The Sustainability Sessions are a new series of talks that explore aspects of sustainability in the built environment. The first series will celebrate retrofit projects that aim to reduce carbon emissions while giving existing buildings new life.
The first project of the series is the Yorkton Workshops retrofit. The project is presented by engineer Peter Laidler, of Structure Workshop, and architect and contractor Cassion Castle, of Cassion Castle Architects, who designed the project in close collaboration with the client, design firm Pearson Lloyd.
The project involved the transformation of a series of dilapidated warehouse buildings in Hackney into a new home for the client, comprising workshops, studios, meeting and event spaces. It was decided early on in the design process to retain the existing buildings, instead of demolishing and reconstructing.
Considered structural interventions, combined with detailed back-analysis of the existing steel frame, allowed much of the original structure to be saved. This retrofit approach resulted in a considerable reduction in embodied carbon. The structural embodied carbon, from cradle to grave, was calculated to be kgCO2e/m2 – approximately one third of the embodied carbon of an equivalent new build. This was calculated using Structure Workshop's Carbon Calculator, developed inhouse by Eugenie Sentucq.
Yorkton Workshops received the Architect’s Journal Retrofit of the Year Award 2021.
About Peter Laidler
Peter is the founder and director of the engineering design studio Structure Workshop.
Since its inception in 2004 the company has worked with many award-winning architects and designers and has developed a flexible and collaborative approach based on technical excellence, material innovation and low carbon outcomes.
In response to the climate emergency the practice is committed to minimising upfront carbon and maximising material utilisation in structural design, as well as encouraging retrofit and re-use wherever the opportunity arises.
About Cassion Castle
Cassion graduated from the RCA in 1999 and qualified as an architect in 2001. He founded Cassion Castle Architects in 2006.
Based in North London, the practice specialises in retrofit projects and one-off new-builds and has received numerous awards and accolades over the years. In particular, their recent project ‘Yorkton Workshops’ was awarded ‘Retrofit of the Year 2021’ by The Architect’s Journal. The practice is unusual in that they have an in-house construction team which often performs the role of main contractors on many of their projects.