Realising purpose in run down materials

  •   28 September 2021

By adaptively reusing and refurbishing materials and products when initiating a refresh on a project, we are able to minimise the environmental impacts associated with new projects. Architects who look to salvage materials among dilapidated and run-down buildings, in an attempt to retain character, reduce emissions and help ensure a project remains within the margins of the budget provided.

The 2021 Sustainability Awards category of Best Adaptive Reuse aims to showcase and champion the projects and architects that salvage materials from a project, to transform them into a contemporary context. Put simply, the category recognises the adaptive reuse of a building (heritage and/or new) that has minimal impact on the historical significance of the building and its setting, while also pursuing a design that is sympathetic to the building in order to give it a new purpose.

The Sustainability Awards jury, tasked with finding the winners for each of the 14 categories, looks for a project that is innovative and functional within the Best Adaptive Reuse category. Architects that have displayed their expertise in crafting the project typically rate highly within the category, with those who have displayed the use of sustainable design principles rightly rewarded for their efforts.

Havwoods is the proud sponsor of the Best Adaptive Reuse category. Brent Calow, the timber flooring company’s Strategic Accounts Manager says the awards itself embody much of what Havwoods is about.

“For us, this (the Sustainability Awards) is Havwoods. We’re hard-wired into sustainability and being a part of the Sustainability Awards is one of the expressions of our commitments in this space,” he says.

“The awards are incredibly important because they promote sustainability amongst industry professionals and encourage exciting innovation. It’s a fantastic initiative in terms of advancing awareness around sustainability and positioning it front of mind, which is vital particularly now that COVID-19 has amplified how the built environment responds or reflects what people do – and their lives moving forward. Sustainability is something that’s very powerful in that context.”

Jessica Hall, Havwoods’ Digital Marketing Manager, says the adaptively reusing materials is at the core of sustainability.

“It is our honour to sponsor the Best Adaptive Reuse category as it represents sustainability at its peak. Not simply using sustainable methods to build new, but looking into how to repurpose and renew existing materials and structures. Breathing new life into old things is the ultimate form of sustainability, much like our reclaimed timber flooring which is repurposed from old buildings that would otherwise be left to rot,” she says.

“We also recognise and respect big picture thinking, taking into account past, present and future functionality and sustainability as a whole, as Havwoods also consider these integral to our own business and the future of our communities and planet.”

With the 2021 Sustainability Awards only a few weeks away, Architecture & Design has announced the shortlist for each category. Please find the Best Adaptive Reuse shortlist below.

Clifton Hill House
Winter Architecture

Goodman Headquarters – The Hayesbery
Intermain with Woods Bagot

nettletontribe Brisbane studio

Newman Heritage House
Peter and Jan Newman with Gerard McCann

Mirvac with Grimshaw Architects & Carr

Smart Design Studio
Smart Design Studio


The winner of the Best Adaptive Reuse category, along with the other 13 categories at the Sustainability Awards will be announced at a ceremony in Sydney in November later this year, along with the Sustainability Summit. For more information regarding both the awards and summit, visit


This article is brought to you in association with Havwoods, Proud Sponsors of the Best Adaptive Reuse category at the 2021 Sustainability Awards.