Refurbishment and adaptive reuse have been at the forefront of architectural discourse in recent years. This demonstrates that the profession is becoming increasingly aware of its impact on the environment and the opportunities presented by reusing what has already been built. Architecture 2030 has recently launched CARE, or Carbon Avoided Retrofit Estimator, a new digital tool that enables designers, owners, and communities to quantify the carbon benefits of adaptive reuse. By entering a streamlined set of project information, such as energy targets and potential building interventions, users can quickly estimate both operational carbon emissions generated by the use of the building and embodied carbon emissions, which are tied to the building materials employed.
Refurbishment: The Latest Architecture and News
CARE, a New Digital Tool, Helps Designers Quantify the Value of Reuse Versus New Construction
Refurbishment: Reviving Historic Copenhagen with Modern Design
Historically home to vikings, kings and queens, Copenhagen is a vibrant city that mingles contemporary architecture with traditional waterways, narrow cobblestone streets, old timbered houses and ancient castles. Filled with history, its buildings embody a historic legacy that traces the memory of all the characters, epoques and events in which the city has passed through. How to keep all this history alive? By refurbishing traditional buildings within modern design, Copenhagen respectfully enjoys its historical architecture while adapting to current trends.
Taking a moment to envisage the existing built environment before addressing a clean slate, refurbishment allows architects to repurpose existing structures for a new use, preserving its character and history while reducing the environmental impact of new constructions. Through the most outstanding cases of rehabilitation of classic buildings in the city, the following article analyzes three different strategies for reusing historic buildings through innovative and sustainable design.
Sometimes, the Better Alternative Is Not to Build New Things
This article was originally published on Common Edge.
My first encounter with saving a building landed me in handcuffs and a trip to the Long Beach Police Department. A friend and I were frustrated that our hometown was demolishing good buildings—because they did not conform with the current style of architecture—only to replace them with parking lots! All in the name of “progress.” In 1988, when we learned that the Jergins Trust Building, a Beaux-Arts beauty, was slated to be torn down with no plans for the site, we jumped into action and chained ourselves to the building to stop the wrecking crew. Our efforts kept it up for another four hours. And then it was gone forever.
MVRDV Commissioned to Transform Herman Hertzberger’s Centraal Beheer Building into a New Residential District
Designed for an insurance company, The Centraal Beheer building by Herman Hertzberger in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, is widely recognized as one of the high points of the structuralist movement. MVRDV, in consultation with Herman Hertzberger’s office AHH, is transforming the celebrated building, making it the centerpiece of a new sustainable residential neighborhood while preserving its structure and core principles. The project is part of a larger area of development, a three-hectare site near the city’s train station. MVRDV’s design proposal introduces approximately 650-800 homes while keeping the focus on preservation, greening, and innovation.
8 Stories of Architects Embracing Refurbishment and Adaptive Reuse
Over the past year, established practices have continued to champion the transformation of existing structures, with adaptive reuse and renovations increasingly becoming a defining aspect of contemporary architecture From the renovation of landmark structures to the adaptive reuse of obsolete facilities, the idea of giving new life to existing buildings has been embraced as the premise for a more sustainable practice, but also as a means of reinforcing the urban and cultural identity of cities. Discover 8 designs and recently completed projects that showcase a new common practice of reusing existing building stock.
The Architecture of Salvage
Buildings are like bodies with organs. When this is the case, with a little extra effort, buildings can be dismantled instead of demolishing them. Dismantling involves carefully removing salvageable components, storing them, and finding them new homes. While this solution is not always possible, it can be part of a sustainable effort that — in addition to keeping material out of landfills — preserves the history and memory embedded within unique materials and fragments. It also honors the human labor invested in our environment. This video explores the reuse of building materials and what it means to be surrounded by fragments with history. It also profiles institutions dedicated to the dismantling and dissemination of building materials, as well as artistic practices that reconfigure our existing built environment including Noah Purifoy and Catie Newell of Alibi Studio.
BIG, Adjaye Associates, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Asif Khan Studio Are Among the Shortlisted Practices for Barbican Centre's Refurbishment
The Barbican Centre is up for a substantial renovation, and the City of London Corporation revealed the five shortlisted teams for the refurbishment of the Brutalist icon, among which are practices like BIG, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Adjaye Associates or Asif Khan Studio. The cultural venue at the heart of the eponymous post-war housing estate in central London was the subject of an international competition aiming to preserve its heritage while upgrading the ageing structure to contemporary requirements and artistic aspirations.
Kengo Kuma and Rita Topa on the Refurbishment of the Gulbenkian Modern Art Center and Gardens in Portugal
Back in 2019, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma won the contest to design the expansion of the gardens of the Gulbenkian Foundation and the new entrance of the Modern Collection of the Museum in Lisbon, Portugal. According to the architect, the museum can be a "wise example of the future as coexistence with the Earth and us", taking inspiration from nature and its relationship with architecture. In a recent No País dos Arquitectos podcast, Sara Nunes interviews Kengo Kuma and Rita Topa, architect at Kengo Kuma Associates, to talk about the expansion of the gardens and museum, along with the mission of architecture and the role of the architect, processes, and work references developed for the project.
Creative Renovations: 14 Projects With Surprising Solutions That Transform The Space
Renovation projects are often perceived as being more limited and therefore less exciting. In this article, we present renovation projects with unexpected solutions that show that it is possible to be creative when adapting and reusing an existing space.
Renovation projects - also called retrofitting, refurbishing, remodeling - are becoming increasingly popular in the market and the practice of architecture, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Interventions in Pre-existing Architecture: Adaptive Reuse Projects by Renowned Architects
Responsible use and consumption of natural resources and the impacts of the building industry have been ongoing concerns in the field of architecture and urban planning. In the past, concepts such as clean slates, mass demolitions, and building brand new structures were widely accepted and encouraged. Nowadays, a transformation seems to be taking place, calling for new approaches such as recycling, adaptive reuse, and renovations, taking advantage of what is already there. This article explores a selection of projects and provides a glimpse into interventions by renowned architects in pre-existing buildings.
Refurbishment, Adaptive Reuse and Extension of Apartments in Mexico
It has become evident that the spaces we inhabit have changed. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to appreciate values as lighting, ventilation, and comfort when working in home.
Marcel Breuer's Iconic Brutalist Building is being Transformed into an Eco-friendly Boutique Hotel
Marcel Breuer’s Pirelli Tire Building, a beacon of Brutalist architecture in the United States, is being reimagined as a hotel by development company Becker and Becker. After being abandoned for years, the structure was sold to architect and developer Bruce Redman Becker in 2020 with plans to transform it into a sustainable 165-room hotel. The sculptural concrete structure aims to be a model for passive design hotels using its unique architectural features and innovative adaptive reuse techniques.
OMA Completes First Quadrant of KaDeWe Department Store in Berlin
The first quadrant of OMA’s Berlin KaDeWe department store transformation opened its doors to the public, revealing a new approach to retail design in the age of online shopping and shifting consumer behaviour. The masterplan divides the historic building, the largest department store in continental Europe, into four smaller, easily accessible and navigable sectors. The completed quadrant features a six-storey void containing a series of escalators and simultaneously acting as circulation, retail and event space.
The New Kremlin Museum Nestles a Contemporary Design Within a Historic Monument
The new Kremlin museum set within the UNESCO protected museum ensemble in Red Square nestles a contemporary structure within the vast courtyard of a 19th-century building. Designed by Moscow-based practices NOWADAYS office and Meganom, the project will house the vast Armory collection, of which only 30% is currently available to the public with the Kremlin walls. The refurbishment of the historic Middle Trading Rows building, together with the new extension, complement each other, creating a diverse and complex museum experience.
Warehouse Renovation: 12 Projects Reusing Industrial Structures in Brazil
Architecture has been increasingly focusing on adaptive reuse, taking advantage of the opportunity to redesign existing spaces to provide new purposes while also reducing damage to the environment. In this context, recycling warehouses is quite usual and is becoming more popular every day because these spaces often have large open plans which allow many different layouts.
Will Refurbishment be the Architectural Specialization of the Future?
The choice of Lacaton & Vassal to receive the 2021 Pritzker Prize was, above all, emblematic. Under the mantra “never demolish, never remove or replace, always add, transform and reuse”, the French duo built a career focused on renovating buildings, providing them with spatial quality, efficiency and new programs. Their approach contrasts with most of the architecture we are used to honoring: iconic, imposing and grandiose works. It also contrasts with the notion of the tabula rasa, of building and rebuilding from scratch, so well represented in Le Corbusier's Ville Radieuse, and which has fascinated architects and urban planners ever since.
Whether because of the sustainability demands currently in vogue, or simply because there are already enough buildings around the world, the task of rehabilitating spaces and buildings has been seen as an important driver of change. The focus is generally to center efforts on interior spaces, paying special attention to the environmental quality and comfort of the inhabitants, in addition to adapting the uses to contemporary demands. The main question revolves around how to update (and even automate) the buildings of the past to adapt to new needs for efficiency, sustainability and well-being.
The Refurbishment and Adaptive Reuse of Brutalist Architecture
"Demolition is a waste of many things – a waste of energy, a waste of material, and a waste of history," says Pritzker-winning architect Anne Lacaton. In recent years, refurbishment and adaptive reuse have become ubiquitous within the architectural discourse, as the profession is becoming more aware of issues such as waste, use of resources and embedded carbon emissions. However, the practice of updating the existing building stock lacks consistency, especially when it comes to Brutalist heritage. The following explores the challenges and opportunities of refurbishment and adaptive reuse of post-war architecture, highlighting how these strategies can play a significant role in addressing the climate crisis and translating the net-zero emissions goal into reality while also giving new life to existing spaces.