Reusing and regenerating industrial heritage

Kerry Boettcher
Thursday 07 May 2015

A shared common need to sympathetically revitalise old industrial buildings brings architects from the UK and China together in London for the UK–China Industrial Heritage Reuse and Regeneration Forum

The Building Centre in London hosted the UK–China Industrial Heritage Reuse and Regeneration Forum. The one-day Forum, part of a series of international forums in China and the UK, was organised by the London-based China Design Centre and China Building Centre Academy in Beijing, in response to the growing need in China to preserve their industrial heritage buildings. 

Due to China’s rapid growth, it has entered a new era of development. This in turn has meant that many cities are leaving behind large industrial buildings which are steeped in a rich cultural identity and history. This Forum aimed to gather decision-makers, developers, planners and architects from the UK and China to share knowledge and experience leading to an enlightened cultural path for city regeneration. 

As the UK also has a strong industrial heritage, with a great track record for coming up with innovative ways of reusing and regenerating them, there is a wealth of experience to be shared between the two countries. Leading experts, Peter Runacres, Senior Project Director at Argent Development Company, Jason Syrett, Director at Allies and Morrison, and John McAslan (CBE), Executive Chairman at John McAslan +Partners provided a unique insight into the King’s Cross Station regeneration project. Also, Eric Holding, Strategy Director at John Thompson & Partners, Jim Eyre (OBE), Director of Wilkinson Eyre Architects, spoke about the regeneration of the iconic Battersea Power Station. 

Assistant Dean of Jangho Architecture School, Wei Gu, spoke about the opportunities and challenges of industrial heritage in northeast China, and Professor Wenshang Wang, of Tongji University Architecture Design Institute gave a talk on re-using industrial buildings in Shanghai, giving examples such as the transformation of a power station into a contemporary art gallery. 

Afterwards a Chinese delegation took a seven-day tour of some of the UK’s key regeneration projects in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. 

A free exhibition showcasing regeneration projects in the UK and China will be open until 9 May at the China Design Centre gallery. 

For more information on the China Design Centre and other events, please visit:


Kerry Boettcher

News editor

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United Kingdom
Urban design

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