“Of course the conservation of the city’s heritage should be a long term aim, but this shouldn’t be allowed to shift the creative energies of the architects of the future”1. This study attempts to gain an understanding of the balance between heritage protection and architectural innovation, between short term satisfaction and long term preservation. In order to fully realise this intention an examination of the ‘Burra Charter’, the document currently underpinning contemporary conservation practices in Australia, is essential.
Performance based in nature, the guidelines of the Burra Charter act as the framework by which conservation professionals both undertake and assess preservation work. Through the analysis of contemporary conservation (as epitomised by the selected case studies) this thesis investigates the inherent individual interpretations of the Burra Charter and their architectural manifestations. This discussion will show that the scope of these interpretations is vast and ultimately dictated by the personal conservation philosophy of the subject architect.
Having established the scope of these interpretations the ensuing discussions will debate the relative success of each approach. It will become apparent that the success of conservation outcomes is reliant upon an ability to provide for both contemporary satisfaction and long term preservation. A balance that can only be achieved through sympathetic yet innovative design solutions. In the words of John Ruskin “…we should usually (though not always) add to buildings with the boldness of the best of our ancestors. So leaving another layer for our successors to inherit.2
1 Hill, J. Introduction, in “The Double Dimension: Heritage and Innovation” The Royal Australian Institute of Architects. 2004, inside cover.
2 Ruskin, J, as quoted in Donovan Hill Architects, Design Report, forming part of the Development Application for The Primary Producers’ No.4 Woolstore, April 2003.