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AJ's RetroFirst campaign now backed by more than 100 practices

Retrofirst demands all
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The AJ’s Retrofirst campaign now boasts 129 signatories, with John McAslan + Partners, Piercy & Co and ShedKM among the latest backers

RetroFirst, which was launched at the AJ’s annual Retrofit Awards in September, calls for government action to encourage greater use of retrofit and refurbishment in three key areas: VAT/tax, procurement and policy.

The campaign responds directly to the climate emergency and the need to drastically cut carbon emissions over the next decade.

The built environment contributes around 40 per cent of UK carbon emissions but is heavily skewed towards demolition and new build. Retrofitting buildings usually results in significantly lower up-front emissions because of the embodied carbon in existing structures.

The RetroFirst campaign – which will be formally submitted to government in early 2020 – now has the support of 11 Stirling Prize-winning practices, including WilkinsonEyre, Alison Brooks Architects, Foster + Partners, RSHP and Haworth Tompkins.

Aidan Potter, a partner at John McAslan + Partners, said the practice believes its ‘most accomplished and awarded buildings’ are in the retrofit and adaptive re-use sector.

He said: ‘We have always felt working with and within the context of the established infrastructure is both highly sustainable and also fundamentally socially responsible in terms of respecting the implicit cultural history embedded in all buildings of all ages.

‘We cannot keep starting afresh and wasting the fragile resources of our environment. And, as the great urbanist Jane Jacobs memorably stated: ”Old buildings need new ideas”. A true test of genuine and responsible creativity is for architects to find these.’

Darren Jones, a Liverpool-based associate at ShedKM, said his practice questioned whether an existing building could be reused at the outset of every project.

He added: ’Reusing and repurposing existing buildings – often buildings that have been unused and unloved for years, if not decades – and finding innovative ways to bring them back into use is a challenge we particularly enjoy, and has led to some of our most successful and best-known buildings, including Fort Dunlop, Matchworks and Chimney Pot Park.’

Further Comments:

Chris Castle, managing director, EPR

’As architects, the buildings that we re-invent can make a huge impact on that goal, both in terms of sustainability and the identity of place…Perhaps just as important is the question; ‘what will my building become next?’ flexible, adaptable spaces will stand the test of time. We would like to see more support for retro-fit and for the Government to recognise, incentivise and financially reward re-use.’


How you can get involved

Follow the progress of RetroFirst using #retrofirst on social media
Contact us at retrofirst@emap.com to back the campaign

 Campaign supporters


  • 3D Reid
  • 5th Studio
  • 50.8 Architecture & Interiors
  • ADP Architecture
  • Alison Brooks Architects
  • Amos Goldreich Architecture
  • Andris Berzins + Associates
  • Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM)
  • Allies and Morrison
  • Architectural Emporium
  • Architecture Initiative
  • Architype
  • Assael Architecture
  • Assorted Skills + Talents*
  • AWW
  • Barr Gazetas
  • Belsize Architects
  • Ben Adams Architects
  • Bennetts Associates
  • Boano Prišmontas
  • Brimelow McSweeney Architects
  • Bryden Wood
  • BuckleyGrayYeoman
  • Buttress
  • Caruso St John Architects
  • Child Graddon Lewis
  • Chris Dyson Architects
  • Clare Nash Architecture
  • CMA
  • Connolly Wellingham Architects
  • Cousins and Cousins
  • Curl La Tourelle Head Architecture
  • Daria Wong Architects
  • Darling Associates
  • DarntonB3 Architecture
  • David Chipperfield Architects
  • DLG Architects
  • DNA Architecture
  • Donald Insall Associates
  • Downs Merrifield Architects
  • Dress for the Weather
  • dRMM 
  • ECD Architects
  • ECE Architecture
  • e-gg
  • EPR Architects
  • Featherstone Young
  • Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
  • Feix&Merlin
  • Foster + Partners
  • Freehaus
  • Gardner Stewart Architects
  • Gensler
  • Glenn Howells Architects
  • Gort Scott
  • gpad london
  • Grimshaw
  • Group Ginger
  • Heatherwick Studio
  • Henley Halebrown
  • Heritage Architecture
  • Hawkins\Brown
  • Haworth Tompkins
  • Hills & Co
  • Hopkins
  • HPA Architecture
  • HÛT
  • Hutchinson & Partners
  • Ian Ritchie Architects
  • Jestico + Whiles
  • John Robertson Architects
  • JTP
  • Kendall Kingscott
  • Knott Architects
  • LTS Architects
  • LYN Atelier
  • MAP Architecture
  • MawsonKerr Architects
  • MAX Architects
  • McMullan Studio
  • Mike Daubney Architects
  • Mikhail Riches `
  • Morrow + Lorraine Architects
  • Morse Webb Architects
  • MTBA Associates, Ottawa, Canada
  • Murphy Associates
  • Neu Architects
  • New Practice
  • Nicola de Quincey architecture + conservation
  • O’Donnell + Tuomey
  • Owen Ellis Architects
  • Page\Park Architects
  • Parkes Poole Architects
  • Paul Testa Architecture
  • PDP London
  • Peak Architects
  • Penoyre & Prasad
  • Piercy & Company Architects
  • PPIY Architects
  • Procter-Rihl
  • PRP
  • Purcell
  • Robert Dye Architects
  • Robert Rhodes Architecture + Interiors
  • Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
  • Sarah Wigglesworth Architects
  • Scott Brownrigg
  • ShedKM
  • Sow Space
  • Stephen Taylor Architects
  • Steve Ritchie Partnership
  • Simone de Gale Architects
  • Simpson & Brown
  • Square One Architects
  • Stiff + Trevillion Architects 
  • Studio Basheva
  • Studio Bednarski
  • Studio DuB
  • Studio Seilern Architects
  • Syndicate West Architects
  • Tate Hindle
  • Theis and Khan Architects
  • Tim Greatrex Architects 
  • Triangle Architects
  • Turn Architects
  • Type3 Studio
  • Ullmayer Sylvester Architects
  • Una Kaya Architects
  • Van Heyningen and Haward Architects
  • Whittaker Parsons
  • WilkinsonEyre
  • Witherford Watson Mann
  • Woodfield Brady Architects
  • Wren Architecture & Design
  • Zaha Hadid Architects


  • Clara Bagenal George, Elementa Consulting
  • Duncan Baker-Brown, BBM Sustainable Design
  • Hero Bennett, Max Fordham
  • Chris Cummings, technical director, Chapmanbdsp
  • Emma Dent Coad, former MP for Kensington
  • Loyd Grossman,  chairman of The Royal Parks
  • Kelly Harrison, Heyne Tillett Steele
  • Joe Holyoak, architect and urban designer
  • J. Jeffrey Keays, senior lecturer, school of architecture design & built environment, Nottingham Trent University
  • Walter Menteth, architect and procurement reform campaigner
  • Alice Moncaster, senior lecturer at School of Engineering and Innovation at The Open University
  • David Ness, adjunct professor at the School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia
  • Paul O’Neil, Bryden Wood
  • Clare Richards, ft’work
  • Simon Sturgis, Targeting Zero
  • James Traynor, ECD Architects 
  • Professor Peter Walker, director of architecture and digital design, University of Salford

Other organisations and companies

  • Anthropocene Architecture School
  • Architects’ Climate Action Network
  • Edinburgh World Heritage
  • FORE
  • Hearth Historic Buildings Trust
  • Historic Environment Scotland
  • London Waste & Recycling Board (LWARB)
  • RIBA
  • Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB)
  • Town & Country Planning Association (TCPA)
  • The Twentieth Century Society
  • The Victorian Society
  • UK Green Building Council

RetroFirst Logos 2019 3

RetroFirst Logos 2019 3


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