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Welcome to the second season of our property management podcast! We are kicking off with a special episode celebrating World Heritage Day. This day, celebrated globally, is a reminder of the importance of preserving and appreciating our cultural and architectural heritage. In our podcast, we delved into the nuances of managing heritage buildings, the challenges we face, and the stories these structures tell. Here’s a recap of our discussion.

Embracing Heritage in Property Management

Our journey with heritage buildings is a testament to the evolving nature of architecture and the importance of preserving history. We often think of heritage buildings as ancient structures. In Manchester, these are often the old mill buildings, symbolic of the industrial revolution.

However, heritage is not confined to the distant past. Even buildings from the 1960s, our very own Hilton House building, often dismissed for their brutalist architecture, hold historical significance. These structures capture the essence of their time, showcasing design trends. For instance, the 1960s buildings, despite being seen as unattractive by some, mark an era in our architectural history that deserves recognition. 

Hilton House Property CERT Headquarters. Embracing Heritage in Property Management. New Podcast Series Episode 1 Celebrating World Heritage Day

Hilton House, Manchester.

The Shifting Perception of Heritage

The perception of what constitutes heritage is continually evolving. Buildings once deemed modern can later fall out of favour, only to be appreciated decades on for their historical and architectural value. This nature of taste is evident in our treatment of buildings from different eras. For example, while 1960s architecture is now celebrated, 1980s and 1990s buildings are still too recent to be widely appreciated. They haven’t yet transitioned into the realm of heritage, but their time will come.

Balancing Heritage Preservation and Modern Needs

One of the critical challenges we face in property management is balancing the preservation of heritage features with modern building regulations and tenant expectations. Renovating heritage buildings often uncovers hidden gems—like the parquet flooring and terracotta ceilings in our Hilton House office—but it also poses significant constraints. Building regulations for fire safety, noise control, and energy efficiency must be met, which sometimes means covering up or altering original features.

Parquet flooring and terracotta ceilings, Hilton House. Balancing Heritage Preservation and Modern Needs. New Podcast Series Episode 1 Celebrating World Heritage Day

Parquet flooring and terracotta ceilings, Hilton House.

Celebrating Successful Heritage Projects

We’ve worked on several heritage projects that stand out for their successful blend of old and new. Hilton House, where our podcast is recorded, is a prime example. We’ve exposed and celebrated many of its original features.

Another notable project is Duke and Parr in Liverpool, where we managed to preserve Victorian wallpaper and other historical elements while modernising the space for contemporary use. 

Duke and Parr in Liverpool. Celebrating Successful Heritage Projects. New Podcast Series Episode 1 Celebrating World Heritage Day

Duke and Parr in Liverpool

Spotlight on Duke & Parr: A Heritage Gem in Liverpool

This World Heritage Day, we’re taking a moment to appreciate Duke & Parr, a magnificent property in Liverpool’s heritage and now a modern-day triumph. Duke & Parr comprises four separate buildings, each with its own story to tell. Notably, 105 Duke Street holds the distinction of being Liverpool’s First Public Library from 1852 to 1860 and was honoured with a grade II listing on March 14, 1975. Over the years, it underwent transformations, serving as part of a warehouse in 1865, before becoming the headquarters of Bibby Shipping with a number of 1990’s additions, including suspended ceilings hiding the past. CERT acquired Duke & Parr in 2019, transforming it into the creative hub it is today.

Fast forward just under 225 years, a Sony company, now calls Duke & Parr home. Our full remodel was completed in 2022, restoring the part Grade II listed property across two adjoining buildings. The building is at the forefront of the workplace revolution, providing a distinct and stimulating place to work, learn, and socialise—just like it always has, stretching back to the 19th Century.

Recent renovations have stripped back the layers to reveal and celebrate the property’s natural beauty, including hidden vaults, cavernous basements, a courtyard atrium, interconnected buildings, and period details. Duke & Parr’s transformation has gained acclaim, earning nominations for prestigious property awards, including Property Week’s Property Awards, North-West Business Insider’s Commercial Property Awards, and the Liverpool City Region Property Awards.

Duke and Parr in Liverpool. Spotlight on Duke & Parr: A Heritage Gem in Liverpool. New Podcast Series Episode 1 Celebrating World Heritage Day

Duke and Parr in Liverpool

The Future of Heritage Buildings

Looking ahead, the preservation of heritage buildings will become even more crucial as we aim for net-zero carbon emissions. Reusing existing structures is vital for reducing the carbon footprint associated with new construction. However, the viability of restoring older buildings versus demolishing and rebuilding is an ongoing debate. As building regulations become stricter, particularly regarding energy efficiency, the costs and feasibility of preserving heritage buildings will continue to be a significant consideration.

Conclusion

As we celebrate World Heritage Day, we recognise the value of our architectural heritage in shaping our cities and communities. Our role as property managers and developers is to ensure that these buildings are preserved, appreciated, and adapted for modern use. Through our work, we aim to highlight the importance of heritage in the built environment and aim to inspire others to value and protect our historical structures.

To listen into the full podcast episode, head over to apple podcast or spotify! You can also watch it here:

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