ARCON Conservation Architects & Spatial Heritage Consultants

ARCON Conservation Architects & Heritage Consultants is a small specialist practice run by Graham Jacobs. Graham has been involved in architectural heritage and cultural landscape projects since 1986 when he obtained his Master's degree in Conservation (Built Environment) from the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies, York University, UK. He also holds a Bachelor's degree in Architecture from the University of Cape Town.

ARCON has been involved in various international, national and provincial heritage projects. These have included the following:

Architectural rescue restoration of the historic mission town centre at Wupperthal, Cederberg (working with the Rupert Foundation) after the devastating fire in late 2018. Graham was the conservation architect on the project presented with a Conservation Award of Merit by the Cape Institute of Architecture in 2023. Other rescue projects include: Lanzerac Stellenbosch, after a fire that gutted a large part of the historic complex; Mamre’s fire damaged water mill; and severely dilapidated vernacular dwellings at Wittewater mission village. Many of these projects involved on-the-job training aimed at empowering locals in the preparation and use of traditional building materials.

Architectural conservation work at various significant historic sites including: major conservation/reconstruction work at Donkerhoek (now Soetmelksvlei), Simondium, the historic Tsentralni Hali Market Hall, Sofia, Bulgaria; and the Soviet era VIP airport terminal, Almaty, Kazakhstan. Other projects include conservation work at Boschendal, Rhone, Old Bethlehem and other noteworthy historic farms in the Western Cape. Urban conservation projects include, the Lutheran Church, Strand Street, Cape Town; Market House, Greenmarket Square, Cape Town; and the historic Lourens River (stone) Bridge, Somerset West.

Conservation management plans, heritage impact assessments & cultural landscape analyses: These include the award-winning Bosjes Chapel near Worcester (awards by the Cape Institute for Architecture and the UK Civic Trust); the Cape Town Parliamentary Precinct (as a project team member) the Cape Town Grand Parade (with Dr Melanie Attwell); the historic kapstyl settlement at Puntjie near Vermaaklikheid; the Gexi, Vorotnavank and Zorat’s Qarer cultural landscapes, Armenia; and the Old Royal Mint Building, Central London, UK.

Heritage impact assessments: Numerous heritage impact assessments from 2000 onwards. ARCON is a pioneer in the field of heritage impact assessments in South Africa.

Teaching: Former part time staff member at the University of Cape Town (MPhil program in Conservation [Built Environment] including convenor of its Heritage Impact Assessment module); visiting lecturer at the SA Institute of Heritage Science & Conservation; and lecturer on the ‘short course’ in conservation at the faculty of the Built Environment & Engineering, University of Cape Town. Convened a series of heritage courses (with Janine De Waal) aimed at building industry professionals in Lesotho culminating in a masterclass at Makeneng. Has delivered various presentations on cultural heritage conservation including to audiences in the USA, UK, and Africa.

Advisory Capacities & Affiliations: Graham is a cultural heritage advisor to the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) currently involving heritage projects in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He serves as a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Commonwealth Heritage Forum  and is an immediate past Council member of Heritage Western Cape, serving for just under two consecutive terms as the Chairperson of its Built Environment and Landscape Committee. Graham is a founder member of the Association of Professional Heritage Practitioners and member of ICOMOS South Africa.

Contact Number: 
Service Area: 
Western Cape
Free State
Eastern Cape
North West
Northern Cape

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