Friday, 25 May 2007

Adaptable reuse in Canberra

A strange way, perhaps to start a blog for a consultant architect in Sydney, Australia . . . publicising the work of another consultant! But it so happens that this little piece of work stands for everything I believe in.

My old friend and sometime collaborator Nino Bellantonio has just become 'almost famous' for a humble alteration and addition that embodies all the best principles of sensible sustainable design. As Nino says in introduction:

Adaptive reuse is the single best way to achieve energy efficiency in building. Too often buildings are demolished senselessly because their potential is unrecognized. Not only is the enormous amount of embodied energy in those buildings destroyed, but a great deal of energy is also expended in the demolition and disposal process. It doesn’t end there of course: energy efficient measures also have to be considered in the refurbishment.

And in this little house, they are. The main point of interest is the way an old house of truly terrible construction (single skin dense concrete) has been transformed by wrapping it economically in multiple skins and spaces.....sort of an adaptation of Japanese traditions. A variety of well placed specialised glazings maximise solar gains and flood ancilliary spaces with welcome light. Small things like a new floor laid over the old improve the general thermal properties of the previously famously hot and cold construction.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The adaptable reuse of spaces within buildings, instead of demolishing and restarting is a path within architecture i feel needs to be addressed more. I recall from Environment 1, that 50% of waste created comes from the demolishment of buildings.

Nino's ability to rehabilitate buildings, allows for a smaller embodied energy footprint by not creating waste from deconstructing structures, enforcing a better life cycle for buildings and protecting the historic features/facade of the site. When researching Nino i found a house built in Canberra (1959) that he had helped redeveloped in 2012. From what i read 'they considered the heritage aspects of the project, preserving and amplifying its essential qualities while providing adaptations for the twenty-first century.' I find it interesting that although, your blog looks closely at the sustainability benefits Nino defines in his work through reusing a building, enforcing the best principles of a sensible and sustainable design. The article informed me of a different importance of adapting and reusing buildings, being the ability to preserve the history of the building. If buildings were getting demolished constantly it would not only create a large amount of waste and embodied energy footprint, but would also demolish the story and history of the building.

H House -

(Interesting Website on embodied energy) -
I found this website, have you seen it before? What's your opinion on it?