In Europe, we are witnessing a transformation in the way the built environment is developed.
Over the last few years, Nordic countries and the United Kingdom have enacted legislative changes that encourage the adaptive re-use of buildings, with traditional ‘raze and rebuild’ development proposals only being approved if there is no case for the upcycle of the existing structure.
Adaptive reuse is the single most effective way to both reduce embodied carbon in construction and to adapt our built environment to changing demands. With the building and construction sector currently accounting for nearly 40% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, it is no wonder countries are turning to adaptive reuse in the race to fulfill net zero goals and sustainability pledges.
Quay Quarter Tower (#QQT) is a highly sustainable 51-storey vertical village in Sydney that is widely considered to be the tallest and largest adaptive reuse project ever achieved. This project transformed a 190m tower built in the mid-1970s into a 216m tower fit for 21st Century needs. It has recently won a slew of awards including World Architecture Festival’s 2022 ‘World Building of the Year’ and the prestigious 2022/23 International High-Rise Award.
BG&E provided structural engineering, construction engineering, materials testing, and structural monitoring services to the project. Based on extensive materials testing of structural elements, two-thirds of the original structure’s core, columns and slabs were retained during construction. This project saved approximately 12,000 tonnes of embodied carbon and has added an iconic new structure to Sydney’s skyline. BG&E has demonstrated that even older, complex buildings can be upcycled to reduce carbon emissions and renew a structure’s service life for future needs.
At BG&E’s Melbourne Industry Event last November, Rick Kreeck, Director – Melbourne, identified the symbiotic relationship between reutilising existing structures and reducing embodied carbon, and the role that developers, engineers, and architects can play in the adaptive reuse movement.