A fascinating and very current topic, the session provoked some lively debate.
James started by giving a few examples of effective and imaginative reuse of buildings which he felt the audience might want to research. Station F in Paris, Fairline Mall and The Assembly in the USA and closer to home the Leslie Jones designed project in Grimsby which is promoting the reuse of a now vacant BHS store. Bikini Berlin is also worth a look at as it reuses 1950’s buildings to bring retail, office and hotel uses together.
The debate ranged across reuse of building elements such as steel along with whole building adaption. What was clear from the room is the general support for exploring building reuse at an early stage of a project. Commercial considerations also came to the fore, why should sustainable solutions come at a premium to more carbon intensive materials and processes? Capacity needs to be built into the supply chain for more sustainable products to drive down costs and reverse the premium.
Considering imbedded carbon against new carbon emissions caused through construction and occupational use is a fine balancing act but is a tightrope that must be walked if we are to tackle the carbon challenge. After all the built environment contributes about 40% of the UK’s carbon footprint, a figure we as an industry must be focused on reducing.