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Ecotecture MD starting new MSc in conservation

Studying with the Henley Management School at Reading University on the MSc Conservation of the Historic Environment course.

Director Jo has just completed with top grade marks her first assignments for the module ‘Understanding the Historic Environment'. She is really pleased with the course so far saying “It's fascinating how much more there is to know, even after 30 years in the business. I have always loved listed buildings and felt there was a huge potential for modern insertions to enhance the existing fabric. This course is helping me understand the culture surrounding our 'heritage assets' and will really improve the service we offer in our practice”.

During the residential course, trips were undertaken to Winchester Cathedral, with a fascinating tour conducted by the resident archaeologist Dr. John Crook, followed by a visit to Hampshire record office and Historic England archives at Swindon. Other site visits involved a practical visit and analysis session at Church Lydiard Tregoze adjacent to the medieval manor house. The course also looked at how the house had been transformed with a fashionable Palladian remodelling to its front in the 1700's.

Two assignments followed the first week's residential course, run by Henry Russell OBE, one looking at how the Conservation movement has changed from a localised affair pre 19th Century to a global movement of international collaboration. Learning how the after-effects of the war have changed the way we work together to conserve and protect our heritage assets; the assignment draw links from the global movement right down into our planning policy today. World Heritage sites are a prime example of how nations work together to ensure the highest standards and principle of conservation care and protection are set and supported worldwide.

The second assignment involved researching a church then recording and analysing the building and its history. Firstly, through physical inspection learning from the building itself, identifying styles and periods with different building materials and then pulling this together with historical archive research to present a complete picture of the development of the church through time. This was an invaluable exercise as it enabled the skills and techniques covered by the course to be utilised for the final document.

Jo says '”I am seeing new stories in buildings that I've been walking past every day in the past. Medieval timbers, classical chapels, knapped squared or rounded flint work and the effect of modern interventions. It's amazing what you can tell once you know what to look for, I just love it!”.

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