Bath Train

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Old House Eco Course
 
A short while ago we spent the weekend in Bath, primarily to complete a training course organised by SPAB [The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings]. SPAB is a well-respected organisation originally established by William Morris in 1877 to counteract the highly destructive 'restoration' of medieval buildings being practised by many Victorian architects. Today it is the largest, oldest and most technically expert national pressure group fighting to save old buildings from decay, demolition and damage.
 
The course explained the following topics:
  • Old houses can be sustainable
  • Windows and doors
  • Insulating solid walls
  • Insulating roofs and floors
  • Ground floors
  • Energy and technology
  • Future proofing
This helped supplement our knowledge and understanding of old buildings, which is especially useful as we are securing more and more projects to listed buildings, buildings located in conservation areas or national parks.
 
While in Bath it was great to experience a terrific example of town planning and good quality Georgian buildings. The streets and avenues are very wide and ordered [over-sized by today’s standards!] with many of the houses having generous sizes, uniform facades and rhythmic patterns. Many of these houses were provided to ordinary people by the government of the day, these were effectively council houses. What is striking is that numerous buildings are over 250 years old, they are still being used as originally intended and they are showing no obvious signs of decay. Clearly, the designers and builders cared and understood the value of buildings that last a long time. This is quite a challenge when we see some of our modern buildings being demolished, sometimes after only a few years of use. We feel that new buildings should be of the age in which they were built and suitable for today’s generation but they also need to stand the test of time, function well, last and look good.
 
Royal Crescent.
Architect, John Wood the Younger, completed 1775.
 
Holburne Museum of Art.
Original architect, Thomas Baldwin, completed 1794. Extension architect, Eric Parry, completed 2011.

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