Historic Buildings For 21st Century Use

A major part of the work done at wrdunn. is focused on the sensitive conservation of high grade listed buildings, monuments and buildings of special historic interest. It’s our role to delicately restore and transform each structure to be of practical use for the 21st century.

This often means ensuring a building can now be used for a modern day purpose, but at the same time celebrates its heritage and historic past. Whilst conservation is not a new trend that’s simply just come along, over the past decade there has been a shift in how these beautiful historic buildings are restored and maintained for modern day use.

Unlike 50 years ago, where buildings were restored with what was classed as ‘modern day technology’ and building materials, that were well intentioned, but in hindsight caused irreversible and often ugly damage to the structures. Time and technology has allowed us to gain a better understanding of how to restore and repair.

As a result of this, we now see so much more commitment and research undertaken in utilizing and celebrating the original materials and methods, after all it’s these pieces of the building that have given its character so far. More than ever outstanding heritage companies and charities, such as The York Conservation Trust and English Heritage, are bringing life back into buildings that were in complete disrepair. These organisations are committed to giving historic buildings a whole new lease of life and purpose, ensuring no further building is destroyed or lost. Historic buildings across the country are not only being rehabilitated back to their former glory, but they are also being transformed into wonderful working buildings are used for residential, leisure or commercial purposes.

A prime example of this is the use of the stately homes and their outbuildings being turned into hotels, restaurants, spas or other leisure destinations such as art galleries and event spaces. Or old grade listed mills such as Terry’s Chocolate Factory being completely converted into beautiful luxury apartments.

With major projects like St Bartholomew’s Chapel and The Yorkshire Sculpture Park, it’s important that a knowledgeable conservation team and chartered building surveyor look at both points of view, that of a commercial and economic aspect, but most importantly ensuring the building is protected and restored.

Our client, York Conservation Trust defines this perfectly: “Restoration and conservation has to be balanced with the need to put the building to its best use, both from the point of view of its tenants and in the life of the City”.

It is our role at wrdunn. to work closely with the client, planners and specialist conservation contractors to enable the sympathetic repair and maintenance of historic buildings, ensuring no damage is done to the original structure, and where appropriate, transform the building to be of practical use for the 21st century.

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