8th April 2024

Beyond Retrofit: RIAS publishes Craig Turner’s insights


Retrofit and reuse is at the heart of everything we do as we respond to the global climate crisis and strive to reach Net Zero. So what is retrofit, and how can it have a positive impact on the environment and people’s lives?

In response to the topic, The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), the professional body for architects in Scotland, has published a ‘Beyond Retrofit’ focus for its first quarterly magazine of 2024.

The special edition focuses on how we can create a sustainable retrofit programme that promotes joined-up decision-making, and includes insights by Craig Turner, regional director in our Glasgow studio on everything retrofit entails and its benefits. Craig comments:

“Retrofit is more important than ever as we look to address the significant levels of embodied carbon in the built environment in response to the climate emergency.

“In its simplest terms, retrofit involves the transformation and reuse of existing buildings. Importantly, it can apply to all buildings and spaces, from listed and heritage sites to commercial high-rise buildings and public spaces, whether they are in use, vacant or derelict. It is all about adapting and making a space work, but also conserving and maintaining its heritage.

“There are three main strands of retrofit: proactive reuse, which involves repairs and upgrades, such as to reduce the embodied carbon of a site; adaptive reuse, meaning to repurpose a building for new needs; and expansive reuse, which sees additions to a project, such as a vertical extension or a new blue/green roof, to add value.

“In Glasgow, for example, we worked on the redevelopment of the nine-storey high Sentinel Building, using innovative structural solutions to facilitate an upgrade to a Grade A office space. In St Andrews, we are currently involved with the refurbishment of a former paper mill to house the new low-carbon Eden Mill distillery.

“The greenest building is the one that is already built. As an industry, we must raise our game and champion thinking more and using less.”

Read the full feature here. [Image credits: OLA & RIAS]

Beyond Retrofit: RIAS publishes Craig Turner’s insights