Model Answer – IELTS (Task 2)

Many old buildings are protected by law because they are part of a nation’s history. However, some people think old buildings should be knocked down to make way for new ones because people need houses and offices.

How important is it to maintain old buildings? Should history stand in the way of progress?

Many modern cities such as Prague, Venice and Budapest are memorable because of their historical architecture. Contemporary buildings are often placed amongst ancient ones to accommodate the increasing populations in cities. It is difficult to imagine a visit to a city, for example New York, which does not include a tour to the Flat Iron or Empire State building.

There is no doubt that old buildings add to the character, culture and history of a country and as such should be maintained. Old buildings have a life of their own and an interesting story to tell. Any architect will tell you that old buildings indicate the style of architecture of a certain period and provide information of how people used to live in the past. In order to add to a nation’s cultural heritage, these landmarks need to be maintained with the appropriate funding and restoration work in order to ensure they are safe.

Those who wish to replace these historical buildings with high rises for business and accommodation purposes promote progress and practicality. They do not appreciate history, art and architecture. I believe there are other creative solutions that do not involve demolishing historical buildings in favour of impersonal skyscrapers. Business parks and accommodation villages could be build in suburbs for example.

Well preserved old buildings are the pride and joy of a nation. They become an instant tourist attraction and appear on postcards thus promoting the cultural heritage of a country. Even though there is a great demand for housing and office blocks, alternative solutions need to be found.
Question taken from Official IELTS Practice Materials (2009) p.33
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