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Adaptive Reuse: The Latest Architecture and News

10+ Proposals to Promote Adaptive Reuse and Introduce Transformative Ideas

When reflecting on climate-related issues, measures to take, and innovative technological solutions, one cannot help but think that there are also familiar approaches that should be taken into consideration. In fact, when examining the impact of the built environment on the climate, one notes that in many countries, 80% of the buildings that will exist in 2050 have already been built. The most effective form of sustainability may, therefore, be saving energy by eliminating or minimizing new constructions, and by avoiding the demolition of existing structures.

That is what adaptive reuse stands for: instilling a new purpose on an existing “leftover building.” Nowadays, the refashioning process is becoming essential because of numerous issues related to the climate emergency, plot and construction costs, a saturation of land and a change in living trends.

New York City Grants Approval for Snøhetta's 550 Madison Garden

The New York City Planning Commission approved unanimously the design for 550 Madison Garden created by Snøhetta. The project that re-imagines the privately-owned public space will move forward, after also having received, earlier on, the approval from Manhattan Community Board.

Skidmore, Owings and Merrill Design Adaptive Reuse Project in Milan


Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s first venture in Milan is an adaptive reuse of an early 60’s building, originally designed by architects Gio Ponti, Piero Portaluppi and Antonio Fornaroli. The firm imagined a scheme that renovates the former Allianz Milanese headquarters while transforming the Corso Italia Complex into a modern office space.

Architects Propose to Repurpose Decommissioned Industrial Tanks on Brooklyn’s Waterfront

Courtesy of STUDIO V Architecture and Ken Smith Workshop Courtesy of STUDIO V Architecture and Ken Smith Workshop Courtesy of STUDIO V Architecture and Ken Smith Workshop Courtesy of STUDIO V Architecture and Ken Smith Workshop + 27

In New York, activists and professionals have been working for many years to try to save 10 decommissioned tanks, from demolition by putting forward alternative usage of these structures. Partnering with STUDIO V, an architectural firm and landscape architects Ken Smith Workshop, they came up with an inventive proposal that reimagines these industrial relics as a 21st-century park, a novelty in the traditional definition and configuration of public spaces.

Museum of London Unveils Expansion into Historic Farringdon Buildings

The Museum of London has unveiled the design for their new West Smithfield home. Designed by Stanton Williams, Asif Khan, and Julian Harrap Architects, the plans showcase the transformation of a campus of beautiful yet dilapidated market buildings into a 24-hour cultural destination. The scheme celebrates the historic buildings of West Smithfield, while creating a unique, memorable visitor experience.

© Asif Khan © Asif Khan © Forbes Massie © Forbes Massie + 12

Power-Up Pasir Panjang! - Ideas Competition for the Pasir Panjang Power District

“Power-Up Pasir Panjang” – Ideas Competition for the Pasir Panjang Power District is jointly organized by the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA) and Singapore Land Authority (SLA). The Pasir Panjang Power District was Singapore’s powerhouse in early post-war years, supplying much-needed power to fuel Singapore’s push towards industrialization. Vacated in the 1980s, the tranquil waterfront site rich in industrial heritage has the potential to be transformed into a distinctive lifestyle destination that will see the power station buildings repurposed to house new uses, attractive and inclusive public spaces created for people of all ages to enjoy and the site’s unique heritage celebrated.

Los Angeles' Hospitality Industry is All About Adaptive Reuse

Los Angeles’ booming hospitality industry has provoked many designers to develop fresh, state-of-the-art spaces that fascinate citizens and visitors of the contemporary city. However, some designers are experimenting with abandoned structures, merging historic buildings with contemporary features. The relatively new design trend of adaptive reuse, which was a novelty in the early 2000’s, has now become an in-demand practice in LA, standing front and center in the restaurant / hotel industry.

To dig deeper into why Los Angeleshospitality industry is embracing historic buildings, Metropolis Magazine spoke with key hospitality designers and developers in the city such as Historic Resources Group, 213 Hospitality, and Design, Bitches, to learn more about their take on adaptive reuse.

What to Know Before Tackling a Renovation Project

As technology moves forward, so does architecture and construction. Architects, designers, and planners around the world now have infinite tools and resources to design and build the cities of today and the future.  As promising as this may sound, new construction is also consuming our world’s limited resources faster than we can replenish them.

This situation leaves architects with an important responsibility: the rehabilitation and reuse of the existing built environment. This means using creative thinking and design to save and incorporate old or historic buildings that currently exist, in the present and future of our cities, by adapting them through creative and sensitive treatments.

Rethinking Sacred Spaces for New Purposes

In the wake of the recent fires at Paris’ Notre Dame and the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, we have seen many architects propose new ways of rebuilding these sacred spaces, opening them up to new possibilities.

Historically, after the decline of the Catholic Church and the increasing loss of faith in several locations in Europe and in North America, the maintenance costs and the disuse of sacred spaces has led to the eventual abandonment of churches, shrines and monasteries with great architectural and historical value.

This opens a new opportunity for investors and architects to rescue and re-contextualize the historical heritage of these buildings. Below we present 15 examples of adaptive reuse in ancient churches--transformed into hotels, homes, museums, libraries and other cultural spaces.

Courtesy of Evolution Design © David Zarzoso Courtesy of Thomas Balaban Architect © Flos&Beeldpunt + 16

Benthem Crouwel Designs the Netherlands’ Most Sustainable Office Renovation

Dutch firm Benthem Crouwel Architects have transformed an office building in Amsterdam into the most sustainable renovated property in the Netherlands. Now the new head office for the Dutch Charity Lotteries, the building received BREEAM Outstanding rating for its sustainable design. The adaptive reuse features a series of slender, tree-shaped columns that support an iconic roof with nearly 7,000 polished aluminum leaves.

© Jannes Linders © Jannes Linders © Jannes Linders © Jannes Linders + 5

Lacaton & Vassal's FRAC Dunkerque is an Architectural Echo Both in Form and in Concept

As industry has shifted over the past century, in format, location, and type, the manufacturing and industrial spaces scattered across the western world have been repurposed. You have no doubt seen these structures, though perhaps without realizing. The large windows, high ceilings, and open floor plans optimized for factory work now mark the territory of the “creative class”. Such spaces have been disproportionately appropriated by creative industries such as arts and architecture; think of Herzog + de Meuron’s renovation of the Tate Modern (from a former power station) or the recent collaborative transformation of a locomotive yard into a library in the Netherlands.

OMA / Shohei Shigematsu to Reimagine Sotheby’s New York Headquarters

Renowned auction house Sotheby’s has unveiled a dramatic OMA/Shohei Shigematsu-designed expansion and re-imagination of their New York City headquarters. Together with OMA Associate Christy Cheng, Shigematsu has redesigned the headquarters to include vast new exhibition galleries for fine art, precious objects, luxury goods, and more. Comprising 40 galleries of varying size across four floors, the new space will increase Sotheby’s exhibition space from 67,000 square feet to 90,000 square feet.

In the proposal, nine galleries will facilitate discreet private sales for dedicated small objects such as watches and jewelry. Three two-story spaces will be set aside for exhibitions, along with a 150-foot-long space for full collections, according to The New York Times. The new space will include “dynamic repertoire” of "spatial conditions", including a white cube, double height, enfilade, corridor cascade, octagonal, and an L-shaped space.

© OMA New York © OMA New York © OMA New York © OMA New York + 14

The Beauty in the Imperfections of Ruins in Architecture

© Erica Overmeer © Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill © Philip Vile © Erich Spahn + 17

If walls could speak, they would have the most stories to tell - stories of antiquity, war, scandal, and reconciliation. Approaches to preservation are as varied as the architects behind them, but many take on the challenge with flair and restraint in equal measure. It is common to see preservation that combines ancient structure with contemporary features, creating beautiful combinations of old and new.

Take a look at some architectures from our projects database that highlight the beauty in the imperfections of ruins and great combinations of used and new materials.

This collection is one of many interesting content groupings made by our registered users. Remember you can save and manage what inspires you on My ArchDaily. Create your account here.

SquareOne Proposes Repurposing a Water Tower as Public Spas/Student Housing

Raise your hand if you’ve ever wanted to go swimming inside a water tower. In reality, it would probably be dark and creepy and not as cool as it sounds, but that’s not the case with Danish firm SquareOne’s design, where the top of an abandoned water tower becomes a public swimming pool and spa. Utilizing the existing structural system of the tower, SquareOne is also proposing adding 40+ student housing units suspended around the tower. This dual-purpose scheme addresses Copenhagen’s desperate housing shortage while also giving new life to an old building.


Interior beam structure of Taarnby water tower. Image Courtesy of SquareOne Existing Taarnby water tower. Image Courtesy of SquareOne Proposed Taarnby water tower. Image Courtesy of SquareOne Courtesy of SquareOne + 10

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners Gains Approval for Hammersmith Town Hall Refurbishment in London

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have gained planning permission for the proposed extension and full refurbishment of the Grade II-listed Hammersmith Town Hall in London. A joint venture with Hammersmith & Fulham Council and commercial partners a2Dominion, the scheme seeks to promote “the creation of a new high quality civic mixed-use development” derived from the historic structure.

Through the demolition of a 1970s extension, the scheme will create a new public square that enhances the setting of the existing protected Town Hall, reinstating its presence on Kings Street. The main alternations seek to enhance the existing building through a glass box rooftop extension containing council office space.

Visualisation of the interior of Hammersmith Town Hall. Image © 7-T Visualisation of the north facade of the Town Hall extension. Image © 7-T Visualisation of the interior of Hammersmith Town Hall. Image © 7-T © 7-T + 6

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Revitalizes Boston's Commonwealth Pier through Adaptive Reuse

Schmidt Hammer Lassen has announced details of their second U.S. project: the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, Massachusetts. An adaptive reuse project that will bring new life to Boston’s Commonwealth Pier, the 68,500-square-meter mixed-use project seeks to reactivate a historic maritime hub to create a new waterfront destination.

The largest pier building in the world when completed in 1901, the Commonwealth Pier will be reactivated with the introduction of new materials, increased daylight, and new points of connectivity. The exercise in adaptive reuse will contain flexible office space, dynamic event space, new retail, dining, and public amenities.

The Trends that Will Influence Architecture in 2019

It is, once again, the time of year where we look towards the future to define the goals and approaches that we will take for our careers throughout the upcoming year. To help the millions of architects who visit ArchDaily every day from all over the world, we compiled a list of the most popular ideas of 2018, which will continue to be developed and consolidated throughout 2019.

Over 130 million users discovered new references, materials, and tools in 2018 alone, infusing their practice of architecture with the means to improve the quality of life for our cities and built spaces. As users demonstrated certain affinities and/or demonstrated greater interest in particular topics, these emerged as trends. 

The Week in Architecture: Blue Monday and the Aspirations of a New Year

For those in the northern hemisphere, the last full week in January last week kicks off with Blue Monday - the day claimed to be the most depressing of the year. Weather is bleak, sunsets are early, resolutions are broken, and there’s only the vaguest glimpse of a holiday on the horizon. It’s perhaps this miserable context that is making the field seem extra productive, with a spate of new projects, toppings out and, completions announced this week.

The week of 21 January 2019 in review, after the break: 

LocHal / Mecanoo. Image © Ossip van Duivenbode © TMRW, courtesy of Gensler ©Jaime Navarro The Week in Architecture: Blue Monday and the Aspirations of a New Year + 11