Green Sky Thinking\

We were delighted that Victoria Thornton, founder and driving force of Open House who are the organisers of Green Sky Thinking came to introduce our event last night. Together with the generosity of our clients UCL, donating the venue and Alan Penn, Dean of the Bartlett, Faculty of the Built Environment and Andrew Grainger, Director of UCL Estates who were both speaking, the event was a lively and interesting debate.

We focussed on the key question, 'Should it stay or should it go?', using our developing proposals for Wates House, home of the Bartlett School of Architecture as a case study representing much of Hawkins\Brown creative reuse work. This question raises technical issues, embodied carbon and operational energy considerations as well as emotive and social questions. Despite the memories contained within this building and the generosity of the Wates family in building it, is there value in retaining a worn out, not particularly distinguished building?

UCL themselves are as interested in keeping the building to prove to the University, student body and industry that retrofit is a viable option for our existing buildings as they are in creating a sustainable estate. New generations of architects will be taught in this environment and take these influences into their practices.

Of the spread of guests who attended, including journalists, architects, engineers and students it was obvious that these questions will keep being examined and we hope to be back next year to present the next step in the story.

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