BOOK NOW | Working with Heritage: Uniting built and social heritage through adaptive reuse

In-person and online – 6 x Friday PM (2pm-5pm) – Every Friday from 12 January 2024 (16 Feb session moved to 23 Feb due to half term) – £750

Led by Dr Alan Chandler (UEL, Arts Lettres Techniques, and co-author of The Production of Heritage: The Politicisation of Architectural Conservation (Routledge, 2019)) and Esther Robinson Wild (heritage consultant with a background in real estate finance)

Formally recognised by:


“The London School of Architecture’s Part 4 programme provides exactly the kind of support that the profession needs to respond to the most urgent issues facing our cities. I am delighted to see this innovative professional development programme focus on the issues that practitioners in London are grappling with including inclusion and social value, fire safety and community heritage. Ultimately upskilling the sector on these matters is going to lead to a built environment that better serves Londoners.”

Jules Pipe CBE, Deputy Mayor



Climate emergency requires us to work with existing fabric; our sector is rightly moving away from seeing old buildings as a hindrance, away from carbon-wasting demolition and towards adaptive reuse, resilience and holistic retrofit.

As a growing business in a testing economic context, you also need to diversify your output. You may however find yourself locked out of public and cultural projects because of overly restrictive procurement processes.

Equally, there are different types of investment, including social investment, diversifying the funding landscape for projects. And there are numerous contemporary trends and challenges affecting community-led and heritage-led projects – from asset transfer to the diverse needs of local communities and green industrial strategy.

Our response is a course – produced in collaboration with the Architectural Heritage Fund and recognised by both the RIBA Conservation Register (as evidence to support an application to the Register at Conservation Registrant level) and the Institute for Historic Building Conservation – that challenges you to think about sustainable heritage, the historic built environment and places as containing opportunities for new thinking, arming you with a progressive and relevant business strategy and the core knowledge and skills to work with historic buildings while engaging with local communities.




What will I get from this course?

  • Developing a specialism: You will undertake a series of interlinked design exercises preparing you for an application to the RIBA Conservation Register (Conservation Registrant).
  • Business development: We will guide you through business strategy exercises providing you with a clear roadmap to diversify your business, including how to leverage social enterprise collaborations to progress public projects.
  • Understanding the mind of the funder: You will be exposed to different funding and development models through dedicated bid-writing workshops, with bids reviewed by guest contributors currently working in a diverse range of funding environments.
  • Holistic heritage: Leave armed with resources to keep you abreast of relevant policy and guidance, techniques to make more robust methods of co-design and co-production as well as carbon analysis tools that ensure conservation is wedded to environmental and social sustainability.
  • Cases and contacts: Engage with a wealth of case studies drawn from the Architectural Heritage Fund’s exceptional near-fifty-year record of social investment and community wealth building, and gain access to their extensive network of contacts.



Course context

We’re all conservation architects now. Heritage is no longer a dirty word in architecture and development. In a time of planetary crisis, communities and practices must work ever closer towards the goal of strengthening resilience by working with what we have.

Heritage-led and community-led regeneration projects across the UK present not only a focus of this resilience-building but, as the growing market in building reuse and retrofit shows, a tangible and immediate business development opportunity for practices through a recalibrated approach to the existing built environment.

New sets of skills are required to address this commercial, as well as social, imperative in practice: skills that will allow for the development of truly sustainable projects; that provide deeper and more urgent consideration of how work is reoriented ever closer to the intersection of our social and built heritage; and skills that will give their practices the confidence to address how they better serve as role models positively influencing informed, fair and ethical choices over the projects, project teams and supply chains with which they engage.

Designed in collaboration with the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF), this course brings together designers, social entrepreneurs, communities, clients and policy-makers around a common goal of arming practice with the knowledge and means to unite built and social heritage through business development, co-design and a place-based methodological approach to development.

Course format and objectives

The design-led course – spread over six half-day sessions – asks participants to engage in a series of collaborative exercises that apply the contextual knowledge gained through talks, workshops and peer-to-peer engagement.

Design exercises will use scenarios based on real world projects from the nearly 50 years’ experience of the AHF, and will come together to form a suite of tools, including a business development strategy, design portfolio and place-based analytical methodology, that can be adapted and applied across practice in order to successfully compete for work on heritage projects in the future.

Learning is led by Dr Alan Chandler (UEL, Arts Lettres Techniques, and co-author of The Production of Heritage (Routledge, 2019)) and Esther Robinson Wild (a heritage consultant with a background in real estate finance), and is informed by the latest socio-economic and design thinking in relation to community wealth-building and architectural practice.

Participants also emerge with both a renewed sense of their practices’ social purpose and the tools they need to embed this greater social purpose at the heart of their business’s strategy.

Week-by-week outline

  1. Understanding – Fri 12 Jan – In-person
    • Architecture for social purpose
    • Social heritage and community use
    • The range of organisations and uses now utilising historic buildings
    • The environmental case for sustainable and regenerative adaptive reuse of heritage assets
    • Radical conceptions of the ‘local’ and local economy
    • The intersection of tangible and intangible heritage
    • Governing frameworks and regulations and overarching theories and approaches
  2. Opportunities – Fri 19 Jan – Online
    • Cultural heritage management, heritage- and community-led regeneration
    • New methods for business development and developed skills in contributing to bid-writing, funding, and business-planning for heritage-led regeneration projects
    • Exploring how to assess business opportunities in heritage-led regeneration, the not-for-profit sector and the policy drivers behind place-based initiatives
    • Building and expanding your network with other practices, consultants and organisations interested in and operating in this field
    • Asset Transfer – whys, and wherefores
    • Introduction to potential client base including Building Preservation Trusts, social enterprises and Heritage Development Trusts
    • Introduction to the not-for-profit sector and local economic development outside London (using AHF projects as examples)
    • Social impact and the benefits of community and heritage-led regeneration including achieving architect practices’ ESG goals
    • Introduction to the funding landscape
  3. Analysis and business development – Fri 26 Jan – In-person
    • Working with communities, assessing viability and feasibility, thinking about climate and social sustainability in unison
    • Community and local area economic and social needs research, moving beyond cliches of community use, thinking progressively about a balanced and diverse local economy (including circular economy), using participatory and consultative methods
    • Business planning considerations including funding and grant-application workshops
  4. Solutions – Fri 02 Feb – In-person
    • Co-design, critical heritage, and brief-forming
    • Methods of adaptive reuse and radical conservation
    • Modular methods for adaptation
    • Trade-offs in the reuse of buildings
    • Engaging with stakeholders
    • Understanding what you’re working with
    • Understand a ‘higher threshold’ for inclusion, engagement co-design
  5. Funding – Fri 09 Feb – Online
    • Preparing feasibility studies
    • Small budgets with project delivered affordably
    • Financing options including social investment
    • Delivering good projects on small budgets
    • Other funding opportunities or financial off-setting through social value
  6. Project – Fri 23 Feb – In-person
    • Review of business development strategies
    • Review of design projects
    • Introducing our work as a stepping stone to public procurement frameworks

Course contributors and advisors

Led by:

Supported by:

General information

  • The course runs for over six half-day sessions in a hybrid format (with some weeks in-person and some weeks online), every Friday afternoon 2pm-5pm from Friday 12 January 2024
  • In-person weeks will be held at the LSA’s premises: 4 Beechwood Rd, Dalston, London E8 3DY
  • The teaching format for each week (in-person versus online) will be confirmed with participants by no later than the end of November
  • To ensure high contact, we’re recruiting a small cohort of no more than 30 – spaces are very limited
  • The course cost is £750 per participant




Get in touch about the course

Are you keen to learn more about Working with Heritage and the Part 4 programme, or would you like to schedule a call with the Part 4 team before making a booking?

Please share your details below and we’ll be in touch (we aim to respond within 48 hours Monday to Friday). You can also reach out to us by email on

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