To once again mark Recycle Week, Jane Embury takes a look at recycling buildings.
Most of us now accept the importance of recycling.
The Earth’s resources are limited and we should make best use of them. The best way to do that is use them again and again. Ideally, in endless cycles – which we can do with glass.
But what about the built environment? It’s a pertinent question as we emerge into a new normal. What’s needed is a spot of imagination.
After all, working from home, for at least part of the week, is going to be part of the new normal for a lot of people.
We have cautioned several times about the need to reinvent our towns and cities. They need a resilient post-pandemic future.
The City of London’s plan will bring new vibrancy into the city and help support secondary jobs in, for example, retail and hospitality.
Dublin Is also applying imagination. Dublin City Council is currently drafting plans to help convert more than 4,000 empty spaces above shops into housing.
This will form part of the council’s development plan for the city between 2022 and 2028.
It’s also happening in other parts of the world. For example, the South Korean government intends to add 114,000 homes for public housing within the next two years by buying empty hotels and offices.
Singapore is pushing a plan to redevelop old offices in its central business district and convert excess car park spaces into homes, shops, restaurants and indoor farms.
As we build our way out of the pandemic, planners and politicians should be looking more closely at the buildings we already have.
Because we believe that recycling should have a social dimension – that of refurbishing old buildings, rather than demolishing them.
That’s particularly the case on former brown-field sites where, now, it can be cheaper to flatten everything and start again.
Wrightstyle’s role in the built environment is to provide advanced glazing systems to protect against fire.
Significantly, we have also developed a dual-directional glazing system. This protects in either direction, because fire can and does start anywhere.
It’s not just about preserving the past. Rather, it’s about repurposing old buildings whenever possible. It’s about encouraging a more environmentally-friendly way of building for the future.
So, for Recycle Week, let’s encourage planning authorities to reuse the old and repurpose for the future.