R2 Companies and Gensler have teamed up to revitalize the Milwaukee Post Office building and convert it into a mixed-use destination with retail and an activated riverfront arcade. The master plan aims to transform the brutalist building, which is one of Milwaukee's largest and most iconic, by carefully considering the existing site and accordingly defining an identity for Milwaukee's downtown.
LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architecture) has won the competition to redesign an energy park and energy storage building in Heidelberg, Germany, for the Stadtwerke Heidelberg. Currently a cylindrically shaped storage center, the space will be transformed into a dynamic sculpture, city icon, and knowledge hub for sustainable energy, fully accessible to the public with city views.
In order to display the concepts of energy transition, decentralization, networking, flexibility and adaptability, the project will feature a multi-layered façade structure inspired by geometries in nature like leaves, spider webs, and reptile skins. “The result is a dynamic, ever-changing surface of light and shadow, animated by wind, turning the building into a beacon of a dynamic new energy regime.”
Büro Ziyu Zhuang and RSAA have released images of Kunststilo, their proposal for the Tangen Collection and Sørlandets Kunstmuseum in Kristiansand, Norway. The design is centered around a historical grain silo, simultaneously preserving, modifying, and adding to the existing site.
The design carves a curved void into the concrete silo, producing a shelter for visitors and revealing the form within. The circulation then follows the former path of the grain through a new structure on the eastern side envisioned as an open box with an industrial glass envelope. The extension of the silo, new volumes, and adjacent canal produce a new plaza that spans the length of the silo.
Affordable Pocket Apartments on Site of Former Office Building Secure Planning Permission in England
Gort Scott, in collaboration with developer Pocket Living, has secured planning permission to build 45 affordable “Pocket” apartments on the site of an unused office building in Walthamstow, England. In an effort to produce highly-sought-after living space in the heart of the city, the design features three- and four-story elements that complete the terrace in the rear of the existing building, filling the gap between neighboring developments.
Inspired by the legacy of the William Morris School that previously occupied the site, as well as by the Warner Houses typical to the city, the exterior of the project will be characterized by a decorative fletton type red brick and precast concrete.
Architecture Research Office and FilzFelt have teamed up to create ARO Block, a series of modular acoustic tiles that provide sound control in a customizable, easy-to-install system. Generated from remnant material of FilzFelt’s CNC cut products, which are often times small, ARO Block not only creates distinct felt tile patterns but also prevents leftover fabric from going to waste.
Through Raise/Raze, the firm reused plastic balls from Snarkitecture’s “The Beach” at the National Building Museum to create an installation in DC’s Dupont Underground, a contemporary arts and culture space repurposed from an abandoned trolley station. Raise/Raze opened on April 30, and closed on June 1.
Located at the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, New York, Sticks is a multi-purpose pavilion space made of standard dimension lumber and accented with scrap wood found on-site. The pavilion opened on July 9, and will close December 31.
Concealed behind an 18th century Baroque façade in Strasbourg’s Place Kléber, the Café L’Aubette is a dazzlingly incongruous expression of the 1920s De Stijl movement. Designed by Theo van Doesburg, one of the movement’s founders and leading lights, the Aubette’s minimalist, geometric aesthetic was heavily influenced by the work of contemporary artists such as Piet Mondrian. In designing the café’s interiors, Van Doesburg sought to do more than simply place viewers before a painting; he wanted to envelop them in it.
RDH Architects has unveiled the plans for its Old Post Office Idea Exchange, a restoration project in Cambridge, Canada. The post office project will completely restore the existing historic building and transform it into a new space through the use of new glass additions that will increase usable space and improve accessibility.
The public of Plovdiv, and of Bulgaria, woke up on Monday the 7th March—after their national holiday celebration—with a national cultural monument and a key piece of the city's identity on the ground in pieces. The building was one of the standout structures of “Tobacco Town”—a complex of former tobacco industry warehouses. The demolition by its owners began despite a promise made by Mayor Ivan Totev in September that the entire complex would be renovated as an urban art zone as part of the preparations for Plovdiv European Capital of Culture 2019.
Plovdiv, a city in the south of Bulgaria with its 7 hills, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe. The Thracians, Romans, and Ottomans all employed its strategic location, and today it is Bulgaria’s second largest city. The title of cultural capital is well deserved, and perhaps even well overdue. With its arrival, there was hope that major parts of the city's history lying in disrepair may finally have a standing chance, and then this… another building, gone.
Everybody's heart is heavy. They are in disbelief. The questions are the same as the ones that have been asked many times before: “How did this happen?” “Who did this?”
After built structures become disused or abandoned, adaptive reuse can be the perfect way to breathe new life into an old building, while conserving resources and historic value. Whether due to environmental reasons, land availability or the desire to conserve a historic landmark, countless architectural firms worldwide are turning to adaptive reuse as a solution to some of the modern problems of the built environment.
With this in mind, we have compiled a list of 20 creative adaptive reuse projects, each of which utilizes an old structure to create a revitalized form in its own distinct way.
See how a former chapel, water tower and 19th century slaughterhouse were transformed and given new life, after the break.
An image of Ismael Levya Architects' transformation of a six-story parking garage in New York City's Upper East Side has been revealed. The project, already under construction, will expand the structure into a 19-story residential tower that will house 56 luxury apartments. Described as a "lantern," the 210-foot-tall building was designed as "four distinct townhouse volumes with metal and glass."
As an idea that was developed fairly early on in the movement for sustainability, and picked up significant traction a few years into the new millennium, "Design for Deconstruction" has been around for some years. Yet still, considered on the scale of building lifespans, the idea is still in its infancy, with few opportunities to test its principles. In this post originally published on Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Recycled Buildings or Bridges? Designing for Deconstruction Beyond Adaptive Reuse," Timothy A Schuler looks at the advances that have been made, and the challenges that still face, the design for deconstruction movement.
This summer, the Oakland Museum of California announced a new public arts grant program. Except instead of money, selected artists would receive steel. Tons of it.
The Bay Bridge Steel Program emerged out of a desire to salvage and repurpose the metal that once made up the eastern span of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge, originally constructed in 1933 (it was replaced in 2013). The steel in question, sourced from “spans referred to as ‘504s’ and ‘288s’ (in reference to their length in feet),” according to the application material, would be available for civic and public art projects within the state of California.
The program represents a unique opportunity to adaptively reuse infrastructure, upcycling what might have been waste. And yet any instance of adaptive reuse is inherently reactive because the design process is dictated by an existing condition.
Anish Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower in London will soon host the world's tallest and longest tunnel slide. The 114-meter-tall tower, already the UK's tallest sculpture, was originally built for the 2012 London Olympics. As the Metro reports, the semi-transparent stainless steel tube slide will start its descent 80-meters above ground within the structure's infamous lattice work, spiraling five times before embarking on a final 50-meter drop. Rides will last 37 seconds and cost just £5 a ride.
The Royal Institute of British Architects, together with the Lancashire City Council, has unveiled five proposals seeking to transform the once at-risk Preston Bus Station into a new public space and youth center. Each design was selected from 100 entries submitted via an international design competition focused on preserving the historic structure's Brutalist nature.
The anticipated £13 million plan is a major step forwarded considering the 1960s station, now a Grade II listed building, was recently slated for demolition. The adaptive reuse efforts are a result of a successful, international preservation campaign that secured a second life for the iconic structure.
Hawkins\Brown has been chosen to design the new School of Architecture for the University of Reading in Reading, Berkshire, in the United Kingdom. The new School “will be housed in a retrofitted 1970’s concrete brutalist building originally designed by Howell, Killick, Partridge & Amis,” which is currently the University’s School of Construction Management and Engineering. Brutalist buildings, like the Prentice Women’s Hospital and the Preston Bus Station are continuously at risk of being demolished, which makes this retrofit all the more valuable. While the University seeks to modernize the building and improve efficiency, they also plan to respect the original design. Construction is set to begin in January 2017 and wrap up by December 2018. Learn more about the project here.
We are rapidly running out of old warehouse buildings to renovate, and selling space in the glassy towers of the central business district is difficult as corporate buildings become less and less attractive. We need a new building that is attractive to companies who cut their teeth in co-working incubators before seeking their own digs.
We are a society obsessed with the new. We want to look eternally young, drive the latest car, wear runway-fresh clothes and have up-to-the-minute technology at our fingertips. We do not care if the battery in our phones cannot be changed, because we are happy to simply get a newer phone. The American pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness is a glittering glare of polish and gloss, all sparkling and new.
That is, unless we’re talking architecture.
Prisons are often seen as problematic for their local communities. After centuries of correctional facilities discouraging economic growth and occupying valuable real estate as a necessary component of towns and cities, many of these institutions have been relocated away from city centers and their abandoned vestiges are left as unpleasant reminders of their former use. In fact, the majority of prisons built in the United States since 1980 have been placed in non-metropolitan areas and once served as a substantial economic development strategy in depressed rural communities.  However, a new pressure is about to emerge on the US prison systems: beginning in 2010, America's prison population declined for the first time in decades, suggesting that in the near future repurposing these structures will become a particularly relevant endeavor for both community development and economic sustainability. These abandoned shells offer architects valuable opportunities to reimagine programmatic functions and transform an otherwise problematic location into an integral neighborhood space.
Why repurpose prisons rather than starting fresh? The answer to this question lies in the inherent architectural features of the prison typology, namely the fact that these structures are built to last. People also often forget that prison buildings are not limited to low-rise secure housing units - in fact, prisons feature an array of spaces that have great potential for reuse including buildings for light industrial activity, training or office buildings, low-security housing, and large outdoor spaces. These elements offer a wide variety of real estate for new programmatic uses, and cities around the world have begun to discover their potential. What could the US learn from these examples, at home and overseas?