Heritage project

Published on 01 March 2018 - Updated 04 January 2021

Natural, built and landscape heritage is both a legacy and a resource. It attests to the history of uses and the different ways in which a place has been occupied over time. Its acknowledgement is not a barrier to the area’s transformation: on the contrary, it is a driver for the site’s exemplary adaptation to current and future uses.

Developing a project in step with heritage above all means achieving an outcome that engages with a site’s unique features and character. This implies conducting an ex ante heritage assessment, jointly between the stakeholders, the lead contractor and partners, designers and users. This approach pays attention to the choices for showcasing the heritage which factor in the protection rules and boundaries as well as the socio-economic expectations of the development project. 

Site "intelligence" underpins each project, whether its intentions are to restore, graft, extend existing fabric or create new buildings and/or spaces. It is the spatial, landscape, climatic and urban (or rural) circumstances which guide understanding and assimilation of expectations and inform the project’s design.  

The process takes on board the impact of the project (installation, forms and materials) on the vulnerability of the environment and appearance of the landscapes and reorganises a perception in interaction with the site. 

OUV and the heritage project

A project impacting the OUV must, above all, raise the following questions:  

  • Identify the permanent components of the site’s heritage (see P.8 Les clefs de la V.U.E.);
  • Consider the scales of perception: will the project form part of the sweeping landscape or take place on the monumental, local or on an unassuming scale?
  • Define a course of action incorporating the project design rules: terms for its setup, perspectives, typology of spaces and volumes, arrangement of façades, type of materials and the landscape's leading lines, the quality of spaces, strengthening the viewpoints, entrance into the site and so on.

The project’s success depends on its ability to embrace the long-term considerations of the site’s evolution over time: a successful contemporary project magnifies the character of the site which, in return, shores up its legitimacy. 

The designer is supported in their own understanding of the site, and therefore the key issues at stake, by the OUV atlas presented in the concluding section of the guide. To ensure an iterative enhancement of the project, dialogue should be encouraged to adjust the assessment and design, with State-qualified architects specialising in urban design, landscape consultants, Mission Val de Loire and individuals or entities providing expertise tailored to the project’s objectives.