Legislation and Historic Buildings: Help or Hindrance? April 2012

Legislation and Historic Buildings: Help or Hindrance? 

Friday 20th April 2012

The afternoon session will provide professional and engaging advice on the role of legislation for ‘at risk’ and historic buildings, using debate and case studies from Peterborough to discuss, challenge and put into practice our current legislative dilemmas.

Topics discussed:

  • The ‘at risk’ designation and its meaning.
  • How current legislation affects historic buildings.
  • How legislation can help but also hinder historic and ‘at risk’ buildings and local built environments more generally
  • How the UK’s legislation differs from that of its European counterparts and how this might affect a rethink of our current status quo

Expert speakers include:

Nicholas Ray, architect, NRAP Architects


Lucie Carayon, The Ancient Monuments Society

Bobby Open, Bobby Open Architect



Legislation and Historic Buildings: Help or Hindrance?

Friday 20th April 2012



2pm Registration and refreshments
2.25pm Welcome Shape East 
2.30 – 2.45pm Introduction to the ‘Legislation Debate’: Finding a balance between the necessity of legislation and the extent that it may both help and hinder our built environments. Nicholas Ray
NRAP Architects
2.45 – 3.10  Speaker 1: Legislation is necessary and has a positive influence on our built environment. Loosening legislation would have harmful consequences.–         What the current legislation is and what ‘at risk’ means.

–         How our legislation ‘saves’ our local historic environments and why it is important to do this.

–         Changes to legislation with the NPPF

–         A UK without the correct legislation?


Lucie Carayon
Ancient Monuments Society
3.10pm 15 Minute Break
3.25 – 4pm Speaker 2: Legislation can stifle progress.  Unimaginative interpretation of legislation can be detrimental to our built environment.– Conservation should not be at the expense of contemporary design: today’s high quality buildings are tomorrow’s heritage.

– Risk-taking should not be legislated against, even in historic environments. Context is everything.

– Different circumstances demand different levels of interpretation

– Examples from the UK and Europe.

Bobby Open
Bobby Open Architect
4pm – 4.30pm Open debate chaired by Nicholas Ray, using local examples of historic and at risk buildings.  All Speakers
4.30 – 4.55pm Question and Answer Session All Speakers
4.55 – 5pm Close Shape East

Speakers Notes: Biographies


Nicholas Ray (NRAP Architects)

After qualification at Cambridge and University College, London, Nicholas Ray worked in London for the Shankland Cox Partnership on housing and for Colin St John Wilson and Partners on the British Library. He founded Nicholas Ray Associates in 1989. re-fashioned as NRAP in 2008. His most prominent building in Cambridge is the Quayside Development, on the banks of the Cam opposite Magdalene College.

In 1993 Nicholas founded the Cambridge Historic Buildings Group. He is the author of numerous articles in professional journals, Cambridge Architecture – a Concise Guide (C.U.P. 1994), Re Sursele Arhitecturale (Paideia, Bucharest, 2000) and, in 2005, Architecture and Its Ethical Dilemmas (Taylor & Francis) and Alvar Aalto (Yale University Press). He is Reader Emeritus in Architecture at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Jesus College.


Lucy Carayon (The Ancient Monuments Society)

Lucy Carayon is the casework advisor for The Ancient Monuments Society, an rganisation founded in 1924 ”for the study and conservation of ancient monuments, historic buildings and fine old craftsmanship’ – committed not only to campaigning for historic and beautiful buildings, but to furthering the study of them. Lucie’s position as Casework Secretary sees her advising on listed building cases, championing sensitive new design in historic settings and preventing unnecessary destruction. Before this role, she trained with English Heritage as a historic environment manager.

Bobby Open (Bobby Open Architect)

Bobby Open is an Architect and Urban Designer who teaches at the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge and writes regularly for architectural journals. He runs Bobby Open Architect, an award-winning design-led practice. His work has won several awards, including the 2008 RIBA East Spirit of Ingenuity Home Award, as well as the MacIntyre Care Competition for a House for Autistic People.



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