An interesting article appeared in Melbourne’s The Age about ‘imitation heritage’ buildings.

The article highlighted the two extremes of design in areas of heritage significance. On the one hand is an unashamedly 21st Century approach that reflects contemporary ideas and techniques whilst on the other is a 20th (or even a 19th!) Century approach that replicates traditional styles and materials.

Whilst both approaches have their supporters – and their critics – what does it all mean for the average person who wants to build a new home, renovate or develop property in a ‘neighbourhood character’ area?

The answer is simple – don’t assume anything!

  • Don’t assume that you can build what you like in an area of heritage significance
  • Don’t assume that your proposal will be supported by the Council, their heritage advisor or
    local community groups
  • Don’t assume that you will be able to get your project built quickly.

Obtaining Council approval to develop property in a heritage-sensitive location can be unpredictable, time-consuming and expensive … it’s not for the impatient! An open mind is very important, as is negotiating skill and a willingness to compromise if necessary.

Above all, the right advice is critical and that’s where an architect can save you time, money or both.

Archicentre Australia architects – who have on the ground experience on matters of community architecture – will have a feel for what is more likely to be acceptable to the Council based on their experience in the area. Early discussions with Council staff can help to ensure that the concept is on the right track and improve the chances of an approval being issued without too much delay.