I wrote about external cladding yesterday on our blog and forgot to mention the positive effect a refurbishment of this sort can have on a place. This kind of project can revitalise an area and contribute considerable to local attitudes about public spaces.
These are images of the Leicester Mercury Building (newspaper) in my home town of Leicester (obviously) which it was argued should have been pulled down and an alternative building built in its place.
It was a brilliant kick start to regenerating the area and i think most will agree it is a fantastic looking building now.
One of my favorite buildings in its current guise, although I did kind of like the old building as well.
There is a lot of bad press regarding external building cladding in the news at the moment, and justifiable so. The tragic events at Grenfell Tower in London, just over two weeks ago, were truly shocking and although we are only at the early stages in the the investigation it would appear that the external cladding helped the fire to spread quickly on the outside of the building and encase the helpless occupants.
My only hope is that we don’t give up on the idea of external cladding (or high rise living) as a knee-jerk reaction to these events but instead we learn from this tragedy and a much safer solution evolves.
External cladding isn’t a bad idea, it obviously needs to be vastly improved in terms of fire rather than simply concentrating on insulation, it has so much going for it. Cladding a building externally helps reduce disruption to occupants (very important in a place like London), maintains floor area and is much more cost effective than stripping out an existing interior to line the inner walls. It isn’t ideal but there must be a way to resolve the risks.
Our hearts go out to those effected by the fire and we hope all the survivors find permanent and suitable homes as soon as possible.