Book explores how to breathe new life into old buildings

The aesthetic benefits of marrying old buildings with good architectural design are being celebrated in a new book from RIBA Publishing.

New Design for Old Buildings, co-authored by award winning writer Roger Hunt and the chairman of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), Iain Boyd, with a foreword by Kevin McCloud, explores how effective contemporary design can give new life to old buildings. It encourages a more radical approach to new design when working in the historic environment.

The SPAB has long embraced impressive and respectful new design that is clearly of its time and readable as such. In the context of urban regeneration projects and a renewed focus on sustainability in the built environment, the need for good design in old buildings is as pressing and essential as ever before.

Setting out practical thinking regarding the sensitive coupling of the new and the old in architecture, the book promises to be essential reading for anyone with an involvement and investment in adapting old buildings for future use. From building owner, architect and designer to planner and contractor, New Design for Old Buildings outlines ways of achieving aesthetically pleasing, practical and thoughtful design in a way that avoids pastiche.

Matthew Slocombe, Director of the SPAB, comments: “The SPAB approach encourages appreciation and maintenance of old buildings. Sometimes, to ensure continuing care and use, sensitive change is needed. New Design for Old Buildings sets out the Society’s ideas and offers a range of successful examples that include domestic, commercial, religious and other buildings.”

“We hope that those who read the book will be emboldened and gain a greater understanding that good new design is essential to ensuring the life and sustainability of old buildings,” said co-author, Roger Hunt. “Our aim is to guide readers and help them appreciate that introducing good design in the historic context relies on understanding, respect, good manners and skill but is immensely rewarding, as demonstrated by the diverse projects we feature.”

Copies of the book will be available from the RIBA Bookshop in October.