The Observatory

02
Oct 2020

Recycling our buildings

We’ve all watched the advent and growth of digital shopping, the slow demise of our local high streets, but who could have predicted a mere seven months ago, a UK population working from home, depleted city centres and our lifestyles changed to bolster the more local.

There is a opportunity to re-model these places of course, the term ‘Re-purposing’ springs to mind and with that the potential for positive change: a suburban commercial boost via the stay at home worker and a re-think of the floundering City Centre, devoid of its ‘Nine to Fivers.’

It’s about Adapting to survive and thrive.

To use the correct term ..”Adaptive Re-use’ referring to when an existing building is used for a new purpose, for which it was not originally designed.

Whilst not every building is suitable, we can see the sustainable benefits of recycling our buildings, as a key part of a place regeneration process.

We have a number of re-purposed schemes, developed with stakeholders as part of our own bank of project work https://theplacemakers.becg.com/our-work/

There are of course some famous example of this: London’s own ..Bankside Power Station – repurposed and reinvented as the global icon that is Tate Modern.

It comes to obsolescence and whilst the lives of many buildings supplant the generations, just occasionally, an event brings to a head the shelf life and outmoded nature of some those architectural boxes we build, in which to live our lives.

It’s nothing new!

The mid 80s saw de-regulation, countless Banks left their City of London headquarters, the listed buildings preventing a requirement to ventilate bourgeoning computing networks.

So how do we re-purpose?

By being creative, looking to mix our uses, the work, stay and play infrastructure necessary to create 24/7 communities in high street or former worksplace locations.

We know the need for change has been recognised, the current planning use categories having been added to or amended Sui Generis on the 1st September to enable a timely re-purpose.

Currently under judicial review, with an expected outcome by mid October.

Let’s just hope they can be Re-purposed too!