NSW Government expands architecture and design policy with heritage design guide

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Ballast Point Park by McGregor Coxall and CHROFI.

Ballast Point Park by McGregor Coxall and CHROFI. Image: Christian Borchert

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Draft Design Guide for Heritage.

Draft Design Guide for Heritage. Image: courtesy Office of Environment and Heritage

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Draft Design Guide for Heritage. Image:  courtesy Office of Environment and Heritage

The Government Architect NSW (GANSW) and the Heritage Council of NSW have collaborated on a design guide that deals specifically with heritage projects.

The guide is a companion to the GANSW-authored Better Placed, the state’s first dedicated policy on architecture and design that was released in 2017.

Heritage Council chair Stephen Davies said the guide would help those in architecture and other built environment professions manage a commitment to both good design and the preservation of heritage value.

Davies said, “It will encourage anyone working with heritage items and places to carefully and appropriately use good design. This will ensure any new work protects heritage significance and safeguards the character and experience of historic places.

“This guide puts our state’s heritage squarely at the forefront of thinking, planning and designing.”

In his foreword to the guide, NSW government architect Peter Poulet said the guide “seeks to support and educate those working with our built and cultural heritage, to encourage the very best responses to keeping these important places so that we can be told our own story and understand from that the potential of our future.”

The guide is divided into three principal parts. The first defines heritage and explains why it matters. The second “explores the importance of good design outcomes and the processes that support these” and then uses these to identify the value heritage has in creating and sustaining communities. Finally, the third outlines how heritage significance is determined and describes the legal and regulatory mechanisms that underpin heritage projects.

The guide also provides a number of examples of successful heritage projects across a wide range of scales and types, from McGregor Coxall and CHROFI’s Ballast Point Park to Johnson Pilton Walker’s small addition of a ramp to the Art Gallery of NSW.

The draft guide, which can be found in full here, is open for public comment until 17 August.

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