Adaptive Reuse

Topic | Dirty Laundry

peerpres-finalDirty Laundry / An adaptive reuse of a Textile Mill

Keywords: Industrial heritage, urban fabric, cultural space, landmark, canvas, textile mills, Bombay, revitalization, paradigm shift, adaptable design, preservation, brownfield redevelopment.

Abstract: The abandoned textile mills of Bombay, sitting vacant across the heart of the city occupying valuable real estate, are often contaminated with chemicals that leach into water tables. In addition to this, they create voids in the urban fabric that impede development and regeneration around them. These industrial buildings serve an important role in urban life as the former engines of production and economic centers of communities, but when their doors are shut, they are left to decay. They are not preserved because they lack the architectural, historical and symbolic significance that society requires to retain them. Reused instead can provides value to the urban fabric and communities around them. The opportunity to reuse obsolete facilities in the urban core supports sustainability and smart growth initiatives designed to focus redevelopment in inner cities in an effort to decrease urban sprawl. As an alternative to our ever-increasing “throw-away society”, adaptive reuse offers an approach for a sustainable building site. Every aspect of this research project aims to raise awareness and actively portray the potential of sustainable practice in adaptive reuse as a viable and socially responsible alternative to demolition and replacement.

Case Studies:

  • Andel’s Hotel Lódz, Poland
  • Küppersmühle museum of modern art, Germany
  • Rotterman carpenter’s workshop, Estonia
  • Rock Hill’s textile mill, Massachusetts, USA 
  • Pheonix Mills, Mumbai, India
  • Love Grove arts and crafts centre, Mumbai, India

by Laasyapriya Malladi


Topic | Permanent Parasites

Permanent Parasites: The Parasite as a Permanent Installation in Adaptive Reuse

Keywords: parasite, installation, architecture, design, adaptive reuse

Abstract: While installation design and parasitical architecture have the potential of feeding each other and to attach themselves to a larger picture of an existing structure, it is important on how, in the context of adaptive reuse, the two can become one. Questions emerge regarding the mobile aspects of parasitical design and the temporary nature of an installation within a AR project. But can adaptive reuse design use principals from installation and parasitical design and make it permanent, not temporary or mobile?

rsalceda_peerpres_120312_Page_11 Explorations of typologies within these three realms (installation, parasite, adaptive reuse) will be made in order to find common ground and find a successful way to define installation architecture as a permanent parasitical element in adaptive reuse. In addition, a discussion of the parasite in a biological sense is made to further understand the relationships of parasites with their hosts, ultimately relating these to the architectural types of installations.

Case Studies:

  • “Convertible City” (Armand Grüntuch and Almut Ernst, German Pavilion @ Venice Bienalle, 2006)
  • “Rucksack House (Backpack house)” (Stefan Eberstadt, Germany [various], 2004)
  • “Las Palmas Parasite” (Koreteknie and Stuhlmacher, Rotterdam, 2001)
  • “Bubble” (Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Washington DC, 2010-12)
  •  “Nomiya” (Larent Grasso & Pascal Grasso, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2009)
  • “The Cube” (Electroluxe, Various [Brussels, London, Stockholm…], 2011-ongoing)s

by Roxanna Salceda

Topic: Adaptable Architecture for Sustainable Development

Adaptable Architecture for Sustainable Development: Modular Building Innovation

Keywords: adaptability; sustainability; modular house; widespread; potential; housing business; Thailand; Japan; material life span. 
Abstract: This paper explores the principals of adaptable buildings. It determines why this building type is relevant for the sustainable environment and how it takes part in the future of adaptive reuse. Reviewing some existing literature on adaptable architecture, and examining for criticisms and obstructions on the adaptable design conclusions will be made for the case of AR. Lessons form the adaptable building design from the past would enhance the future development for adaptive reuse. The relationship between changes in human society and designs of adaptable buildings will be explored and conclusions will reinforce the circumstance that would promote adaptable buildings to become more widespread in the future.adaptable biuilging final_Page_8Case studies: 

  • NEXT21, Osaka, Japan, 1994
  • Sekisui House, Japan, 1970 – Company: Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd.
  • prefab container home by Bangkok-based firms, Site-Specific and Buatalah Studios.
  • Modularbuildthailand by C&T Metal Products Co., Ltd
  • Loq-kit Modular House by PAF Architecture, LLC

 by Pear Pantrakul

Topic | Deconstruction and Adaptive Reuse

Deconstruction and Adaptive Reuse: DE-construct to RE-construct

Keywords: Deconstruction, recycle, demolition, waste, sustainable, environment, materials reuse, building reuse, structure reuse, redevelopment, disassembly, adapted reuse.


Abstract: Our lands are filled with abandoned buildings and old structures. Many of these places stay vacant and unused or face demolition and end up in land fills. What happens when the demolition takes place? One, the construction industry in this process generates huge amounts of waste (25—45% of the national waste stream. EPA, 1998) and two, the materials that could have been reused or recycled for the new construction are lost. A way to approach this issue could be in the form of a ideological  technical and designed “deconstruction”. This paper will try to clarify the real meaning of the word DE-construction, defines the meaning of deconstruction and how can it be applied and creates a link with the RE-construction of Adaptive Reuse projects.

Case studies:

  • Big dig house (Boston)
  • Shipping Containers Playground (San Francisco)
  • Jean Prouvè House (France)
  • Ocean scope (Sunset Observatory) South Korea


by Maria Martins

Topic | Adapting the Anchor

Adapting the Anchor: Reassigning the role of dead malls and vacant big box store

Keywords: Central, Infrastructure, Anchor, Expansion, Community, Dead Mall, Big Box, Civic Space, Public Space, Over-retail, Institutional, Suburban Sprawl, Re-Mall, De-Mall, Expansion

Selvaggio_PAR_Final Presentation.2s

Abstract: The many definitions of the word anchor iterate its role as a body of weight that restricts motion and binds a body to a specific place. Whether it is the Town Square, Main Street, or City Center, every society in a built environment revolves around an anchor. The anchor of a place provides common ground, public space and economic resources.  However, due to continuous suburban sprawl, the majority of Americans now live in a built environment without a traditional anchor; they do have, however, the major definitive element of suburbia – the retail anchor.  Retail anchors in the form of malls and big box stores “anchor” the suburban context in which they reside, however, due to the nature of sprawl these anchors are continuously moving outward in pursuit of bigger, better and cheaper development, failing to fulfill the role of a true community anchor.  Sprawl has left the suburban environment spotted with large, vacant buildings often holding little architectural or historical significance.  These defunct structures still retain the value of once, if only briefly, anchoring the suburban community surrounding them and the question of their reuse is a common undertaking of those in the design community.  Is there a correct typology for using the existing infrastructure and central location of vacant malls and big box stores to provide a new anchor for suburban communities?  By understanding several attempts at both “de-malling” and “re-malling” these structures, a set of criteria may be reached for adapting this form of anchor.

Case Study:

  • Big Box Reuse – Julia Christensen
  • Readressing the Mall- David Smiley
  • Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis- Densify Suburbia

  And Buildings:

  • Sugar Creek Charter School
  • Big Town Mall to High School Athletic facilities & Sports programming- Jeremy Hahn, Beau Smith, Tate Selby
  • Camino Nuevo Charter Academy (Daly Genik Architects)
  • Chia Mesa (cityLAB/Roger Sherman Architecture and Urban Design)

by Amy Selvaggio

Topic | The Sustainable Divide

The Sustainable Divide: A Conflict of Preservation and Adaptive Green Design

Keywords: Sustainable, Preservation, Conservation, Adaptive, Green, Energy-Efficient, Historical, Ideologies, Juxtaposition, Commissions, Regulations, Site Context



This paper will investigate the ongoing struggle between preservation and adaptive reuse in the modern design field today. The origins of adaptive reuse and preservation will be discussed as well as the evolution of these movements throughout time from multiple theorists’ viewpoints. Many see the divide between preservation and adaptability as huge because of its differing ideologies. Case Studies will be analyzed to see which ideologies could be more effective in the renovation of buildings that involve preservation or adaptive reuse. From investigating the precedent research, a proposal could be made on how to collaborate the differing theories to keep the integrity of historic buildings in the future, yet also allow for future adaptability to the building and increase the longevity of building life.

Case Study:

  • Cambridge Public Library

by Kristin Bender

Topic | Unusually Usual

Unusually Usual?:  Adaptive Reuse & Living Spaces Design

Keywords: Unusual memories, Hospitality, Adapted & Reused, Space, Experience, Perception

Bhalla_Shivani_First Drafts

Abstract: Spaces that have a distinctive design and function also have a distinctive memory. They embrace past associations, memories, function and environments which give them a strong sense of meaning.These memories play a very important role in associating the space with the people. These memories could be evaluated as negative or positive in nature depending on the course of events the space lives through, but none the less they establish a connection both physical and emotional. It is interesting to evaluate and explore this meaning and association with the space and further relate it to adaptive reuse. Adaptive reuse aims at the re-establishment of old spaces into new zones of active use. It essentially focuses on giving new meaning to old stories by preserving them and giving them new life today.

We can adapt a space but can we adapt a memory? Spaces with unusual pasts which are adapted today as living spaces will be studied to further understand this transition of space and memory. What is the meaning of an unusual space and how it can be transformed to a usual function will be the main area of focus. A cross link with the hospitality industry and living spaces with further help highlight the bridge between the unusually usual.

Case Studies:

  • The Liberty Hotel, Boston
  • The Waterhouse at South Bund- Shanghai
  • The Iron horse hotel- Milwaukee
  • (Undecided)

by Shivani Bhalla

Topic | Saving Face

 Saving Face: Façadism as an Adaptive Reuse strategy?

Keywords: Heritage, Historic Preservation, Adaptive Reuse, Modern Context

Abstract: In the present day, when the strain on infrastructure is apparent and resources are dwindling, the concept of reuse has become quintessential. This is pertinent for land as a resource as well. With the world and its need of growing manifold, the accommodation of new space  has to be catered to. Empty plots of land in the urban fabric are becoming difficult to find – either for financial reasons or for the sheer lack thereof. It is therefore important to reuse and recycle existing vacant buildings. Many often these buildings are historic in nature. The grand scale of these historic structures within an urban setting allow for interventions and adaptations of the spaces. In such cases, what comes to the forefront is the preservation of the buildings history. Over centuries, the concept of preservation has been debated upon. The paper will look at how architects have dealt with the concept of historic preservation in the contemporary context. Through case studies of interventions in the last 25 years, observations can be made about the changing concept of adapting structures by retaining the historic outer shell and reevaluating the interior spaces for modern uses. Often referred to as “Facadism”, it balances the need for historic restoration and a radical change in the idea of preservation. A quote from Ada Louise Huxtable (Lessons in Healing the City’s Scars) forms the foundation of this writing:

“What we need is continuity . . . historic preservation is not sentimentality but a psychological necessity. We must learn to cherish history and to preserve worthy old buildings . . . we must learn how to preserve them, not as pathetic museum pieces, but by giving them new uses.”

Las Arenas de Barcelona

Case Studies:

  • Las Arenas, Barcelona
  • The Old US Mint, San Francisco
  • The Gare d’Orsay Museum, Paris
  •  The Old Reichstag, Berlin
  • Ferry Building Market Place, San Francisco
  • The Old Post Office, Washington DC
by Mansi Tewari

Topic | Between Nostalgia and Reincarnation

Between Nostalgia and Reincarnation: In Quest of a City’s Identity

Keywords: Ruins – Modern Ruins – Dysfunctional Building – Memory – abandonment – historical witness – unfinished buildings –  Intangible Social Bonds – Program – Materiality

Abstract: Globalization has made the quest for identity, a growing topic in the architectural profession. Today, cities from all around the globe are perceived to be more and more uniform, where in fact each city has its own spirit that has been and is still being shaped through time. Factors that contribute to shaping this specific character may vary from one city to another, but the evolution is inevitable. Change alone is unchanging. A healthy change though is not random; it is roundly fostered on the past to inform the future. Cities can be defined by spaces and people, but also by the relation between the two. While both these elements exist ephemerally in this ever-aging world, spaces, and more precisely buildings, hold a stronger character that survives destruction and makes them live on after people. They henceforth become a media to tell something about the past- a story, an event. The aim of this paper is to explain how architecture can make the change of these buildings an informed one; a change that preserves yet enhances and strengthens the evolving identity of a city. It introduces adaptive reuse as a third alternative approach to pure preservation and tabula rasa, in the very specific context of Beirut, Lebanon – a war-torn city that is undergoing a random reconstruction phase in which important values are being neglected. The paper stresses on the necessity of applying adaptive reuse for a healthier transition in time, explaining the reasons why it is not so much of a popular strategy among the Lebanese society. While the absence of adaptive reuse is noticed, this paper mentions examples of the very few practices and ideas of adaptation among emerging architects.


Case Studies:

  •  Primary case study: Tripoli International fairground by Oscar Niemeyer, Lebanon
  •  Secondary case studies: El-Murr Tower in Beirut, Lebanon & The Yellow House, Museum and urban Cultural     Center, Beirut Lebanon
  • Other Supporting case study: The Art School in Cuba
By: Dana Hamdan