Adding balconies to public housing towers – the precedent

Chatting to architect friend Steffen Welsch from Steffen Welsch Architects we both raised the inspiring work of Lacaton and Vassal in France to revitalise housing commission towers, without the huge embodied carbon cost (see images here by Philppe Rualt and design image by Latacon and Vassal, Druot + Hutin). As ESD and Waste consultants who regularly complete demolition and construction waste management plans we know there is a path to recycle >80% of materials, but there is also a lot of energy to demolish and reconstruct. Prima facie demolition does not appear the low carbon answer we should be looking for.

The answer, assuming the towers are still structurally sound, can be adding self supported structural balconies to the outside of the towers, punching out some window openings to install sliding doors, rendering pebblecrete walls, refurbishing the apartments. We hope this has been properly considered by the state government.

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