Reply To: National Photographic Archive
I’m not well versed in the minutiae of the Venice Charter – perhaps Craig you could highlight some of the areas relevant to here such as restoring a streetscape, although it seems from what you say that is limited to ntl monuments which would be a different ball game.
But personally I really wouldn’t have a problem about reconstructing between 5 and 7 simple red-bricked properties out of a streetscape of at least three times that number and where they have complete historical relevance – essentially they used to exist but were wrongly demolished to the detriment of the street.
That’s not to say that if Westmoreland was entirely modern today that I’d advocate recreating its Georgian heyday, I wouldn’t – there is a limit, a limit which has not even remotely been breached as it stands.
Any case for a replica must be vigourously made and I think any possible case to be made for them exists on Westmoreland St:
. A very small amount would be built.
. They would have complete historical relevance to the sites.
. They would rectify the severe problem of the existing Georgians being diminished architecturally by existing in isolation.
. Along with the restoration of existing buildings, they would bring the Georgian heritage of the city back to its centre, helping to reinforce the identity of the city.
. Most imortantly and simply, they would unify that whole stretch of the street making it look fantastic.
Of course interiors would not be rebuilt, the issue is the exterior streetscape. The matter raised before of a building’s interior reflecting the exterior I think is irrelevant – one expects to find a glittering Regency style interior to the GPO, but doesn’t get it; likewise with every other shop in the city in older buildings, we just don’t expect mahogany counters, tiled floors and decorative ceilings. One need only look at the success of the replicas on Harcourt St, despite some being of poor quality and the fact that the originals should never have been demolished, I don’t think anyone can make the case for modern structures here.
On the issue of who would decide the design of the buildings, well very simply there would be no point in even contemplating such a plan were it not decided by the CC that only WSC facades be built.
An expert advisory group could be established by the CC to advise on designs, materials to be used etc, and expert contractors could be recommended to owners – and possibly funds such as a percentage of the cost be provided as incentives, which would be a comparitively small amount.
Obviously I don’t know the ins and outs of such processes but I’m sure similar collaborative effeorts such as this are carried out every day around the city and country involving municipal authorities and private individuals, and larger scale projects involving streetscapes I’m sure are carried out with ease all over Europe.