Atkins: broadening concepts of heritage


Atkins Global has been speaking about widening perceptions of heritage in our cities. Technical Director for Heritage, Andrew Croft, insists that we should be aware that different cultures around the world will have varying attitudes to preserving the past and it is right to respect this.

Working in Oman, in the Middle East, he has become conscious that the emphasis is on the use of space, rather than building structures to last. The use of materials that decay, such as 'mud-brick' are in favour he says, along with teaching the skills to re-build regularly.

Back in the UK, Andrew who has been working with Liverpool since 2002, describes the city as being in constant flux. The challenge lies in achieving a balance between preserving the heritage architecture of previous trading eras, while allowing new commercial buildings to drive a sense of identity for the city.

Birmingham, he admits has different priorities again. He describes it as a city that is more spread, a conglomeration of suburbs with diversity as a key factor:

'There have been fewer strong architectural statements in its past and this is a city which is far more about different communities coming together.'

Andrew says that there must always be parameters when talking about preserving heritage, but most importantly there must be regard for the local community and its particular culture: