What is a Listed Building?

July 11th, 2018

In the UK a listed building is one that has been placed on a register to protect it from wayward developments. This building is placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historical Interest, which means that any work likely to interfere with the structure or visage of the building, will need to be put through to the consideration of the planning system in order to discern what is in the best interest of the building itself.

These buildings are themselves split into 3 categories; Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II in the UK.
Though these differ slightly in Northern Ireland & Scotland where they are classified as Grade A, Grade B and Grade B1 & Grade A, Grade B and Grade C(S) respectively.

Only 2.5% of those in the UK are actually Grade I, which are structures of exceptional, and often international interest. Just 5.5% are of Grade II* status, which is deemed to be particularly important buildings. Whereas most buildings (92%) are Grade II, which are of special national interest and can often be owned as homes.

These buildings demonstrate the history of the country as expressed through architectural advances, or their historical context. Take Clifton Suspension Bridge designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for instance, a Grade I listed structure which stands as the epitome of Britain’s industrial revolution, or Royal Festival Hall which was the first post-war building to gain Grade I status, and you will see the grand scale we are talking about here.

Grade II* buildings include Battersea Power Station, Rise Hall, and Coliseum Theatre, which demonstrates the diversity of the structures that are listed. With places such as Surbiton Rail Station and the BT Tower taking up third place as Grade II structures.

Unlike most people think, these buildings aren’t necessarily placed under a preservation order, which would prevent any kind of development upon the structure. It simply means that these buildings are to be celebrated for their cultural impact and that any form of change to the building will have to be strongly considered within government planning guidance.

A symbol recognised globally, Battersea Power Station will at long last be redeveloped to become a new luxury hub on the south side of the river, which we are really very excited about seeing. At Hugo Carter, we feel that the influence of modern technology on older buildings can be a really interesting combination. Also, where listed buildings of the past may have used materials that aren’t energy efficient or may have been harmful to the environment, there is always scope to improve upon them with newer, more modern designs.

Tell us, what do you think? Is there a place for newer developments in traditional, listed buildings? Can modern technology help to improve already stunning structures, or will they take away from the integrity of the site?

Image by Clanger’s England

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