What can Cambridge's historic buildings teach us about the benefits and challenges of reusing heritage buildings?

Key themes: Built Heritage, Adaptation, Environmental Sustainability, Creative Reuse

In Europe, 75% of our building stock is old and inefficient and Cambridge city centre is a reflection of this on a highly concentrated scale. Whilst narrative often focusses on the requirements and standards for new buildings in a future net zero carbon world, current buildings, including their operation, account for nearly a third of total global energy consumption and c.15% of direct CO2 emissions. 

Designing-in new technology is deemed easier than retrofit, so this tour focusses on two city centre buildings, both historic, one listed. At Entopia, the Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership (CISL) aimed for, and delivered, a comprehensive retrofit programme. Its lessons of success can be explored and shared. The Guildhall, meanwhile, is the City Council’s central office, and a Grade II listed building. Despite efforts to improve its environmental credentials to date, it remains both economically and environmentally expensive for the Council to maintain, while its design does not encourage the social collaboration central to contemporary working styles. The challenge is to develop a viable programme to redesign and retrofit the building to provide a fit for purpose staff office and civic provision, alongside the potential to share space and derive income.

This tour is led by:

  • Dave Prinsep, Head of Property Services, Cambridge City Council

With presenters:

  • Jane Green, Built and Natural Environment Manager, Greater Cambridge Shared Planning
  • Dr Kayla Friedman, Programme Director, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

The Entopia & Guildhall learning tour will depart following morning plenary and lunch on Thursday 22 June. See full Congress programme at theaou.org/cambridge

Advanced registration is required by midday Friday 16 June for this tour.

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The Academy of Urbanism (Number 2) Limited is a not-for-profit organisation limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales 0595604, 11c Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 IXE, United Kingdom.
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