Zoe learns the art of giving old buildings a new life

A Lancaster-based architect is set to boost her expertise after securing a place on a prestigious building conservation course.

Zoe Hooton, of Harrison Pitt Architects, has been accepted onto the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings’ (SPAB) repair of old buildings course.

Zoe has received a bursary from Lancaster City Council to help fund the course. The funding is part of the council’s ‘Morecambe Township Heritage Initiative – A View for Eric’ project – a five-year-long Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) programme designed to improve the conservation skills of local craftspeople in the area.

As part of the intensive five-day programme, which starts in October and is based in London, Zoe will study all aspects of conservation including structural repairs, stonework, metalwork and controlling dampness as well as visiting a variety of historic buildings under restoration.

The SPAB course means that Zoe, 30, will start the five-year-long process to become an accredited specialist conservation architect and will be able to work on lottery-funded projects in the future.

Zoe said: “I have always been fascinated by old buildings and become interested in conservation architecture after witnessing the appeal for the development of the Midland Hotel in Morecambe and spending time at historic building such as the Arts and Crafts House in Blackwell.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have been offered a place on the programme. The course will help me learn more about how I can help preserve the heritage of buildings with historical significance within Lancaster and the surrounding area.”

The course, which is recognised by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), will also help Harrison Pitt Architects secure recognition as RIBA or AABC Conservation Architects, placing the practice among a small number of Lancashire firms with the titles. Richard Wooldridge, a director at Harrison Pitt Architects, added: “Harrison Pitt Architects has worked on the repair of a number of historic buildings within Lancashire recently, including the restoration of the roof of St Peter’s Church in Heysham and the bells at Christ Church in Lancaster, and the course will help expand our knowledge of this specialist area of architecture even further.”