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Design ideas for listed buildings

Are you planning major works on a property with protected status? Architect Opinder Liddar discusses the key concerns and how to maximise the historic building’s design potential
Space Group Architects ( have updated this grade II listed building in east London with a frameless glass extension on the lower ground floor and a loft conversion, which now hosts the master bedroom. The additions work to contrast contemporary design with period features, helping to highlight the original details

For an architect, having the opportunity to work on a listed building is always an interesting project, but one that needs to be handled sensitively. The key to a successful result is understanding the building and investing ample time in the design process. But what should you know before taking on this challenge and where’s best to start when coming up with a suitable scheme? Here I’ll take you through the general rules and how to make the most of the building’s original features.

What does listed mean?

A building is usually given listed status because it’s of some kind of architectural significance. Anyone can nominate a structure to be protected, but it’s down to Historic England (or your regional counterpart) to decide if it’s suitable. As it stands, there are over 500,000 listed buildings, and this figure increases every year.

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June 2018
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About Build It

Find the advice & inspiration you need to build or renovate your dream home, including: - Cover house... a charming vernacular new home in the countryside - Specifying sustainable building materials - Design ideas for listed buildings - Can smart homes be hacked? - Self-building for profit ... and more!