Radical repurposing, a cure for urban amnesia
Construction booms like the current one all too often wipe out layers of London’s past and replace them with sterilised new streetscapes. The result is a thinning of the urban texture and a loss of markers communicating the city’s history and evolution. However a new generation of architects is finding ways to repurpose existing structures, including sites with little heritage or aesthetic value, as a way to create new strands of urban fabric whilst retaining resonant elements of the old. This evening session will bring together architects, anthropologists, developers and cultural institutions to explore how memories of streets and buildings can be harnessed to support new purposes and ideas.
Themes explored will include:
- Does the repurposing of old buildings for new uses allow structures to retain their historic integrity and build positively upon previous memories?
- Can the economics of repurposing old buildings stack up compared to new build?
- Should repair and reuse play a greater role in construction and architecture?
- Shumi Bose (Chair) is an architectural writer, historian, editor and senior lecturer at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design. Responsible for coordinating Contextual Studies for BA Architecture: Spaces and Objects, covering architectural history, theory and broader cultural issues.
- Elizabeth Adams, Founder and Director, Adams Sutherland
- Case study: Fashioning Poplar In a radical example of urbanrevitalisation Adams Sutherland has designed a scheme that takes 50 disused garages in Poplar and creates a centre for small fashion businesses including fabrication facilities and teaching space. The project, delivered in partnership with Poplar HARCA, The Trampery and the London College of Fashion will provide low-cost facilities and support for small fashion businesses, whilst bringing new life to an urban wasteland.
- Chris Fellner, Associate Director, Haworth Tompkins
- Case study: The Sackler Building is the first phase of a major new campus for the Royal College of Art designed by Haworth Tompkins. A single storey factory building has been converted into the two storey Painting School, allowing all the students to work together under one roof for the first time in over 10 years. The brief was to create contemporary purpose built studios to match the quality and character of the very best traditional painting studios in London, such as the generous Victorian studios at the V&A or Royal Academy
- Tim Greatex, Founder, Tim Greatrex Architect
- Case Study: The House of Vans sits within the 150 year old brick arches of the railway lines heading out of Waterloo station. Tim Greatrex turned the 2,500 square metres containing 5 separate long tunnels into a cultural hub for skateboarding, art, film and music. Owing to the location within the historic arches restrictions were clearly set to disallow any form of structural fixing or disturbance to the existing brickwork.
- David Gunn, co-founder of Something More Near, a multi-disciplinary agency that works with places and organisations during moments of significant change (including projects for The Museum of London)
- Case study: White City During the past year, Something More Near have been commissioned by developers Stanhope to initiate White Noise an experimental curatorial and publishing project in White City that engages with the past, present and future of the area’s communities and built infrastructure. David will be discussing White Noise’s re-use and repurposing of buildings in White City during times of construction, dereliction and demolition.
The event is hosted and curated by The Trampery, a social enterprise specialising in workspaces designed to drive creativity and entrepreneurship. Tickets include a drink and a tour of Trampery Old Street.
17:00 Presentations followed by discussion
19:30 Event ends
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