How can we make old houses new? RIBA symposium explores the challenges of retrofitting

Despite the desperate housing shortage, the vast majority of homes the British population will be living in 50 years from now have already been built. With this context in mind, alongside the introduction of the Government’s Green Deal aimed at reducing the nation’s carbon footprint, the refurbishment potential of our existing housing stock should present a great opportunity for architects.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the programme for its annual research symposium on Thursday 4 October 2012 at 66 Portland Place, London W1. The one day ‘Home Truths’ symposium will look in-depth at the challenges of retrofitting including design quality, sustainability and conservation.

Speakers will include:

  • Jeremy Watson, Chief Scientific Adviser, DCLG – the Government’s expert on the ‘nudge’ theory will address the symposium on new and innovative ways of creating behaviour change amongst consumers
  • Marion Baeli, Paul Davies and Partners – explaining how the UK’s first retrofit project to achieve the PassivHaus standard was achieved
  • Andy von Bradsky, PRP Architects – explaining how conservation was taken into account on the sustainable retrofit of an iconic listed modernist building
  • Robin Nicolson, Edward Cullinan Architects – discussing the multi-million pound CALEBRE (Consumer-Appealing Low Energy technologies for Building REtrofitting) research project and what the findings mean for architects

Chair of the RIBA Research and Innovation Group, Professor Murray Fraser said:

'Due to the prolonged recession and continuing decline in housebuilding in Britain, there is an urgent need to rethink how we can reuse our existing building stock to provide socially and environmentally sustainable homes. I’m looking forward to this year's RIBA Research Symposium bringing together leading figures in the field to discuss creative strategies for housing reuse.'

Places are limited, to book online and for more information please visit


Notes to editors

  • For further press information contact Howard Crosskey in the RIBA Press Office: 020 7307 3761
  • Ticket prices (VAT, lunch included) are: RIBA Members £96, Students £30 and Non-members £120
  • For more information on the event please email
  • The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members. Visit and follow us on Twitter for regular updates all things architecture