Contemporary Architecture in Historic Urban Environments

Jason I J Smith

Conservation image

A critical issue facing decision makers and conservation professionals is accommodating change to heritage places and adding new layers to the historic urban environment in ways that recognize, interpret, and sustain their heritage values. Over the last decade, a vigorous debate has ensued regarding the appropriateness of contemporary architectural insertions into historic urban areas. This debate has polarized sectors of the architectural community, pitting conservationists against planners and developers. It has positioned conservationists as antidevelopment and antiprogress, responsible for stifling the creativity of a new generation of architects and their right to contemporary architectural expression.

Change, however, is inevitable. Buildings, streetscapes, and urban…

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