Coal Drops Yard: example of retrofit; Coal Drops Yard: example of retrofit;

Building retrofit

Transform and reuse - low carbon futures for existing buildings

Transform and reuse - low carbon futures for existing buildings

The built environment is a major contributor to the environmental pressures our world is facing. The retrofit of existing buildings is crucial to support our path to meeting net-zero carbon targets. Together, we can transform and reuse existing buildings wherever possible, innovating and collaborating, to shape a better future for generations to come.

Along with environmental benefits, the commercial and social returns of transforming and reusing existing buildings are also clear. It often proves far more cost-effective for clients than demolishing and reconstructing, creating characterful places for occupiers whilst preserving heritage value for communities.

Arup’s experience spans over 70 years and thousands of reuse projects. During this time, we have worked with incredible clients to deliver award-winning buildings, often recognised for their remarkable sustainable credentials.

Given that 87% of today's buildings will still be occupied in 2050, transform-and-reuse projects have a key role to play in the decarbonisation of the built environment. Our expertise enables us to transform and reuse buildings in exciting and sustainable ways. ”

Paula Walsh Paula Walsh Global Property Leader

Adaptive reuse

Repurposing buildings that is the sustainable way to meet new needs and purposes. The careful repair and creative adaption of protected buildings celebrates their distinctive historical and cultural features that makes them special. We carefully consider each development phase to sympathetically adapt existing structures whilst enhancing performance and functionality. This includes turning ageing offices into flexible workspaces, derelict yards into shopping districts and industrial structures into homes, as well as extending the life of historic buildings and upgrading their performance.

Tai Kwun - Centre for Heritage and Arts


Tai Kwun - Centre for Heritage and Arts

Tai Kwun – Centre for Heritage and Arts is Hong Kong’s largest ever historic building revitalisation project. We are transforming the city’s former Central Police Station compound, with its 170 years of history, into a new art and cultural centre.

Find out more about our work on Tai Kwun

Accident Fund Headquarters


Accident Fund Headquarters

At Accident Fund, Lansing in the USA we transformed a former power station into Grade A offices, to create a modern yet culturally distinct environment that addressed the clients desire for an efficient working environment that retained a sense of place.

Find out more about our work on Accident Fund Headquarters

Expansive reuse

Another approach is to upgrade and add new space to existing buildings in creative ways, to maximise their value. Creating new basements or adding storeys to an existing building can deliver transformative outcomes.

We are updating 1 Triton Square in London, UK, delivering twice as much office space and a BREEAM Outstanding sustainability rating, all while retaining facades and superstructure. Through sustainability innovations and the reuse of existing structure and fabric, we have saved more carbon in design and construction than the building will produce in operation for over 40 years.

Explore our work on 1 Triton Square

Proactive reuse

When buildings require repairs, upgrades can unlock new possibilities. We help clients to upgrade buildings systems, incorporate new technologies, as well as repair or replace areas that are in poor condition.

At the University of Leicester’s Engineering Building, an internationally-renowned piece of twentieth-century architecture, our heritage specialists replaced the striking translucent roof and facade areas and refurbished and upgraded the existing building services to create an environment for students to thrive and be inspired. We are now advising the university on the future conservation of the whole building, guarding its unique design while managing how it adapts to the ever-changing nature of higher education.

Learn more about our work

At the Grand Hotel in Birmingham, UK, we saved a protected Victorian building from demolition and unlocked its commercial future. We oversaw the wholesale traditional conservation of its ornate stone facade, allowing the building to be brought back to life as a prestigious city-centre hotel.

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Explore some our most iconic projects

Your partner throughout the project

We work with a wide range of clients from the project creation and concept design stages, through to inspection, the development of maintenance plans and complete renovations. Whatever the building or asset, we can successfully repair, reconstruct, refurbish, reconfigure, reinvigorate and restore value. And clients gain the benefit of the wider Arup network of relevant technical specialists – meaning we can respond to your project’s specific needs.

  • Structure and façade investigations, material testing, appraisals, structural and seismic retrofit and alterations, vibration analysis and remediation, reviews and improvements to acoustic performance

  • Assessments and upgrading building services, energy efficiency, service life prediction, return on investment studies, MEP system condition surveys, building physics upgrade, smoke modelling, CFD analysis, fire safety evaluations and system design

  • Heritage consultancy and conservation architecture

  • Pedestrian flow modelling, 3D scanning and BIM modelling of existing spaces

  • Building maintenance and facilities management, technical due diligence (TDD and EDD), portfolio analysis of building performance and efficiency

Explore our work

Talk to our experts

You can access our Building Retrofit services through regional consultants around the world.