Director, Lovell Chen
Peter Lovell’s enduring interest in the analysis and re-use of older buildings and sites began during his studies at Melbourne University, where he followed a Bachelor of Building degree with post-graduate research on the decay and preservation of materials. He founded Lovell Chen Architects & Heritage Consultants — originally as Allom Lovell & Associates — in 1981. The practice is now a leader in design and management associated with heritage places.
Major early projects, such as the restoration of Melbourne’s mid-19th Century Windsor Hotel, were significant to Australia’s growing passion for rediscovery of its architectural heritage — a movement with which Peter is proud to be associated. He has since been involved in the continued and contemporary life of many the nation’s iconic 19th and 20th Century buildings.
The primary focus of his current work is the development of strategies to address the complexities that arise with the design and development of new schemes in heritage contexts. His detailed knowledge of traditional building and conservation practice is critical to this, together with his comprehensive understanding of the issues faced in the adaptation and reuse of heritage buildings and sites. While he is often involved in a leadership capacity in all phases of projects, the emphasis of his work is in concept development and in steering a course to achieve appropriately balanced outcomes.
Peter is frequently called upon as an expert witness, and to provide advice on heritage issues for public and private sector clients. He is also a frequent contributor to heritage tribunals and the decisions of heritage authorities such as the Victorian Heritage Council, drawing on his established skills and emphatic personal commitment, no matter how controversial the issue. He considers challenge and debate as essential to the ongoing development of relevant heritage strategies and is pleased to have his ideas publically tested and honed.
“The past must not be used to stifle the future,” he says. “Every conservation proposal should be looked at, understood, questioned — and justified.”
An active participant in the profession, he participates in conferences and undertakes lectures and speaking engagements. He is an active member of a number of heritage committees and organizations, contributing to the profession’s growth and development as well as the promotion of conservation practice. In 2007, his contribution was recognized by the Australian Institute of Architects with the conferring of an honorary fellowship.