Category Archives: Structure Reuse

Medieval barn rescued by English Heritage –

The Great Barn at Harmansworth rescued by English Heritage [photo cc by-sa Jim Bush / Pollards Hill Cyclists

Middlesex, UK – The Great Barn at Harmonsworth near Heathrow has been bought by English Heritage for £20,000. After repair work the building will be open to the public in April 2012.

The oak framed Great Barn was built in 1426 and used to store grain. It is 60 metres long, 12 metres wide and 11 metres high, with 13 huge oak trusses. ‘The cathedral of Essex’, as it was called by John Betjeman, was put on the buildings at risk register in 2009.

English Heritage say ‘Grade I listed, the barn ranks alongside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace for its exceptional architectural and historic interest.’

English Heritage

via Medieval barn rescued by English Heritage –

Surgical Intervention Modernizes Space in Abandoned Barn | Designs & Ideas on Dornob

Dornob is a great source for design information like this – go check them out.

Picturesque and idyllic in an organically aged way, there was little about this lot’s aesthetics that Architecture Abaton images by Bethlehem Imaz wished to change.

On the outside, every attempt was made to preserve the character of this quaint old structure – additions like wood-and-steel doors look intentionally rusticated to match the aged stone walls, while a pool out front appears likewise timeless.

On the inside, simplicity itself: wide-open spaces, but done in stark white to make it fit for dwelling. Concrete comes into play but only as needed, and primarily in inward-facing exterior spaces like the courtyard.

Around the property, retaining walls made of local stone are clearly new on close inspection, but again reinforce the original elements as well.

via Surgical Intervention Modernizes Space in Abandoned Barn | Designs & Ideas on Dornob.

Kevin Riordan: Woodbury seeks to boost its profile and build its brand –

Workers finish up inside the new County Seat Diner in Woodbury. "Woodbury was a historic town center. That was the identity that was stolen from it," consultant Cindy Williams says. (APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer)

Workers finish up inside the new County Seat Diner in Woodbury. “Woodbury was a historic town center. That was the identity that was stolen from it,” consultant Cindy Williams says. (APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer)

Woodbury was trying to revitalize its downtown when I was a young reporter there in 1980, and this likable little city hasn’t stopped trying since.

So I’m tempted to suggest “Woodbury: The Work’s Never Done” as a new slogan for the Gloucester County seat.

Fortunately, civic leaders have a better idea. They’re asking citizens, businesspeople, and others to help them come up with the best way to “brand” Woodbury.

The timing looks auspicious: New dining spots are opening; $26,000 has been raised to install a handsome clock at the former train station on Railroad Avenue; and the vacant G.G. Green building on Broad Street is being saved from demolition.

via Kevin Riordan: Woodbury seeks to boost its profile and build its brand –

Pitt’s foundation to help redevelop long-closed Kansas City school |

KANSAS CITY, Mo. _ A bond forged in storm-ravaged New Orleans between actor Brad Pitt and a local architecture firm is bearing fruit in Kansas City _ and may show the path forward to reusing dozens of empty schools.

The long-closed Bancroft School will be renovated into affordable apartments and a community center with the aid of the Make It Right Foundation founded by Pitt, a Hollywood superstar with deep Missouri roots, and the creative talents of BNIM Architects, his helper in New Orleans.

“Brad Pitt is a frustrated architect,” said Bob Berkebile, a founding partner at BNIM. “If he wasn’t making millions as an actor, he’d be an architect.”

The $14 million project calls for the existing 103-year-old brick school building to be converted into 29 affordable apartments with a 6,250-square-foot community center on the main floor. A new building with 21 apartments will also developed.

The community area will house the office of the Manheim Neighborhood Association and provide space for outreach programs offered by Truman Medical Center. A foot patrol station for the Kansas City Police Department also will be part of the mix.

The development also will include a secure garage for 50 vehicles that will feature an environmentally friendly green roof.

The two-story school was closed a dozen years ago and occupies a 2.7-acre site. Currently, the Kansas City School District has 38 closed buildings scattered throughout the city, including 26 shut down two years ago in a major downsizing.

Backers of the Bancroft renovation say it could be a good model for how to redevelop other closed schools. The district had set a deadline of last week for proposals to reuse or “repurpose” its inventory of shuttered buildings.

“I hope it will inform the other repurposing projects,” Berkebile said. “We’ve submitted proposals for three schools.”

BNIM was one of several firms chosen by Pitt and the Make It Right Foundation in 2007 to create designs for affordable homes that could be built in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward, a neighborhood devastated by Hurricane Katrina. About 150 homes have been built so far.

Continue reading Pitt’s foundation to help redevelop long-closed Kansas City school |

Giving old concrete buildings new life – Journal of Commerce

The Pacific Palisades twin concrete towers are being refurbished with a new exterior and interior to give the structures, built in the 60s, new life.

Vancouver architect Wing Leung calls it giving old concrete buildings new life.

Others call it renewing or recycling buildings.

While heritage buildings are often recycled, there is an emerging trend to reuse concrete buildings constructed in the 1960s and 70s.

“It will become more and more prominent in the future,” said Leung, who is spearheading the redesign of one of the largest such projects in Vancouver – the Pacific Palisades twin towers.

This trend is one that architects like Leung said he sees catching on as larger cities, such as Vancouver, become more concerned with sustainability and the environmental impact of removing large concrete structures from congested city areas.

It’s just not Vancouver that’s thinking this way.

In Toronto, the Mayor’s Tower Renewal project is a major effort looking at up to 1,000 buildings from that era and attempting to upgrade these older highrise residential concrete structures to become more sustainable.

A 2011 University of Toronto symposium on tower recycling focused on the Mayor’s project and the worldwide impact of this kind of activity.

The Pacific Palisades Hotel twin towers started out as apartments in 1966, but then became a 233-unit hotel and apartment complex.

They were recently acquired by Austeville Properties for conversion back to rental units.

“This is a very enlightened client,” said Leung, adding the work could have been phased in.

But, Austeville decided to strip the exterior and gut the interiors.

“It was also an interesting project,” he said.

Removing some finishes restored the era’s post-modernist design on exterior lower faces.

Continue reading Giving old concrete buildings new life – Journal of Commerce

INTERVIEW: Inhabitat Talks to Housing Reclaimed Author Jessica Kellner About Debt Free Homes | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

If you’re one of the hardcore DIYers out there looking into building your own home, be sure to pick up Housing Reclaimed: Sustainable Homes for Next to Nothing by Jessica Kellner.

As editor at Natural Home & Garden Magazine, Kellner has come across her fair share of beautiful and sustainable homes and now she expands on how a number of people around the country have built their houses without debt despite the economic hardships of the last few years.

While it may seem daunting to design an energy efficient house, source sustainable and reclaimed materials and finally build it, Kellner provides a slew of tips and ideas on how to tackle this challenge for practically nothing down.

INTERVIEW: Inhabitat Talks to Housing Reclaimed Author Jessica Kellner About Debt Free Homes | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World.

The green dividend from reusing older buildings | Kaid Benfield’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC

adaptive reuse of older building in the Pearl District, Portland (by: Patrick Dirden, creative commons license)

 But is it good for the environment?  Lots of people think so, including architect Carl Elefante, who coined the wonderful phrase, “the greenest building is one that is already built,” because you don’t have to use environmental resources in constructing its replacement.


Read the rest of the article at  The green dividend from reusing older buildings | Kaid Benfield’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC.

New Study Shows That It Can Be Better to Renovate Existing Green Buildings Than Build New Ones | Ecocentric |

Phil Ashley


 A study by the Preservation Green Lab of the National Trust for Historic Preservation shows building reuse almost always has fewer environmental impacts than new construction—which means we’d be smart to spend at least as much time renovating existing buildings as we do lionizing fancy new green construction.


via New Study Shows That It Can Be Better to Renovate Existing Green Buildings Than Build New Ones | Ecocentric |

Pacific NW | Seattle’s old buildings: Opportunities, not obstacles | Seattle Times Newspaper


A jazzy "streamline moderne" storefront spruced up the post-World War II commercial district of Seattle's Roosevelt neighborhood.

Seattle’s old buildings should be maintained and upgraded as the city evolves, says writer Lawrence Kreisman, program director of Historic Seattle. Reusing these old buildings, he says, is one of the best ways to improve the environment. It’s much greener than building green from scratch. And it can make good business sense.

via Pacific NW | Seattle’s old buildings: Opportunities, not obstacles | Seattle Times Newspaper.

Beams from elevated I-40 Crosstown to be given to counties across Oklahoma |

Parts of the elevated Interstate 40 Crosstown, which should be gone from view later this year, will be used to build county bridges across the state. Steel beams from the nearly 50-year-old structure will be used in building as many as 300 county bridges.

photo - Steel beams supporting the deck of the elevated Interstate 40 Crosstown, such as these near Bass Pro Drive in downtown Oklahoma City, will be salvaged and made available to county bridge projects across the state.<br /> <strong>PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND - THE OKLAHOMAN</strong>


Beams from elevated I-40 Crosstown to be given to counties across Oklahoma

“We think that’s a great deal for the taxpayers,” Deputy Transportation Department Director Gary Evans said. “It’s a great deal to re-task those beams. It shows how state government and county government can work together.


via Beams from elevated I-40 Crosstown to be given to counties across Oklahoma |

Tel Aviv Lifeguard Shacks To Become Tiny Hotels | Green Prophet

tiny pixel hotels tel aviv, Israel

Lifeguard shack on drummer’s beach in Israel is soon to be upcycled into a unique new boutique “pixel” hotel.

We’ve heard of pixelated screens and buildings, but pixel hotels are a new phenomenon that started as an art project in Linz, Austria. Now these tiny hotels established in unusual, typically abandoned urban settings – whether in a garage or an art gallery – are coming to Israel.

green design, sustainable design, upcycled, bograshov beach, tel aviv, boutique hotels, tourism

The Atlas hotel chain and Tel Aviv municipality recently unveiled plans to upcycle spacious lifeguard shacks on Bograshov Beach overlooking the Mediterranean Sea into unique boutique hotels that thrust visitors directly into the city action, rather than sheltering them in a large chain hotel setting.Local designers Lilach Chitayat, Anat Safran, and Alan Chitayat have purchased the rights to initiate the Pixel Hotel project in Israel. In addition to the lifeguard shacks, this creative team hopes to establish similar projects in Jaffa Port, Neve Tzedek, and at water towers throughout the country. Tel Aviv already boasts a hot design scene, but this latest project is one of the revolutionary we’ve seen in a while.

via Tel Aviv Lifeguard Shacks To Become Tiny Hotels | Green Prophet.

Buyer sought to save historic church | The Indianapolis Star |

Shown Dec. 20, 2011, the former Revival Temple Church 1226 Martin Luther Kiing Jr. St. is a Classical Revival style brick building now owned by Indianapolis Public Schools. It was destined to be demolished late this year to make way for a parking lot for Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School. But now IPS has agreed to allow Indiana Landmarks through 2012 to find a buyer for the save the building for reuse. According to Indiana Landmarks, the church was built by African Americans and was for most of its history the Phillips Temple CME Church. It's in the Flanner House Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.  When the Temple vacated the building, they took with them the stained glass windows and the large organ.

A 91-year-old stately brown-brick Downtown church building, which had been a longtime gathering place for African-Americans, has a chance to avoid demolition.

That is, if someone with plenty of money and an idea for reuse of the deteriorating structure comes forward next year.

Located in the Flanner House Homes historic district, the building at 1226 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. was scheduled to be demolished in September to make way for parking for Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School, a short distance to the south.

Indianapolis Public Schools purchased the building with the four towering white columns at its entrance — and some adjacent land — in January for $319,000.

However, IPS Superintendent Eugene White and his administration recently accepted a request from Indiana Landmarks to give preservationists until December 2012 to try to save the building by finding a buyer willing to rehabilitate it.

A progress report on the search will be given to White in about six months, said Mark Dollase, Indiana Landmarks’ vice president of preservation services.

“There are few buildings left in the city built by African-Americans for African-Americans,” Dollase said, citing losses due in particular to redevelopment in the heart of the city.

“For that,” he said, “it is an important goal for us to see this building remain standing. We’re thrilled that Dr. White and IPS will work with us on finding a solution to a continued use.”

Continue reading Buyer sought to save historic church | The Indianapolis Star |

G.G. Green building dodges demolition, likely to be redeveloped |

082611 Green Building web.jpg

WOODBURY — Just when people had all but given up hope on the G.G. Green block building, in a surprising turn of events, city council has announced a tentative agreement with the RPM Development Group to sweep in and save the structure from anticipated demolition.

After a closed-session following Wednesday night’s regular council meeting, Councilman William H. Fleming announced the Montclair-based company had agreed to stabilize the long-neglected and run-down South Broad Street structure for redevelopment into a mixed-use site.

Continue reading G.G. Green building dodges demolition, likely to be redeveloped |

Re.Wind Camping « 2012Architecten



Cutover pieces of windmill wings are used to create all the camping facilities like compost-toilet, sun-shower, solar-cooker  and compost-heated outside bath.The potential of the site as well as the potential of the material are used, resulting in a positive impact on the environment. Only by reusing the windmill blades about 30.000kg of CO2 emissions are saved from being released into the atmosphere.


via Re.Wind Camping « 2012Architecten.

Floating UFOs: Oil Rig Escape Pods Turned into Hotel Rooms | Designs & Ideas on Dornob


Designed as survival structures, each unit is necessarily independent – they are only connected by location, having been gathered into the same canal and tied off to the same sidewalk, making for truly autonomous stays despite close proximity to city streets (especially if some prankster cuts the lines while you are sleeping! But hey, at least they are designed for surviving on the open seas).

via Floating UFOs: Oil Rig Escape Pods Turned into Hotel Rooms | Designs & Ideas on Dornob.

Live Modern: Modern Barn Conversion | 2Modern Blog

Earlier today it was the interior of a cottage, and now, a modern barn conversion! We can’t help all these rustic modern interiors and exteriors we’ve been showcasing lately. The upcoming fall season makes us crave warm woods, snugly hearths, earthy textures, and from-nature materials. You can usually find that in abundance in cozy cottages and beautiful barns. But of course, this is a modern design blog, so we also happen to love when someone manages to mix, quite deftly, a rustic exterior and a modern/rustic interior, as seen in this barn conversion we spotted on the Architectural Digest website. Interior designed by S. Russell Groves, you can see how heavy, personality-filled materials like stone and rough-hewn wood make a backdrop for more simple, sleeker modern furnishings. An earthy, soft color palette fills the whole space up like a warm hug. While probably still a little too rustic for minimalists and modern purists, we see the modern in this space.

Do you?

via Live Modern: Modern Barn Conversion | 2Modern Blog.

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


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) or sophie.penkrat (at)

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 –

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 –

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 |


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 |

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.