Reuse, Repurpose and Retrofit

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Contact Felix Wu, Architect Associate Director

The idea of retaining and reusing existing buildings rather than knocking them down and starting again seems to be an obvious and effective way to reduce excess carbon emissions. Here, Felix Wu from Benoy's London studio, tells us how the team works to ensure the longevity of buildings in every scheme they work on.

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“The construction industry contributes to 40% of the carbon footprint. I’m excited that we’ve been developing a range of approaches to tackle this issue.”

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Tell us how you approach the problem of repurposing rather than rebuilding with some of your clients?

Our aim is always to guide the client towards a result which is environmentally responsible as far as possible. 

In the past few years, we have applied this design principle in a wide range of projects from urban regeneration, and reinvention of a shopping mall to workplace reconfiguration.

As one example, we worked alongside Newark & Sherwood District Council, on a significant scheme to redevelop the town centre. The scheme included introducing community, cultural and entertainment use into surplus retail space on the high street. As the lead designer on the project, we sought to align regeneration with strong environmental credentials, WHAT WERE THESE.

What are some of the other approaches you use?

With a number of our developer clients, we’re working with them to find alternative ways to reinvigorate existing assets and move away from simple demolition/​rebuild. A typical example might be a shopping mall. Often built twenty plus years ago, often these assets are seen as problematic with the only solution being demolition. Our approach is to work with what’s there; taking existing space and reconfiguring it where we can to create memorable spaces and new uses. 

How are you seeing this play out in other sectors and industries?

As companies readjust to new post-Covid environments, we’re also see a trend of reconfiguring existing premises. With flexible working becoming the norm, clients have asked us to design high quality flexible working environments that cater to much wider needs. 

In our own London studio, we’ve worked alongside our Interiors team to reconfigure our fourth floor space from a standard open plan office floor to a flexible work/​relax area, filled with comfy seating, plants and different kinds of furniture.

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ST 220207 N22 hd
C 220414 N2 hd