Over on theguardian.com there’s a fascinating story by James Tapper about a construction company that wanted to get rid of an old Tavern for their new construction. They decided the best way to do this -without the proper permits, I imagine!- was to simply tear it down, pay the fine for doing so, and then get on with their construction.
Only, things didn’t quite work out for them…
Yep, according to the article (and I don’t mean to spoil everything within it) the clever folks seeing the work of the construction company had a feeling they might just try to illegally demolish the pub and took extensive measurements and photographs and when the construction company did the deed, these were presented to the city’s council and the construction company was ordered to rebuild the pub which, six years later, they’ve done and its about to be re-opened.
I have to say, I do feel to some extent for the construction company.
Mind you, what they did was slimy as hell and they got their come-uppance for trying to skirt the rules/laws regarding both demolition and construction.
But I also know that it can be frustrating at times dealing with older buildings.
Where I live, in South Florida, there is precious little construction that one would call “classic”. Because Florida was developed mostly in the 20th Century and many of the older buildings were torn apart in the various hurricanes that have hit the area, we do have one prominent form of architecture I really love in Miami Beach: Art Deco.
There are beautiful Art Deco Hotels/Buildings in the area and I love them to death.
But I also know that inside the building, the rooms themselves may be pretty inadequate for modern tenants.
Miami Beach has instituted some common sense laws regarding working with these buildings. Sometimes they allow construction companies permission to demolish the body of a building, for example, while requiring them to keep the Art Deco features, like the front facade and lobby, both of which may carry the Art Deco look but the rest does not.
It’s a tricky balance and the pub in this story was originally built in the 1920’s, which doesn’t make it one of the oldest structures in London, I’m certain. However, if the city wants it kept as is and has designated it historic, the construction company has no one to blame for this costly -I’m certain!- work they were forced to do but themselves.