John Burrell and Stefanie Fischer are to address the RTPI South East Heritage Planning Conference, on 7th December 2018, with a talk entitled ‘Heritage, Continuity and Community – Making Third Places’. Conserving and enhancing the historic environment are integral elements of sustainable development. The event, taking place at Winchester Guildhall, will focus on the role of heritage in the design and planning process, and how conservation and adaptation of the historic environment relate to people’s perception of ‘place’.
The identification of ‘third places’ was developed by Ray Oldenberg in his influential book ‘The Great Good Place’ and can be defined as the social surroundings distinct from the social environment of home—’first place’, and workplaces—’second places’. Examples of third places include churches, clubs, parks and cafes. BFF’s work has always embraced the notion of genius loci, recent examples include Rawthmells, a 21st Century Enlightenment Coffee House, at the Grade I and Grade II* headquarters of the Royal Society of Arts and the Depot Community Cinema in Lewes.
Using Depot Lewes as a case study, Stefanie Fischer will talk about how the project responds to the special qualities of the South Downs National Park and adapts, extends and repurposes an existing building that, while not listed, was familiar and liked by local residents. The design made a site-specific and particular response to geology, flora and local materials and craftsmanship to root the building in its locality. It provides a new gateway to Lewes and improved setting for surrounding listed buildings, including Lewes Station.
John Burrell will reflect on how since the Civic Amenities Act of 1967 the heritage and conservation lobby has, almost by default and often controversially, been the main instrument used to protect good places and to ensure that there is a measured and considered rate of development, continuity and inspired planning in our towns and cities.
This has enabled a sense of place, tradition, meaning and local culture to grow that recognises the activities and involvement of people playing their full part in generating a sense of place. One that is recognised, valued and personal to them.
This process does not necessarily demand the formal listing of buildings, and certainly should not prevent change or alteration. As design witness to the successful Public Inquiry, John will draw on design examples of his imaginative redeployment of historic ‘known’ places and buildings such as his alternative designs for SAVE Britain’s Heritage for the Smithfield Market, (now to be the new Museum of London and not listed), , through to his award-winning work on the groundbreaking use of listed and historic buildings and listed institutional landscapes for major new settlements of up to 10,000 people.
Further details about the event can be found here.