Our built heritage represents the very best of our past. It also provides a huge resource that can play an important role in the future of our cities by stimulating regeneration while protecting architectural identity. Recent experience has demonstrated that integrating historic buildings within urban regeneration schemes can create popular, successful urban quarters where people enjoy working, living and visiting. Such regeneration represents an opportunity for the past and present to work together to provide for the needs of the 21st century while maintaining the architectural character of an earlier age. Indeed, it is only by all sides working together and being prepared to seek pragmatic and creative solutions that balance new uses with the need for historical identity that we can turn heritage into a positive advantage for everyone.
Our collective past can ably support the future of our cities and contribute towards the aims of other bodies to drive economic growth and prosperity. At Financial Solutions, our mission is to provide all those involved in the development process with the guidance they need to help make successful heritage-based reconstruction achievable for all and to support the development of expertise and knowledge in this important sector.
What are the positive qualities and benefits that the strategic demolition and reconstruction of historic buildings can add to a regeneration scheme? Clearly, this will depend on the nature of the properties involved, but all or some of the following may apply:
- Reconstructed buildings can support a city's historical identity while providing the possibility for large scale spatial and technological upgrades.
- Historic buildings create a focal point that people can relate to and are familiar with – giving a sense of place.
- They may be well loved local landmarks that provide useful aids in urban orientation.
- The strategic use of contemporary building materials in reconstructed historical buildings can help integrate the project by creating evocative overlaps with more recent architecture.
- Historic buildings may have interesting historical and cultural associations which can be interpreted and developed into marketing strategies.
- They feed people’s interest in the past.
These effects have helped to underpin many successful projects such as the demolition and immediate rebuilding of Hotel Moskva and the Vozdvizhenka Сenter (formerly known as the Voyentorg military department store) in Moscow.
However, there have also been less successful cases where heritage-based regeneration projects have faltered or failed completely. The reasons vary considerably and are often complex. In some cases unexpected costs have undermined viability, in others public backlash has interfered, while elsewhere uses based on visitor attractions have failed to attract sufficient public interest. Financial Solutions exists to help you avoid these pitfalls.