Building work through the ages – specialist health buildings

Lucas van Valckenborch's 1594 painting of a proposal for a combined medical centre & apothecary's outlet.

Lucas van Valckenborch's 1594 painting of a proposal for a combined medical centre & apothecary's outlet.

Once thought to represent the biblical ‘Tower of Babel’, this 1594 painting by the Flemish master Lucas van Valckenborch – recently the subject of scholarly analysis – is now confirmed as an early draft of a design for a medical practitioners surgery and apothecary’s retail opportunity.  Close inspection reveals a line of patients in wheelchairs searching in vain for the entrance of this gigantic multi-storey edifice.  Designed on the once-common premise linking altitude to vigour, all the consulting rooms were to be on the topmost floors.  The leprotic and pleuropneumonic need have no concerns regarding access to the upper levels as an elaborate system of hoists and winches is visible on the outside. 

Apparently the project was only abandoned when it was realised tenants could not be found for the enormous, vacuous spaces at the lower levels. 

Sir Doric Port-Cochere:  the practice retained fine-art critic

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Very appealing

Harcourt Street elevation.

Under the terms of the appeal, timber pilasters will be fitted beneath the carved wooden 'consoles'. Each pilaster will sit on a wooden plinth.

‘Congratulations’ Good news at ‘The Raj’.
When the owners of ‘The Raj’ Indian takeaway at the corner of Barnbygate & Harcourt Street in Newark took over the shop vacated by Lincolnshire Co-operative they embarked on a programme of improvements to the exterior. Unfortunately they didn’t realise that the work would need planning permission. The District Council’s enforcment officer explained that they would need to apply for retrospective permission.
This practice was instructed to make the necessary application. However, it became clear that the planners were not prepared to accept the new work. The practice came up with proposals which were designed to improve what had already been done. Unfortunately the planners still would not accept the altered shopfront & a formal application was refused.
The owners were then faced with the option of paying thousands of pounds to re-instate an unattractive shopfront.
Instead, the practice offered to prepare an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate which is independent of the local authority. A detailed appeal was prepared & submitted.
On 27 October 2011 the appeal was granted.
The owners can now carry out the minor improvements to the existing shopfront instead of having to rip it all out & start again.

A view of the present arrangement from Barnbygate

Although not using traditional materials, the present arrangement of sparkly black tiles does help to lift the quality of an otherwise drab road junction.

Detail at the entrance door.

The planning inspector agreed that the suggestion to fix a vertical band of tiles to both sides of the entrance door would help restore the vertical emphasis of the earlier design.

The fees for this service were calculated on a time basis as the input required is not possible to anticipate in advance. However, the owners were prepared to accept this & the outcome has saved a great deal of money & days of interrupted trading.

Many thanks also goes to all of the customers & nearby residents who signed the petition supporting the appeal.

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Practice news

Advertisement in the property section of the Newark Advertiser.

See ‘Projects’ menu at the top of this page. The third example is ‘Five new houses for developer’ & describes a development in Egmanton, a village north of Newark, Notts, just off the A1.  This advert from the local newspaper describes one of the houses along the rear boundary & demonstrates that the houses have retained their value well – even in difficult economic times. This development has always been popular & houses are infrequently offered for sale. Further details are available on the Estate Agent’s site at:
http://www.vebra.com/property/2440/22674328
It is interesting to note that the property is mistakenly described as a ‘Barn Conversion’ whereas it is of course a purpose-built dwelling.

Recycled cast-iron column & timber beam are visible here.

Thanks to Richard Watkinson & Partners for the use of the photos.

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Replacement farmhouse – planning success

Although an attractive house at first glance, the farmhouse had become increasingly difficult to maintain due to the poor quality of the original build.

 

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On the face of it – not an unreasonable proposal.  To replace a farmhouse which has served many generations of tenant farmers since the middle of the nineteenth century.  The practice has developed a reputation for conserving buildings wherever practical, but sometimes buildings have simply reached the end of their life & replacement is the best way forward. ‘Springs Farm’ is one of these.
Planning permission has now been granted to demolish the farmhouse & build a replacement one.  The process has been protracted, as the planning officers required a ‘Heritage Asset Statement’ to be submitted along with the usual ‘Design & Access Statement’.  This is a document introduced in the government’s ‘Planning Policy Statement 5’ (PPS5).  Published in March 2010 this is still a relatively new piece of planning policy intended primarily to ensure changes affecting Listed Buildings are thoroughly evaluated.

 The practice prepared & submitted a Heritage Asset Statement.  The document dealt with the issues relevant to this case including analysing the significance of the building from several angles: the historic context of the building within its immediate site, within the village & within the wider region;  evaluation of significant architectural features; the impact of not proceeding with the replacement was also discussed, concluding that the farm may become redundant without a viable dwelling.  This outcome could have resulted in the subsequent total loss of not only the farmhouse, but also the 19th century purpose-built crew yard & other specialised buildings.

We feel that planning authorities will be increasingly relying on the preparation of Heritage Asset Statements to provide the depth of analysis, which they will need when determining applications, which contain not just listed buildings or buildings in conservation areas, but any building which may have an historical context.  The practice is well placed to carry out the kind of research needed & present the material in an appropriate format.

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Practice news

Article from Newark Advertiser 8 September 2011

This article from the local newspaper explains Bernard’s involvement with a community project.

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Building work through the ages – northern renaissance

Oil on lime panel, 155 x 126 cm (central), 151 x 61 cm (each wing)

Durer's non-confroming works

DÜRER, Albrecht   Paumgartner Altarc. 1503   Oil on lime panel, 155 x 126 cm (central), 151 x 61 cm (each wing)    Alte Pinakothek, Munich

The purpose of this fine piece was to publish a timely warning to those planning to carry out building works without obtaining the appropriate statutory approvals.  The agents of state enforcement are represented in formal style by the two figures in separate panels to each side: the left hand one representing the ‘Building Inspector’ a formidable armoured character complete with banner and holding the corpse of a recently-slain monster, now believed to represent the errant contractor.   On the right, the medieval ‘Conservation Officer’ cuts a fine profile.  Note the small bugle on his belt for attracting the attention of workmen and signaling that work must stop immediately.  The spurs confirm that he would usually be on horseback enabling him to race from site to site and so carry out surprise visits before word was out of his presence in the locality.

 The center panel of course represents a very sorry state indeed.  The red-cloaked figure – a local magistrate – is gathering evidence from the distressed lady who has erred by commissioning the non-conforming works.  She is the victim of her own folly: the works remain incomplete, are being overgrown by vegetation and are clearly in a dangerous state.  Worst of all, the sorcery – still today associated with illegal building works – has resulted in the members of her household being shrunk to a fraction of their normal size.  Now she is a social pariah – and all for the want of following the correct procedure.  A harsh lesson indeed.

Sir Doric Port-Cochere:  the practice retained fine-art critic

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Building work through the ages – the Italian renaissance

‘Practical Completion’

Perugino's striking essay in single-point perspective depicting the moment of 'Practical Completion' of the works.

Long thought to represent a well-known biblical scene, this work is now confirmed to be part of a fifteenth century chronicle illustrating the moment of ‘Practical Completion’ of a significant public work. The contractors’ representatives on the left are handing over the keys of the finished building; the client is so overwhelmed with gratitude at reaching this stage after such a protracted period – completion is 258 years late – that he has spontaneously fallen to his knees.
It is interesting to note that members of the architectural team – who have been driven mad by the contractual wrangling and delays – can be seen wearing green shirts (the uniform of the harmless-insane) behind the principal figures: they dance in blissful insanity.
Sir Doric Port-Cochere:  the practice retained fine-art critic

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