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CONVERSION: NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH CONSERVATION

LETTERS

Pinions Barn (shortlisted for the RIBA Crown Estate Conservation Award, AJ 14.09.06) is a decent enough adaptation of an existing building, but it bemuses me that it can be seen to be coming close to conservation.

It is merely a barn conversion - hardly sympathetic to its original function. 'The window slot. . . was inspired by the trains that whoosh past, ' says the Building Study (AJ 09.02.06). Where does this come from - Nike-style 'whoosh' branding? This is a stylistic conversion, idiosyncratic of its time, but nonetheless a building of fashion.

The only resemblance to the original is the roof structure.

It may manifest itself in the future as fitting into Simon Thurley's category of 'horror conversions'; but it is worse than unsustainable to leave these 'honestly functional' structures to decay with dignity.

It may be better off classed as 'sustainable re-use', but conservation - neither with a capital nor a small 'c' - this is not.

Rose Peeters, Bunwell

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