Why I Do It

I specialized in heritage work through decades of working as a carpenter, general contractor, and senior project architect. My last work in all three of those fields involved exclusively heritage work. I was pulled toward older buildings by their complexity, their beauty, the marks of time, and the stories associated with them. I believe older buildings embody topos (cf. topography, topology) or place-ness better than (most) younger ones. To survive, buildings have to work in the landscape and they have to work as evolved accommodation. To survive is to age; to patinate, to show Time’s fell hand defacing. Older buildings are more imaginatively and narratively pregnant; they are invested with greater personality. I do it because old sites, buildings, and artefacts move me. Still, decades on.

I believe the best heritage work is the most objective with the most demonstrable evidence. Frequently, my work is the beginning of a link with legal, historical, built, and place-based lines established. Sometimes I pick up a line that someone has threaded through time and on other files I begin explorations after long dormancy. Ideally, in the years or decades following my work the strings started in this generation will be resumed and taken a few steps backward (confirming more history) and forward (conservation, stewardship) into time. It’s a serious privilege being part of the strand.