Category Archives: Structure Reuse

Vancouver’s oldest schoolhouse facing wrecker’s ball gets new lease on life – The Globe and Mail

For 112 years, the schoolhouse at Sir Guy Carleton elementary was abuzz with children reading, writing and doing arithmetic.

But Vancouver’s oldest schoolhouse fell silent in 2008 when it was nearly destroyed by arson. It appeared set for demolition until Tuesday, when a local theatre company swooped in to save the landmark yellow building.

Carleton School in East Vancouver will house the Green Thumb Theatre project. - Carleton School in East Vancouver will house the Green Thumb Theatre project. | Handout

 

Green Thumb Theatre unveiled a $1.2-million plan to transform it into a rehearsal hall. The theatre company, which develops plays relevant to the lives of children and young adults, said it’s confident it will raise the money in time for a grand opening next fall.

“We’re delighted because Green Thumb Theatre will be restoring our much-cherished heritage schoolhouse to its original splendour and beyond,” said Pat Munton, the school’s principal. “It’s just amazing, it brings tears to my eyes, frankly.”

The Carleton schoolhouse was erected in 1896; other buildings were added in later years. The schoolhouse was in continuous use until three years ago, when fire gutted its insides. A section of the roof remained under a blue tarp on Tuesday.

Patti Bacchus, chair of the Vancouver Board of Education, called the arrangement between her organization and Green Thumb Theatre a win-win. Not only will the heritage site be repurposed, she said, but students at the school will get the added benefit of exposure to some of the top theatre educators in B.C.

“The fire that occurred here was, indeed, devastating,” Ms. Bacchus said. “We have been very concerned about finding a solution to that. I have to be honest – for quite some time, it looked fairly bleak. We made several approaches to the provincial government to fund the repairs of the building, and those were declined. At one point, it was recommended to us that we proceed with demolition.”

Ms. Bacchus said the board was “delighted” when it was approached by the theatre company.

What to do with the schoolhouse, located in the city’s Collingwood neighbourhood, has been a controversial issue since the fire. Heritage Vancouver recently placed the building at the top of its list of endangered sites. Dwindling enrolment has also led to questions about whether the rest of the school should be kept open.

B.C. New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix attended Tuesday’s announcement at the school, which is in his Vancouver-Kingsway riding. Mr. Dix declared it a “wonderful day” and tipped his cap to members of the community who spoke against the schoolhouse’s demolition.

“We were in public hearings, and students at the school who were in this building came and talked about it,” Mr. Dix said. “… They talked about how important it was to them that this building be restored, that the tradition they were part of and that goes back in this community for so long be restored and brought back. I think it’s an extraordinary thing when young people in Grade 3, or 4, or 5, take up a cause.”

After his remarks, the NDP Leader donated $1,000 to the project.

Patrick McDonald, Green Thumb Theatre’s artistic director, said the company hopes to raise much of the $1.2-million through municipal and federal arts programs.

“This is a very attainable goal,” he said.

via Vancouver’s oldest schoolhouse facing wrecker’s ball gets new lease on life – The Globe and Mail.

Ondagumi president Chuya Onda | The Japan Times Online

News photo

Ondagumi president Chuya Onda

By JUDIT KAWAGUCHI

Chuya Onda, 68, is the president of Ondagumi, one of Japan’s biggest hikiya companies. Hikiya specialize in deconstructing, rebuilding and moving buildings. They are also experts at lifting up houses in order to make them earthquake-proof with special high-tech materials. Since the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, Onda’s company has been overwhelmed with the demolition aspect of his business. If a building is too dangerous to use, Onda and his team must demolish it. If it is merely tilted, then Ondagumi will straighten it out. Onda is well known as a tough guy who knows no fear when it comes to blowing up buildings, but when it comes to his wife — even after 42 years of marriage — he still gets weak in the knees.

Anyone can demolish a structure, but the real trick is to lift up and move a whole building without spilling the tea on the table. That’s what we do. We prepare for two weeks and then voilà, we raise the whole building with all the furniture inside it and move it so smoothly that everything stays exactly as it was when we began our work. The furniture, the dishes — nothing is disturbed. The homeowners could even sit on the sofa and sip tea as we move their whole house, but usually they want to watch the process so they remain outside taking photos.

Japanese buildings might look weak, but they are strong. Three top U.S. demolition teams came to Japan and tried to blow up typical Japanese homes with dynamite. The results were surprising: no team succeeded! The spots where the dynamite was placed were damaged, but the rest of the building was undisturbed. The kind of effect one sees in other countries, where even high-rise buildings crumble once some floors get severely damaged, just doesn’t happen in Japan because all structures are built to withstand quakes.

Instead of cutting down a tree or demolishing a house, save it by moving it to a new location. Japanese cities grew quite organically, so their roads are very narrow. Once the need for wider roads arose, starting in the Edo Period, Japanese moved trees and buildings by a few meters to make room for road construction.

Continue reading this article here

via Ondagumi president Chuya Onda | The Japan Times Online.

Submissions Wanted for ‘ReNew ReUse ReConnect’ Public Art Initiative | The Jersey City Independent – NJ

The High Line in Manhattan — a defunct elevated railway retrofitted into a dynamic public park — is a raging success. While said success is a complicated equation, for art lovers, one of the major attractions the High Line offers is a revolving schedule of temporary artworks in and around the park — for the pleasure of visitors and neighborhood locals alike.

Here in Jersey City, the 6th Street Embankment is the rogue cousin of Manhattan’s High Line. While experts and architects differ on whether a redeveloped Embankment could actually replicate the High Line’s success, the six-block former rail spur, long abandoned and overgrown with foliage, is an untapped resource begging for artistic intervention.

That’s where ReNew ReUse ReConnect (RRR) comes into play. The project, organized by Anne McTernan and Sophie Penkrat, is a Jersey City public art initiative dedicated to the Embankment with a curated program of temporary installations that are designed to draw attention to the structure. McTernan and Penkrat were awarded $695 at one of last year’s Pro Arts Art Eat-Ups by for their RRR proposal, and now they need artists.

RRR will be a two-day temporary exhibit taking place during this fall’s Jersey City Artists’ Studio Tour on the evenings of October 1 and 2, from 7 to 10 pm. The site-specific installations will be located in the alley adjacent to the Embankment, running between Jersey Avenue and Monmouth Street.

Initially, the deadline for participation was July 29. McTernan and Penkrat have extended the deadline to solicit more proposals, so if you have an idea, email them ASAP at annemacdesign (at) gmail.com or sophie.penkrat (at) gmail.com.

via Submissions Wanted for ‘ReNew ReUse ReConnect’ Public Art Initiative | The Jersey City Independent.

Meet the Itinerant Art Crew Transforming an Abandoned Berlin Amusement Park Into an Artist Wonderland – ARTINFO.com

Photo by Anthony Spinello
An old rollercoaster at Spreepark, an abandoned amusement park outside of Berlin

If you put your mind to it, pretty much anything can be converted into an art experience: basements become art galleries, factories become biennials, entire cities become art-world playgrounds. Adaptive reuse is all the rage, a postmodern urban balm that uses the power of art to resuscitate abandoned and irrelevant buildings and neighborhoods. “Kulturbahn” is such a project, a proposal to turn Spreepark Berlin, a forsaken amusement park built by the German Democratic Republic in 1969 and transferred to private hands after the Berlin wall fell, into a multimedia art playground.

Photographs of the site — located in in the city’s Treptower Park — show a constellation of amusement park attractions abandoned after Spreepark closed for good in 2001. Defunct swing rides sway next to weed-choked spinning teacups and “Dinoworld,” an overgrown field of colossal, graffitied dinosaur figures. Viewers can explore the current state of Spreepark through Kulturbahn’s Web site, scrolling through a satellite view of the site with flags pinning down different park landmarks. The dreamlike landscape certainly looks like fertile ground for an artistic intervention.

Musement, the group behind the proposed plan, is an interdisciplinary crew composed of gallerist Anthony Spinello, writer Stephanie Sherman, performance-art researcher and artist George Scheer, and artists Chris Lineberry and Agustina Woodgate. The group’s diverse composition reflects the scope of the project itself — to present “a new model for cultural amusement,” according to a statement on its Web site. Kulturbahn will be a “platform for art creation and exhibition that responds, reflects, and transforms transformative sites,” activating interest in Spreepark as a site of “universal imagination.”

via Meet the Itinerant Art Crew Transforming an Abandoned Berlin Amusement Park Into an Artist Wonderland – ARTINFO.com.

Recycling+Building Materials – International Business Times

In today’s world “going green” has become a top priority in our society, and sustainable buildings and design are at the forefront of this green revolution. While many designers are focusing on passive and active energy systems, the reuse of recycled materials is beginning to stand out as an innovative, highly effective, and artistic expression of sustainable design. Reusing materials from existing on site and nearby site elements such as trees, structures, and paving is becoming a trend in the built environment, however more unorthodox materials such as soda cans and tires are being discovered as recyclable building materials. Materials and projects featured after the break.

Most common building materials today have recyclable alternatives. Concrete, metals, glass, brick and plastics can all be produced with some form of the previously used material, and this process of production lowers the energy requirement and emissions by up to ninety percent in most cases. Studio Gang Architects’ SOS Children’s Villages Lavezzorio Community Center utilized the ability to use left over concrete aggregate from construction sites in the surrounding Chicago area. The project features these different types of aggregate in an artistic expression of how and when the concrete was poured during construction.

Another popular trend regarding recycled building materials is the use of site provided materials. As environmental designers, we continually replace natural landscapes with our own built environment, and today our built environment is embellishing the natural environment in a responsible (while still aesthetic) manner. Projects such as the Ann Arbor District Library by inFORM Studio and the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation Synagogue by Ross Barney Architects are reaping the harvest of their sites. The architects at inFORM researched the site for the Ann Arbor Library to find that ash trees from the surrounding forest were being destroyed by insects and could be salvaged into various surfaces within the building. Ross Barney Architects responded to the more urban site of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation Synagogue with a similar tactic by repurposing demolished trees into exterior sheathing, torn up paving and pre-existing structure into gabion walls, and even reusing part of the existing building foundation.

When a site has little to give, designers have begun to search within other demolished environments. Juan Luis Martínez Nahuel has found new uses for building elements from other architectural projects in his Recycled Materials Cottage in Chile. The design revolved around the available materials from demolished buildings including glazing from a previous patio as the main façade; eucalyptus and parquet floors as the primary surface covering; and steel and laminated beams from an exhibit as the main structure for the house.

While these methods of reused building materials have become popular in sustainable, contemporary architecture, other designers are experimenting with more unorthodox materials. Archi Union Architects Inc. have developed a wall system that contains a grid of empty soda cans in their mixed-use project,Can Cube. The can filled façade is even adjustable for daylighting by occupants.

Alonso de Garay Architects also discovered a new use for an uncommon object in the building system of their Recycled Building in Mexico City. A series of hanging car tires are constructed to possess and grow traditional species of Mexican plants. While creating a sustainable green wall system, the tires also define exterior space within the complex.

As the process of recycling materials continues to increase as a fashionable and sustainable statement in the architectural world, designers are proposing groundbreaking and futuristic methods that push the boundaries of how we think and build. NL Architects submitted an idea for The Silo Competition that transformed the structure of an old sewage treatment silo into a rock climbing facility and mixed-use residential and commercial spaces. This design addresses the structure and form as a reusable material able to contain an extremely efficient program.

Architects: Studio Gang ArchitectsinFORM StudioRoss Barney ArchitectsAlonso de Garay ArchitectsNL Architects
Photographs:  Paula BaileySteve HallJustin Machonachie, Juan Luis Martinez Nahuel, Sheng Zhonghai, Jimena Carranza, NL Architects

 

via Recycling+Building Materials – International Business Times.

The City of Houston’s Green Building Resource Center has a new green home – Houston green economy | Examiner.com

 

The GBRC provides free information to the public on green building through some 50 exhibits and interactive displays, as well as a library of materials and resource guides. All displays are donated, but are included by invitation only after thorough evaluation by the center’s program director. The displays are hands-on and child friendly, offering tips on renewable energy sources, lighting efficiency and sustainable building materials and practices as well as information on sustainable lifestyle strategies.

via The City of Houston’s Green Building Resource Center has a new green home – Houston green economy | Examiner.com.

castillo/miras arquitectos: restoration of a tower in huercal-overa

spanish based practice castillo/miras arquitectos has recently restored an observation tower in huercal-overa, spain.

 

 

a winding rustic stone path leads visitors up the sides of the existing plateau towards the contemporary structure 
adjacent to the tower. concealed within the minimalist cylindrical form, visitors climb a spiral staircase with intermittent 
panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. upon reaching the highest point, visitors are directed towards a 
pedestrian bridge leading to the towers entry door. beyond the door lies the interior space consisting of vigilantly restored 
brick vaults and wood floors. 

See more amazing photos via castillo/miras arquitectos: restoration of a tower in huercal-overa.