This year’s conserving category is to do with the restoration and reuse of buildings across any sector, concentrating on the efficient use of existing fabric and embodied energy and ranges from historic restorations to contemporary insertions and retrofit.
Trends and challenges here concerned climate change, with this sector particularly moving away from ‘energy-greedy buildings’ often employing natural ventilation and LEDs, sustainable drainage, CHPs and ground source heat pumps. Carbon zero issues are a box ticked here in longevity of resource and long-life, loose fit and circular economy, while the use of wireless technology has allowed some buildings a greater opportunity for re-use and accessibility another consideration finding better solutions along with an increased use of cycling parking and storage.
Finally, placemaking was another key issue improved by the retention of an older building in providing continuity, stability and, importantly, identity to an area. Conservation should have a contemporary, forward-looking dimension too.
Quotes from the international jury
1 Finsbury Avenue
Dominique Alba: ‘It’s very interesting because it is a huge project that is very symbolic for London. The way they treated the spaces to give more sense to this building and find the old routes is very interesting and may help the people to feel well inside because they are much more connected to history’.
Unbuilt: EMD Walthamstow
Benjamin Prosky: ‘I have an affection for trying to find new uses for these old theatres; this had some merit’