Adelaide-based architecture firm DASH has been appointed to assess the capital’s parklands and city squares for possible heritage protection.

The firm was chosen as the result of an Australia-wide tender process by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR). Dash Architects will now oversee a comprehensive assessment of Adelaide’s parklands and city squares to determine whether they should qualify for listing on the State Heritage Register.

News of the appointment was met with a mixed response, as DASH Architects have a number of projects for the area in the works. Some believe this may be a potential conflict of interest, claiming that this involvement might preclude impartial recommendations for heritage listing.

The State Heritage Unit have insisted that measures have been put in place to prevent such conflict of interest.

“[The architects] will prepare and submit an assessment report,” says Beverley Voigt, Manager of Heritage and Major Reform at DEWNR’s State Heritage Unit. “[And] at that time the consultant will be required to declare any potential, actual or perceived conflicts of interest.”

“The SA Heritage Council will make a decision under the Heritage Places Act 1993. As the Council makes the final decision there is no conflict of interest.”

This heritage assessment role is not the first for DASH, who have also assessed projects such as Glenside Hospital Local Heritage Review, Port Augusta Civic Precinct Framework Study, and Bowden Urban Village Cultural Mapping Study. As well as heritage assessments, DASH’s heritage services include contextual architecture, adaptive reuse, conservative works and conservation management.

On their website, DASH identifies as ‘one of Australia’s leading practices in the provision of specialist heritage services’ and positions itself as being ‘at the forefront of the development of a sustainable paradigm for the conservation of cultural heritage.’