Preserving today's heritage for tomorrow

Apr 15, 2013

A University of Adelaide researcher is dispelling misconceptions about heritage by demonstrating how heritage-listed buildings can be conserved through sustainable adaptive re-use.

Speaking during Australian Week (12-21 April) and in the lead up to Day (18 April), Architecture PhD student Carolyn Wigg said old and new buildings can co-exist, and lead to innovative and sustainable built environments.

"Today there is a more mature view that heritage is interwoven into the fabric of our urban and rural areas, telling the unique story of our past and who we are as a society," Ms Wigg said.

"Despite this recognition, there are still polarised opinions on heritage and development with perceptions that they are mutually exclusive, that a heritage listing places a 'glass dome' over an , and that listed heritage places will be 'frozen' in time."

Ms Wigg's research builds on her previous study which investigated a number of revived heritage buildings in Adelaide, including Beaumont House, the University of Adelaide Observatory, and the former Stock Exchange, Bickford's Warehouse and AMP building.

"This study found there is a strong argument for the retention of existing buildings that are structurally sound and have not outlived their useful economic life, and where retention can be justified in terms of the economic, environmental and social benefits," Ms Wigg said.

Ms Wigg's research will also address the practical challenges in the application of current building codes and planning laws to the redevelopment of heritage listed buildings.

"There is no 'one size fits all' approach to adaptive re-use. The best approach should be determined by the building's design and future occupancy," she said.

"Heritage conservation is a dynamic process that needs proactive ongoing management and re-evaluation, rather than being a static 'register' of significant buildings.

"The cultural significance of a building is assessed at one point in time, usually when the building is included on a heritage register. But, as history does not stand still, it's important that we continue to re-evaluate our heritage buildings and urban areas so they will have relevance for future generations."

Explore further: Tooth buried in bone shows two prehistoric predators tangled across land, sea boundaries

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Should we better prepare for earthquakes?

Dec 15, 2011

University of Adelaide researchers are leading an international project to help identify buildings most vulnerable to earthquakes and the best ways to strengthen them.

UN launches 'Heritage of Astronomy' portal

Aug 24, 2012

Observatories in Britain, France and the United States, a pharaonic temple in Egypt, a 3,000-year-old pillar in China and a 1920s tower in Berlin have been inscribed on a UN-backed heritage list for astronomy, ...

Save our reef, save our heritage

Jul 19, 2007

Protecting the Great Barrier Reef from the impacts of climate change, natural disasters and rising human pressures will be a key test of Australia’s ability to keep our natural environment healthy and resilient.

Galapagos dropped from UNESCO endangered list

Jul 29, 2010

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee said Wednesday it has removed Ecuador's Galapagos Islands from its list of endangered sites, due to Quito's protective efforts in the Pacific archipelago.

Recommended for you

How dinosaur arms turned into bird wings

19 hours ago

Although we now appreciate that birds evolved from a branch of the dinosaur family tree, a crucial adaptation for flight has continued to puzzle evolutionary biologists. During the millions of years that elapsed, wrists went ...

User comments : 0