Empowering Adaptive Reuse in Historic Precincts

The project aims to showcase design and practice-based approaches to the sustainable, adaptive reuse of historic places in Australia. Supported by the Swayn Foundation grant, and building on our research, a series of 12 interviews have been conducted with leading architects and heritage practitioners in four Australian states. Three edited transcripts are available here.

It is our contention that Australia has too few venues for celebrating and disseminating local exemplars of innovative and sound heritage and adaptive reuse practice. We therefore hope that the interviews, and forthcoming book, speak to this need for professional and public dialogue about creative design solutions that find a productive balance between economic and urban redevelopment and the conservation of existing historical buildings, places and materials.

With the impacts of globalisation and climate change on architecture and the built environment under intense discussion and critique, the smart adaptive renewal and re-creation of sustainable local places for living and working is of ever-heightened importance. Informed and sensitive adaptive reuse of built fabric, in contrast to total demolition or new build, can bring significant benefits in fostering social and cultural capital, and in sustainable construction development. These architects and practices persuasively describe projects that foster design and professional know-how for the nurturing of historical contexts that define the unique urban character of our towns and cities.


The Alastair Swayn Foundation respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Custodians on the land of which we work, the Ngunnawal people of the ACT. We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay respect to Elders past, present, and emerging.

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