If you look at buildings across Australia and around the world, you’re sure to have come across buildings that have been repurposed from their original use. However, common as it is to find churches and barns converted to residential until relatively recently we couldn’t draw on too many examples in the commercial world.
Now with climate change top of mind for many, including property investors, the construction industry is making a concerted effort to minimise its carbon footprint. And the easiest way to embody carbon is to reuse existing buildings.
Architects are rising to the challenge, with one East Coast architect firm converting a disused multistorey parking garage for their new Inner Sydney studio. Surry Hills benefits from being on multiple transport routes and is adjacent to Sydney Central railway with connections to light rail. Now showing a younger demographic profile in both residents and workers, its Millennials are forgoing vehicle ownership, which left the former car park defunct. For the new architectural studio and other offices, the basic structure was left intact, meaning no construction waste to landfill, and no trucks on the road to transport the waste.
Still in Surry Hills, the Ace Hotel group now calls home one of Australia’s earliest brickworks. The architects and developer have created a cool urban hotel that retains some of the brick structures from the 1916 building.
On the water at Circular Quay, Sydney, the Danish firm redeveloping a 45-storey tower retained 70% of the structure (including the core) as part of the new 50-storey tower. The restored and rebuilt structure has double the floor area of the previous building, while reusing much of the tower saved around 8,250 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Reuse of the original core also slashed construction time by an estimated six to nine months. The As Designed tower has a 6 Star Green Star rating, the highest rating available for sustainability in the industry.
Adelaide in our home state boasts many examples of adaptive reuse. The Darling Building, left vacant since 1997, has been carefully restored, with services left exposed and the alterations sitting lightly on a building that has stood since 1916.
Closer to home, in Mount Gambier, artist Karl Meyer repurposed old railway tracks to create his sculpture, ‘Tracks’.
And our local council, the City of Mount Gambier, is issuing grants to help fund restoration of heritage buildings in our city to preserve our past.
Some adaptive reuse examples from outside Australia
In the United States, moribund shopping malls are being adapted for offices, hotels, indoor agriculture, sporting activities and residential. This latter use is being adopted in Australia, too, with Scentre Group (Westfield) taking advantage of the ‘air space’ above some of its shopping centres to build residential apartments.
Architects around the world are being tasked with retaining embodied carbon. In our built environment, the largest repositories of embodied carbon are concrete and steel. If there is an existing structure on the site, architects and developers need to question how they can use that structure. With cement manufacturing alone accounting for around 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions, it makes sense to minimise its use through adaptive reuse.
Architects in Los Angeles salvaged an earthquake-damaged building that was due to be demolished and adapted it for use as an administrative and student-services building.
Adaptive reuse not only locks up carbon, but can also be instrumental in adding vibrancy to once-moribund streets and precincts. With heritage restoration and reuse of buildings in Mount Gambier, the owners have kick-started a new retail precinct and added new energy.
Can you add a bit here about the new precinct?
Can we help with your Mount Gambier commercial property?
Call Herbert Commercial on 08 87 250 500 for a complimentary annual investment portfolio assessment. From this assessment, feedback may warrant the need to seek Herbert Commercial’s advice and expertise with formulating a plan to action restructuring or renegotiating the best lease scenario moving forward. We’re here to help.
As the only dedicated commercial property agency in Mount Gambier, we have a network with and are sought after by national commercial agencies as a trusted extension to their services.
Our wealth of commercial knowledge of the Mount Gambier market extends to the broader commercial market, meaning we can ensure you achieve your commercial property goals.