We see our work as a chapter in the long lives of existing buildings, they have pasts and will have futures beyond us, and like layers of urban strata, our approach is always one of layering strands of the past, present, and future into our work. As such, we are delighted that our retrofit work is recognised by this years AJ Retrofit Awards as the office has been actively engaged is reuse and research on the circular economies of material use. Our shortlisted Paintworks project illustrates both the use of composite materials made from recycled content and the enhancement of existing structures through a new functional life.
This positive juxtaposition whereby innovation within existing structures brings community-wide benefits was a strong driver in our “Town Hall” projects.
The Town Hall Hotel is a significant example of a public building brought back into shared used. Through the private components sustaining its operation, it participates in fostering the local art scene, creative events and brought about durable economic development to the neighbourhood.
The Fulham Town Hall will also bring a place of gathering for local businesses and the local community, building a new set of relationships and memories.
We actively believe that each structure no matter how small has “a right to repair” to avoid environmentally costly obsolescence. Each of DROO’s projects, such as the recently completed City Approach apartments, is rooted in its present context but also considered in its place in history, as we consistently revisit historical archetypes through the lens of contemporary technologies and environmental considerations. We look for the most sensitive and passive way to address local constraints and objectives to withstand the test of time and technological desuetude.
Using existing resources brings long-term benefits through conservation of cultural and social links. The immediate environmental gains foster long-term health through a communal sense of place.