retained buildings/ structures have a productive and sustainable second life.

5

Work with local stakeholders to organise tours, heritage walks and other activities which create ongoing historical activation and awareness.

6

Provide schools with educational material which explains the heritage immediately around them.

7

Celebrate heritage, learn lessons, refine and repeat.

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A genuine second act

Giving listed buildings and other existing buildings a genuine second act is extremely rewarding. Not only is it a way of celebrating the history of the site but it also adds to the sense of place, balances the new with the old and reduces our carbon footprint. For example, the Houlton School reuses and reinvigorates the listed C-Station building, the listed Second World War watch tower at Alconbury provides a characterful location for Bohemia’s new café and the gym, squash court and rifle range at Waterbeach provide ready made community facilities. Where physical buildings are not present then history can be reflected in landscape such as Runway Park at Alconbury or the parkland area over the Roman remains at Priors Hall. Signage, road names, educational packs for schools and residents alongside digital resources all provide further historical context for our growing communities not to mention the history buffs in our team.

One of the joys of working with historic buildings is the strong sense of place that their distinctiveness can bring. Urban&Civic’s determination to transform the former C Station transmitter building into Houlton School exemplifies this – creating an exceptional school and preserving the distinctive heritage of the Rugby Radio Station at the heart of the community.

JAMES McCOSH –

PARTNER AT VAN HEYNINGEN AND HAWARD ARCHITECTS

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