Conservation in action

31 Mar 2011

Building better communities through the regeneration of existing architecture

Architecture embodies an intent to improve lives. John McAslan + Partners (JMP) believe that placemaking and the resourcefulness of regeneration profoundly impacts individuals and communities.

They recognise it as an indiscriminate tool for social, economic and urban development. Their projects cross sectors, economies and cultures, demonstrating the integral role regeneration plays in re-vitalising architecture and communities in the 21st century.

In Moscow, the rich histories of the Stanislavsky Factory warranted a regenerative approach to retain the character and cultural significance of the site. Having been the site of Alesayev's gold and silver thread factory, and later, replanned as cable and filament factories and the Moscow Arts Theatre, this regeneration demanded the site's decontamination and a mixture of restoration and newbuild, transforming existing buildings into offices, apartments, a museum and hotel.

The theatre is again a venue for avant-garde productions and the Stanislavsky Factory has become the first 21st-century regenerative precedent in Moscow. By contrast, renewal is commonplace but often more demanding in London. Here, the challenge presented by the King’s Cross Station Redevelopment is to not only to reignite a building's original ethos, but to forecast the city's evolution.

The combination of the new western concourse and the refurbishment of the mid 19th-century main trainshed retains the station’s landmark status while facilitating the growth potential of this world-class transportation interchange. Beyond sustaining itself well into the future as a travel hub, the station’s successful transformation has fuelled nearby regeneration schemes.

JMP is also making significant contributions to the Musheireb Heart of Doha project, the world's first sustainable downtown regeneration which will transform the capital’s historical downtown into the vibrant and cohesive city centre it once was. JMP's projects within the scheme, including a Cultural Forum, hotels, mosque, school and apartments, endeavour to be contemporary, signalling the country’s considerable development, while being considerate of Qatari heritage.

One year after Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, JMP and a multidisciplinary team resurrected the destroyed Iron Market, Port-au-Prince, the social, economic and cultural hub of the country’s capital. Its conservation involved hundreds of local artisans, impacting not only the 700 vendors utilising the market stalls, but the entire community.

Having realised regeneration projects, unique in place and solution, John McAslan + Partners believe regeneration is applicable to communities around the world. It is the regeneration of existing architecture that breathes new life into a community while maintaining its identity in the 21st century.

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team