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Preserving historical buildings: the most sustainable thing is not to build new stuff

Making heritage buildings sustainable is just as important as preserving their history – and they can offer energy-efficiency lessons of their own

  • Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore
  • The Guardian

After grinding grain since 1897, Sydney’s Crago Flour Mill finally cranked to a halt in the mid 80s. Over the years, this handsome industrial Newtown site became rundown, a dusty labyrinth of rooms sprawled over four buildings.

Given the job in 2008 of transforming the mill into 47 strata studios, architects Allen Jack+Cottier (AJ+C) made a strategic decision. By refusing to tear down the structure, they saved an estimated 21,000 tonnes of…

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