The ‘Future’ image shows the 2010 extension to the Wiltshire Council offices at Bourne Hill in Salisbury, by Stanton Williams architects. This unashamedly modern extension to an early C18th building, originally a substantial house, was given an award by the Civic Society in 2011, and is seen by the Society as demonstrating that new developments in a medieval city do not need to timidly follow traditional styles of architecture.
Starting from the positive possibilities demonstrated by Bourne Hill, various aspects contained within the ‘future’ title are explored under the following headings.
Achieving high quality modern development. The Bourne Hill extension is an excellent example of what can be achieved when no attempt is made to imitate traditional styles, and a completely contemporary idiom is sought. It is however a fairly exceptional case, and the challenge of achieving new developments of good quality is quite a complex one.
The setting of buildings. The spaces between buildings, can be as important as the buildings themselves. If a place like Salisbury, in particular, is to be seen at its best, attention needs to be paid to such things as paving, street furniture, street trees, and signs.
Making the most of the planning system. One of the key jobs undertaken by the Civic Society is the vetting of planning applications, starting from those affecting listed buildings or conservation areas, and from time to time widening that remit when particularly important applications which fall outside it come up.