house extensions with exposed brick wall in conservation area

What Is a Conservation Architect

A conservation architect is a specialist who works on the renovation and maintenance of old buildings. Their job is to ensure that any renovations or modifications are done in a way that respects the original characteristics of the building and preserves its historic value. Conservation architects frequently work on historic sites and private properties that feature old buildings that may also fall in this category.

What does a conservation architect do?

The main difference between a conservation architect and a general architect is that a conservation architect oversees all aspects of a renovation project related to the historic authenticity of the building being worked on.

The work of a conservation architect starts with a thorough assessment of the work site, and continues with the preparation of plans that guarantee the integrity and historic characteristics of the building are going to be preserved as much as possible.

What’s the career path to becoming a conservation architect?

A general architect can progress to working as a conservation architect by focusing on learning the differences between various architectural styles used through the centuries. They should not only focus on their local area, but also on their larger region in general, because sometimes there may be a significant overlap between the constraints of construction projects in different areas that were built during the same period.

Conservation architects should also work on establishing reliable connections to suppliers that can provide them with specific materials appropriate for a given era. This can be sometimes very challenging if a certain material has fallen out of use over the last century. A conservation architect also often negotiates the issuing of permits related to the projects they work on.

Conservation Architect General Architect
Focuses on preserving historic characteristics of buildings Performs general architecture work without specific regard for historic styles
Must have a deep understanding of period-appropriate materials and styles General understanding of materials and styles
Works with authorities to verify historic integrity is preserved Ensures plans are executed according to local regulations

Clara Annesley

Clara Annesley is an interior design and construction content writer. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Architectural Design Technology from the University of West London. Clara specialises in residential construction for topics like health & safety, architectural design and writing cost guides for renovation and remodelling projects.