Jun 2017

Making More of Modernism: Sustainable Refurbishment Symposium

Last week FCBStudios were pleased to host a one-day international Symposium at London’s Royal Festival Hall concerning the sustainable refurbishment of Modern movement buildings.

The day’s participants included leading designers, surveyors and engineers, together with building owners, academics and journalists from across Europe and the USA. The Symposium programme was devised and endorsed with input from Historic England and Historic Environment Scotland.

The wide-ranging programme included sessions focussed on understanding the key problems faced in the reuse of listed and unlisted twentieth century buildings, the key tools and techniques employed in their evaluation and assessment, and discussion of project case studies presented by project clients from both the public and private sectors.

During the day, debate explored key issues and important questions, including the following:

- The extent to which heritage can stimulate excellent design and development rather than being an obstacle to progressive change and growth, especially in growing cities like London.

- The role that the conservation and reuse of existing buildings plays in the global mission to reduce energy consumption and climate change. For example, should permission to demolish an existing building come with a commitment to deliver a carbon-zero building as its replacement?

- The relationship between the designed performance of buildings, results in post-occupancy evaluation schemes such as ‘soft landings’, and how both of these factors relate to perceived and actual human comfort.

- The evaluation of the ‘significance’ of buildings of the Modern movement - including both physical and non-physical aspects - and the differing attitudes to preservation and re-use in the UK, USA and elsewhere.

As a follow-up to the day FCBStudios are now working together with participants and Symposium co-hosts WJE Engineers and Historic England to develop and disseminate the day’s findings. We hope to be able to share more of this through the FCBS website soon - so watch this space!

During the Symposium FCBStudios offered its projects for the refurbishment of the nearby Southbank Centre, and the Students Union at the University of Bristol as part of the debate. Both of these projects are also featured in an exhibition entitled ‘Making More of Modernism’ which is part of the London Festival of Architecture. The exhibition is free to view at FCBStudios’ London Studio during normal working hours until the beginning of September.

FCBStudios’ Managing Partner and Symposium host Geoff Rich said:

'We’re passionate about developing and sharing our understanding of the creative reuse of Modern era buildings and it was great to be joined by a wide range of clients, friends and collaborators. There is a real enthusiasm to develop the thinking and so we now look forward to developing the debate.'

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Making More of Modernism: Sustainable Refurbishment Symposium