Half a century after the new suburban tract home was the dream of many a young American family, refurbished properties are gaining in popularity. This trend extends beyond North America, with exciting renovations of existing structures popping up all over the world, from Belgium to Kenya to China. The attraction to this typology likely lies in its multiplicity; renovations are both new and old, historic and forward-looking, generative and sustainable.
Nowhere is this trend more visible and popular than in housing, where the transformation is often led by the owners themselves. Loosely grouped under terms like “fixer-upper” and “adaptive reuse,” these projects begin with just the structural skeletons and the building’s history. At the personal scale, renovation/refurbishment is an opportunity to bring a part of yourself to your home - but do these small projects together have the potential to turn around a housing crisis?
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the massive production of architecture today. Scroll through ArchDaily for more than a minute and even we'd forgive you for losing track of it all. But what seems like an endless scroll of architectural production doesn't quite fit with the popular movements surrounding resource sharing and community.
Hidden among the mass production that has defined architecture in the last century is a germ - one that seems to be marching to the forefront of practice today. More and more designers seem to be taking on locally-focused and/or adaptive reuse works. Award shortlists today highlight not icons by recognizable names, but sensitive international works that are notable for their process as much as their product.
The common image of the architect may be of one obsessed with ego and newness, but practice today doesn't bear that out as much as it used to. This week's news touched on issues of reduction, reuse, and a radical rethink what architecture is in the 21st century.
The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) celebrates transformative urban places distinguished by their economic and social contributions to our nation’s cities. Winners offer creative placemaking solutions that transcend the boundaries between architecture, urban design and planning and showcase innovative thinking about American cities. One Gold Medal of $50,000 and four Silver Medals of $10,000 will be awarded.
Upon its completion in 1966, Sewoon Sangga, designed by prominent South Korean architect Kim Swoo-geun, was a groundbreaking residential and commercial megastructure consisting of eight multistory buildings covering a full kilometer in the heart of Seoul. Like other futuristic projects of the decade, it was conceived as a self-contained city, complete with amenities that included a park, an atrium, and a pedestrian deck. But construction realities crippled Kim’s utopian vision, compromising those features. By the late 1970s, Sewoon Sangga had shed residents and anchor retail outlets to newer, shinier developments in the wealthy Gangnam district across the river. Between Sewoon’s central location and plunging rents, the building became a hub for light industry—as well as illicit activity.
Adaptive reuse, the process of refashioning a defunct structure for a new purpose, is ubiquitous these days—so much so that hearing a phrase like “converted warehouse” or “repurposed factory” barely causes one to blink an eye. However, a new project from a cohort of Dutch architecture firms highlights the innovative nature of adaptive reuse with a scheme that reimagines disused cargo ships as houses. With their fully intact exterior shells, the ships remind residents and visitors of their industrial, seafaring past.
Located just south of the city’s hip Kreuzberg neighborhood and only fifteen minutes by bike from the city center, the disused former Nazi complex—with its terminal, hangars, and massive airfield—occupies nearly 1,000 acres of prime real estate in the ever-growing German capital. In any other metropolis, this land would have been snatched up by a developer years ago, but in Berlin, creative reuse has prevailed over conventional narratives of redevelopment.
When architects were asked to re-imagine Chicago’s neglected buildings for an exhibition, Dirk Lohan designed a revitalization plan for Louis Sullivan'sPilgrim Baptist Church. Soon Sullivan’s landmark building will become the nation’s first National Museum of Gospel Music, complete with a cafe, retail store, event space, research and listening library, and a 350-seat auditorium.
The Building Brooklyn Awards is the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce's annual architectural competition celebrating the best built and renovation projects in the borough for the prior year, with substantial completion by December 31.
In the Lujiazui financial district in Pudong, Shanghai, Kengo Kuma has reimagined a 1972 shipyard into a new 9,000-square-meter multi-use complex, named Shipyard 1862. Behind original, rugged brick walls, the old shipyard was once defined by a 12 by 30-meter grid, which allowed for massive interior spaces to hold ships. In this industrial-styleadaptive reuse project, Kuma was careful to preserve the building’s structural and material integrity. These photographs provided by Julien Lanoo show how the industrial shell has been transformed by the refurbishment project.
An adaptive reuse project by P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S is currently under construction in North Hollywood, California. The project transforms an existing warehouse into a dynamic medical campus with Urgent Care, Elderly Daycare, Surgical Centre, Physical Therapy, Imaging Centre, Medical offices, café and a small shop.
Cities around the world are growing at an unprecedented rate, and for the first time in recent history represent the preferred place for people to live. Urbanization has historically aided millions in escaping hardship through increased employment opportunities, better education and healthcare, large-scale public investments, and access to improved infrastructure and services. The city has been the ideal for heightened livability for people worldwide.
Have you ever had the idea to occupy a space that is soulless and lacking of identity? When you are in a transitional space, for example, can your surroundings leave you any meaningful/memorable expressions or a positive impact? Residual spaces. They are spaces of nothingness, physically and psychologically. Ironically, their widespread existence tend to be abandoned/forgotten and considered useless and hopeless. "Lost and Found" challenges you to explore and address meaningful expressions of these spaces. How far can we dig in the potentials that correspond to the surroundings of these residual spaces? Either solving an issue or embracing a local phenomenon, architecture contributes to kick-start positive changes to our society. Just look around you. After all, they are just lost spaces, in need to be found.
Bee Breeders have selected the winners of the Mango Vinyl Hub Competition, challenging entries to marry architecture, music, industry, and design in the repurposing of a decrepit tin foil factory in Cesis, Latvia. With a focus on the revival of the vinyl record industry, “successful projects temper the impulse of retrojecting nostalgic hallmark or tradition, through revitalization of purpose of an artifact and history of a bygone era.”
Here are the winning visions of the Mango Vinyl Hub:
Snøhetta has unveiled plans for a new riverwalk masterplan located alongside Oregon’s Willamette Falls – the second largest waterfall by volume in North America – that will open up the attraction to public access for the first time in over 150 years. Selected to lead the project in 2015 alongside Mayer/Reed and DIALOG, Snøhetta’s scheme is the result of a 2-year design process developed as a collaboration with the city and thousands of individual community members.
The resulting plan calls for the reutilization and augmentation of existing industrial structures on the 22-acre site, giving visitors the opportunity to experience the falls and its rugged basalt shoreline and reconnecting Oregon City to its historic waterfront.
Dutch architectural firm, Studio Komma, in collaboration with concept-developer The Men of Foam, have won the Lot 2 Urban Lab Challenge, with their proposal, ZIP2516. Located in The Hague, The Netherlands, in an upcoming living and working district, the project “seeks to create an iconic building that is an accelerator for the transformation of an industrial area into a new energetic urban district.”
ZIP2516 will house a variety of programs, including social and commercial entrepreneurship and public space. The ground floor of the building will accommodate the flagship store of social entrepreneur, Happy Tosti. The first floor of the building will feature a public square and “urban playground,” with office and start-up space on the floors above, and a “gin bar with roof terrace” on top.
Elijah Equities, LLC has unveiled plans for the redevelopment of The Warehouse in New York City, a property currently occupied by car parking and art galleries, which will be transformed into 100,000 square feet of rentable office and retail space designed by Morris Adjmi.
Situated next to the High Line, the building currently at the site is a four-story, 65,000-square-foot former apparel-manufacturing warehouse. The redevelopment will add a three-story, steel-framed, cantilevered addition, resulting in a seven-story building with over 18,000 square feet of rooftop and outdoor amenity space.
In an effort to renew and enhance the original qualities of the site—like its red tile façades and consistent compositions of public space—as well as to support academic and urban life of the future, the project will uphold “the site’s historical potential by paving the way for new prospects to create a forward-looking transformation of this unique spot.”
Copenhagen-based firm EFFEKT has won a competition to design a new Streetmekka in Viborg, Denmark, through the repurposing of an abandoned former windmill factory in the city’s industrial sector. The winning proposal, aims to instill a newfound sense of identity and value into one of the many leftover warehouse buildings, in the form of a new cultural center for street art, sport, and culture.
The Viborg Municipality and GAME, a Danish street sports NGO, announced that the competition’s purpose was to enable social and cultural change, specifically through empowerment of local youth.