Adaptive reuse, Wynchwood Barns, Toronto, DTAH (image source: Province of Ontario)

A key link between conservation of our built environment, sustainability and climate change

Mark Brandt OAA Profiles Directory | 2016

The impact of architectural design upon our environment, its sustainability and resilience in the face of global pressures and dangers such as climate change, can be enormous. Two areas at which Ontario architects are excelling at are green building (natural conservation) and heritage preservation (cultural conservation). The fact is, however, that these two fields are based upon the same foundation: to preserve that which we value. Indeed, built heritage conservation, in the forms of rehabilitation and adaptive use, is actually a type of green building in that it reuses materials, preserves embodied energy and encourages smart growth in our mature neighbourhoods, rather than sprawling outwards into our agricultural lands. It helps reduce the need to construct additional infrastructure and minimizes travel fuel and other wasteful practices such as filling our landfills with ever-expanding building demolitions.

So the harmonization and synergy of practicing sustainable building and heritage conservation at once can have an even more powerful positive impact on our cities, neighbourhoods and natural environment. There is no better endeavour…