Within any CBD it's the façade of the building that matters most. It's the part that we know best, like the human face.
Critics of the international Modern movement would argue that a simplistic approach has led to very similar buildings popping up all over the world, devoid of any regional character or connection. An alternative approach has been to retain the façade of a heritage building and construct a new building behind it ("facadism") or to in fact design a replica building through and through. Perhaps either approach is tenable within a zone of special heritage character. The real challenge is to design a modern building that fits in perfectly with the heritage buildings around it, thus creating a textured continuum.
The city governors of Paris and Rome don't support any of these three approaches. An alteration to an ancient tomb in the mid 1990's was the first building consent to be issued within the seven hills of Rome in over 500 years. Central Rome has been protected as a world resource not to be tampered with. In a similar vein, the Paris authorities welcomed new modernist buildings – as long as you build them over there, and don't tarnish our precious heritage fabric.
The New World has been much less respectful of beautiful buildings, and in the youngest country of them all – New Zealand – we continue to lose unique buildings to wanton demolition, often replaced by buildings of no great character. Even worse, buildings that are completely out of place in that particular town centre.
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