You know them~those buildings you walk up to that look heritage and wonderful from the front but once you are in them they are kind of a modern box. In many cases these are heritage buildings that have had their facades maintained as part of the development permit process, with the new modern building tucked in behind.
Facade Retention 200 block of Knightsbridge, London
Christopher Cheung in this Tyee article explores why just maintaining a building’s old facade was perceived as conserving it, and why some developers will preserve the whole building, “Some developers will do more than the minimum preservation required if there’s an incentive: the prestige of saving a building beloved by the community; incorporating heritage features to make their condo project stand out; or to win extra density from the city.”
Christopher observes: “Density for preservation is a tricky exchange. Across the Salish Sea in Victoria, heritage advocates lobbied city council this month, worried that too much extra height and density is being offered to developers who are protecting too little heritage in the city’s Old Town.”
Architect Javier Campos, the president of Heritage Vancouver who bluntly states “Keeping a façade is an acceptable thing, and it was very popular in the 1980s and ’90s, but it’s so unidimensional. It’s such a shallow commemoration. To me, it’s one step above having a plaque. If it’s significant enough, the answer should be restoration.”Read more »