Symposium ‘Sustainable reuse of buildings, the Dutch approach’

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Symposium ‘Sustainable reuse of buildings, the Dutch approach’

9 May 2012 the TU Delft and the city of Delft organized the symposium Sustainablereuse of buildings, the Dutch approach. The European project LINKS, future proof historic centers became a motive to organize this symposium in Delft. Since 2010 the city of Delft and the TU Delft are participating in this European URBACT project to stimulate the sustainable development of historic cities. At the symposium the current Dutch situation was discussed. Since the possibilities for financing and the demand for new buildings in the Netherlands has been reduced considerably the attention for sustainable reuse of the existing building stock is growing.
The day took place, very appropriate, at the colorful reused BK-city building, in the first half of the previous century built as faculty forChemistry, now the new accommodation for the faculty of Architecture of TU Delft. From different points of view the future task of sustainable use of the existing building stock was discussed. Furthermore the deputy mayor of the city of Delft Milène Junius and the mayor of Delft Bas Verkerk presented their view on the reuse of buildings in Delft and the European cooperation.Birgit Dulski, senior researcher sustainable building, talked about her research on the building process at the Business University of Nyenrode. Paul Meurs, professor in Restoration TU Delft, pointed out the cultural historic value and the urban aspects of redevelopment. Michiel Haas, professor Materials TU Delft focused at the scarcity of rear materials. Hielkje Zijlstra, assistant professor at RMIT TU Delft, emphasized the need for analysis and redesign and Olivier Graeven, architect at Braaksma Roos Architects,presented reuse from an architectural point of view. And the final speaker Rudy Stroink, owner at TCN project development, discussed the role of the project developer in redevelopment. Antonio Borghi, lead expert of LINKS, led the forum discussions in between these presentations.

Antonio Borghi lead expert of LINKS

The symposium started with the question of the right definition of ‘sustainable’. As chairman of the day Job Roos, architect and owner at Braaksma Roos Architecten and chairman of the department RMIT of TU Delft, emphasized that sustainability starts with an integral approach, social, economic, financial, cultural as well as in technics and design, that it cannot be captured in calculations only. He referred to an essay of ChristophGrafe, ‘Dierbaar is duurzaam’ (dear is sustainable), in which the appreciation of a building is the starting point for sustainability.

The deputy mayor Milène Junius gave her view on the sustainable reuse of buildings in Delft and especially mentioned the policy of Delft to avoid vacancy and to stimulate temporary reuse. Furthermore she emphasized the cultural meaning of reuse and the importance of cheap temporary locations for experiment and creativity.
Birgit Dulski showed that in the Netherlands20% of the building stock exists of traditional buildings, built before 1940. Especially for this part a considerable energy profit would be possible. She noticed a growth of experimental extremely low energy renovation. Nevertheless these projects, driven by high ambitions, are relatively expensive. She stated that too high ambitions of environmentalists versus a sometimes too conservative view of conservationists impede proper communication. She pled for a more pragmatic approach, often ‘tailor-made’. Small, specific and effective adjustments of buildings can produce a much higher overall profit. Furthermore she pled for effective regulations and stimulating policies to enhance the chance for success.
The second speaker,Paul Meurstalked about reuse on an urban scale. He presented the building as part of a collective understanding of the space and the identification of inhabitants with their surroundings. He mentioned that the high number of listed buildings in the Netherlands, 1,7% of the total building stock, forms quite an assignment to maintain in good condition. Furthermore he asked for attention for the public space as a binding element in the city. Also in the restructuring of the postwar modernistic areas the revaluation of the public space is a key issue. These neighborhoods from the fifties have plenty of public green space but lack solutions for the current need for parking places. The redesign of the public space could restore the original quality of these neighborhoods. Meurspled for a more integral approach in general: an open and continuous dialogue between all stakeholders.

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