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Retrofit Meets: Planning for Change in Heritage Estates

Wed 17 Apr 2024, 6-7.30pm

Retrofit Meets is an in person series of panel events bringing together experts in the built environment. These are held in the seminar suites of the Building Centre. Organised thematically, panellists will discuss their latest research and completed or on going projects, some of which are displayed in the Retrofit 24 exhibition. These discussions will present the aims, challenges and outcomes of each project. The event format will also allow for dialogue between the panellists offering our attendees new insights into retrofit. We encourage audience participation during the Q&A portion of the evening and look forward to meeting you there.  

This session chaired by Mark Hosea of the Old Royal Naval College and will bring together experts who will detail their experience of retrofitting heritage buildings. Mark is joined by Alex McCallion from York Minster, Tom Billington of Oculus Management, Alex Scott-Whitby of ScottWhitbyStudio and Laura Baron of Purcell.  

The topic; the challenge of treading the line between acknowledging the historical significance of our heritage buildings whilst, recognising the need to bring these buildings into the 21st century and adapt them for modern use.
The panellists have considerable expertise where they have been met with this challenge, time and again.
 Join us for this session where the panellists will discuss the skills shortage specific to the heritage sector (i.e. masonry and stain glass workers), limited funds, the difference in aims among those who work on these buildings and the leadership needed when it comes to retrofitting heritage estates.  With a view to getting closer to resolving the above issues and answering ‘what happens next?’ in this session, the panellists will detail how the heritage sector can, and has been quietly leading the charge on reuse.  

  • Mark Hosea (Director of Estates- Old Royal Naval College) 
  • Laura Baron (Head of Sustainability- Purcell)
  • Tom Billington (Founding Director- Oculus Management) 
  • Alexander McCallion (Director of Works and Precinct- York Minster) 
  • Alex Scott- Whitby (Founder/ Director- ScottWhitbyStudio) 

Mark joined the Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) in February 2023 as Director of Estates and Conservation with over twenty years experience as a senior property professional working in both the private and charitable sectors. Mark provides strategic leadership for the ORNC conservation programme, ensuring excellence in the care and presentation of the building, grounds and collections. Mark is also planning and progressing the next series of major development projects across the estate 

Laura leads Purcell’s sustainability strategy and processes, driving innovation across the practice. She has worked on a range of projects from large-scale urban masterplans to historic sites. Laura participates in a number of initiatives, including LETI (London Energy Transformation Initiative) and she sits on the working group for the Skills for a Sustainable SkylineTaskforce, which is working to understand current barriers, identify solutions, and promote the green skills needed for our transition to net zero. She is also an active member of the Architects Climate Action Network (ACAN).  

Tom is a strategy and programme management professional, leading projects for complex clients with equally complex estates. He has extensive knowledge of built assets, having worked on contemporary buildings and large constructions whilst also having been accountable for the management and development of over 100 listed buildings and structures - including being responsible for the estates of 2 UNESCO world heritage sites.  He sits on several advisory boards and governing committees for organisations related to architecture and heritage as well as offering property and leadership advice to other charities.

Alexander oversees the maintenance, restoration and conservation of the cathedral and its 52 precinct properties and services. He led the development of a masterplan for the Precinct, brought forward as a Neighbourhood Plan and adopted by City of York Council as part of the Development Plan for the city in 2022. Alexander is passionate about the heritage of the United Kingdom and is driving the sustainability agenda in heritage adaptation through his pioneering work.  

Alex founded ScottWhitbyStudio in 2014 with a desire to work with communities and cultural organisations in the creation of evocative architecture with a low environmental impact. The work of ScottWhitbyStudio has won awards nationally and internationally, including the British Construction Industry Awards’ Project of the Year 2023, the RIBA Journal MacEwan Award, and a Dezeen Award for Rebirth of the Year in 2022.  Alex is an Associate Professor of Architecture at Kingston University and he also holds a visiting faculty position at the Berlin International University of Applied Science. 


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