We are fortunate that many fine buildings have been preserved in our cities, whether of architectural merit or of particular cultural significance, including former industrial uses. Some of these are officially listed; others form part of conservation areas. Consequently, the scope of many urban developments require the restoration and adaptive re-use of existing buildings, or components of buildings, such as facades. In this way we can preserve for future generations what we can no longer economically replicate.
In many cases, the challenge is to find new purpose for fine existing buildings that provide financial viability to support their restoration and future maintenance. Examples of successful adaptive re-use of old heritage structures include timber wool-loading wharves being converted into luxury hotels and apartments; breweries turned into commercial premises and energy generation centre. Some historic buildings need to be modified simply to improve their functionality, such as the Royal Opera House in London. Others are affected by ground movement or past earthquake events, and require repairs or protection from future in-ground risks.
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Opportunity For Change
There are other buildings that may not be of such great historical interest, but present opportunity for change of use and continued service, such as conversion from commercial to residential or other uses. It can be argued that the ‘greenest’ building is one that already exists, and does not need to be re-built from scratch. Vertical expansion options are possible, even where towers are proposed to be doubled in height.
Robert Bird Group provides structural, civil, geotechnical (UK & Middle-East), digital, and construction engineering services for heritage restorations, adaptive re-use projects, and life extension of existing buildings. Our services – critical to project success – include: