Most of the Councils on Sydney’s North Shore have Heritage Conservation Areas within them, as well as having Heritage Items. There is a difference between a Heritage Conservation Area and a Heritage Item.
Heritage Conservation Area
A Heritage Conservation Area constitutes a number of streets, where the overall effect of the houses, and sometimes the landscapes, create a streetscape which is representative of the history of the area.
Heritage Conservation Areas can be established to provide context for Heritage properties in the area.
A Heritage Item is an individual property designated as having significance to past, present or future generations which may, or may not, be located within a Heritage Conservation Area.
Applications for the renovation of properties in Heritage Conservation Areas, and Heritage Items, must be submitted as a Development Application (D.A.) to the local Council, with a Construction Certificate (C.C.) also being required before any construction may commence.
During the D.A. process the project will be assessed by the Council’s Heritage officer or Council’s consultant (Heritage Advisor). Depending on the scale of the project, and the nature of the property itself, a specialist Heritage Consultant may be engaged for the project.
Whilst there are many design rules associated with the renovation of Heritage properties, there are also some subjective interpretations possible.
Designing renovations in Heritage Conservation Areas
In Heritage Conservation Areas, the preservation of the existing streetscape is considered by Council to be significant, so opportunities to make changes to the front of properties can be limited.
Renovations which are designed to increase the floor area by extending the rear of the house are often quite possible. The addition of another storey may also be possible, depending on the existing streetscape and the design of the existing house.
Within Complying Development there is a limit to the extent of work that can be done in a Heritage Conservation Area e.g. swimming pools, outbuildings and some internal and external alterations, all of which must comply with specific requirements.
Designing renovations for Heritage Items
Renovation of Heritage Homes requires a considered approach to design, and sensitivity around an integration of the original part of the house with the new addition.
Generally, the aim is not to try and replicate the original, but rather to design a renovation using a combination of materials, proportions, details and light, which will achieve a harmonious relationship between the old and the new. In this way, it is possible to identify where the original building ends, and the new begins, whilst ensuring the various parts of the entire building are unified.
In most cases, the “curtilage” (the land surrounding the house) will also need to be considered in the design, as this may form part of the history of the property, or be significant to the streetscape.
We have successfully designed and constructed a number of renovations for both Heritage Items and properties in Heritage Conservation Areas in various Councils.