Credit: Getty Images
Leading architects, interior designers and estate agents share their best ideas to convert a barn into a great home.
Credit: Getty Images
Leading architects, interior designers and estate agents share their best ideas to convert a barn into a great home.
Hello my name is Stephen Taylor and in 2016 I bought a derelict shop in Birkenhead, U.K for £26,000 at auction. This building was in such a poor state that the guide price at auction was just £10,000 – £12,000. With a lot of hard work over the last five years I have now transformed it into a modern four bedroom home.
Hand in hand with this change comes a glut of what might be termed ‘compromised buildings’ standing empty. In the context of the climate crisis, the tendency to replace these stranded assets with new-build is unattractive and wasteful – instead we need to look at options for skilful reworking that embraces their embedded character to create unique solutions that are ready for the new world of work.
Bricks from the original structure were recycled and reused where possible, although in places where the walls are entirely new, a different kind of mortar was used to subtly highlight the difference between time periods across the building’s skin. Inside, the exposed brick character of the structure continues in all its glory, providing a tactile, yet neutral enough and versatile backdrop for art display.
Student designer Stella van Beers converted a disused grain silo into a two-story micro-home, fit for the pages of a Dr. Seuss adventure.
Plotted all over the Netherlands’ countryside, grain silos are largely going out of use due to a country-wide reduction of livestock, leading to lower demand for grain. Converting the disused silos into a functional and quirky place of respite, Stella van Beers renovated the cylindrical unit into a micro home.
Former Bethlehem Steel Corp. land off Route 78 may be producing lettuce and herbs this spring, regardless of the weather.
Pennsylvania provided incentives to help bring Bowery to the old Steel property. When Bowery’s plans were announced in December 2020, state Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Bethlehem) said the company would play a role in converting the former industrial site, or “brownfield,” into a modern business paying a living wage.
Gerry Theodorakis stands at the main entrance to the castle, where a Georgian-style columned portico will soon be built. Photo: Leah Szanto
Gerry likes to use reclaimed materials wherever possible and has sourced many stunning additions to both the structure of the residence and the décor contained within, including tiles embedded with fossils, French period-style lighting and solid handcrafted antique timber furniture, most of which is very ornate. “I detest waste and always use as many recycled materials as I possibly can,” he said.
Courtesy Stijn Poelstra/Zecc Architecten
Some of these interventions are so sensitive and surgical that they might be seen as prototypes for similar spaces all over the world, making a case for reusing structures instead of tearing them down.
BKSK Architect’s Tammany Hall Restoration Draws on Lenape Symbolism. In one of 2020’s most striking adaptive reuse projects, the Manhattan-based architecture firm inserted a glass dome in the likeness of a tortoise on top of the Union Square building.
Courtesy Francis Dzikowski
All the emissions released in construction, the fossil fuels burned to create raw construction materials and move them to the site, the carbon released in making concrete, trees felled for timber, it’s all embodied in these structures.
The Cary Towne Center in Cary, North Carolina. (Courtesy Google Maps)
Despite plans to convert the site into a private corporate campus for a wildly successful interactive entertainment company, some of the property—exactly how much remains uncertain as of now—will be reserved for community use, an aspect that Epic is working alongside the City of Cary to realize.
DAVID TROYER — Structural Glass display cases recessed into the floor slab provide a unique design feature to showcase original boiler plate doors that were reclaimed during the cSpace King Edward heritage renovation.
In demonstrating the principle of adaptive reuse, Prentice showed a number of pre-and post-construction photos. In the Simmons building the original main floor ceiling was partially removed to allow for an elevator, while the exposed structural elements including the brick walls and heavy timber beams were left untouched.
Workers dismantle the old coal-fired power plant on the Burlington waterfront which closed down in 1986. The long-awaited redevelopment is removing the outer brick layer of the building and retaining the interior steel framework, the centerpiece of a new city park on a waterfront that was once devoted to industry.
The thing about constructing with timber, Bates Smart architectural firm director Julian Anderson says, is it’s “a very quiet process” compared to steel and concrete. “Which means the impact on adjacent residents and then also the tenants within the commercial building was pretty minimal.”
The Potomac River Generating Station is a former coal-fired power plant that has been dormant since 2012. (Hilco Redevelopment Partners)
“We’re excited about the chance to reintegrate it into the surrounding urban fabric, open up that access to the waterfront and create a really dynamic district with world-class architecture,” said Melissa Schrock, the senior vice president of mixed-use development at Hilco. “We think the city of Alexandria deserves nothing less.”
The concrete blocks were sustainably sourced and partially made with recycled waste glass and aggregate.
[Photo: Studio One Eleven]
“Many times, for better or worse, these types of developments can help uplift an area and to some extent gentrify an area,” he says. “And I think the most economical way, if an area is going to gentrify, is to get the affordable housing in there first so that the affordable housing developers aren’t competing at higher land costs and there’s already an embedded affordable housing population there.”
More than 20 million tonnes (or megatonnes, MT) of waste was generated in 2017 from the construction and demolition industry – more than a third of Australia’s waste production. And nearly all of it is sent to landfill.
A view of the skyline-marring old Dawson State Jail in Dallas from the Commerce Street bridge. Reunion Tower can be seen to the right of the building. (Courtesy Trinity Park Conservancy)
As for how exactly the old jail will be reused, that has yet to be determined although restaurants, retail, affordable housing, and administrative office space for the park have all been floated in local media as early speculative ideas.
View of the gymnasium at the old Sabine High School in Many, Louisiana, one of several facilities that could be impacted by the study.Photo courtesy of Laura Blokker.
The schools, built as part a last-ditch attempt to establish “separate but equal” educational facilities in the state, were abandoned as racial integration began to take hold in 1970, and have sat empty for many years.
Built in 1938, The striking boat has an interesting history; the vessel acted as a North Sea lighthouse up until 2004 when it was converted into a six-bedroom home by its current owner, a photographer.
Under plans, the existing Webster Street building will receive new cladding, windows and entranceway.
“The addition of many more trees and trying to remove as much asphalt as possible put an additional cost onto the development team, but these are improvements that will last for decades and has the support of the neighbors.”
The building that formerly housed a telephone exchange and post office at 118 Russell Street, Melbourne, has been converted into apartments. Author provided
Buildings that are no longer fit for purpose, or not required in a new detached working environment, could be repurposed as housing. Empty office blocks, shops and stores and unused teaching facilities could all be recycled for social and community low-cost rental housing.
Oakland’s Creative Growth Art Center was converted from an auto shop into a studio for artists with disabilities; Buffalo’s Northland Workforce Training Center was a former factory that became a site for job training and education; and in Pittsburgh, a Masonic temple became a space for City of Asylum, a nonprofit that supports writers who are threatened in their own countries.
Drawing inspiration from the history of this remarkable piece of infrastructure, the project will restore and preserve the historical pieces that have been rooted there for over 160 years, which includes the original Beaux-Arts masonry detailing and terracotta ornamentation of the exterior, the wood-framed windows, interior decorative plaster work, the double height main lobby and 106-year old restored marble stone staircase, elevator cores, as well as the double loaded corridor and terrazzo flooring of the
Source: Timothy Soar
In reworking 160 Old Street, Islington, new brick and glass cladding was added but the essential structure was largely retained
To meet the UK’s net zero carbon targets, an increasing number of urban projects are likely to repurpose buildings that already exist rather than replace them with new ones.
The Vault Office tenants enjoy ground-floor retail amenities.
The Brookings Institute forecasts that 82 billion square feet of existing space in the United States will be demolished and replaced between 2005 and 2030 – roughly one-quarter of today’s existing building stock. Further, as noted by the American Institute of Architects in its recent statement on climate action, in the U.S. alone nearly 40% of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to carbon produced by buildings during construction and everyday operations. Embodied carbon from construction represents a
The farmhouse-inspired kitchen employs tractor seats repurposed as bar stools, floating cabinets, and exposed brick.
Upstairs, the architectural salvage continues in the open-concept living areas, with repurposed light fixtures, a tin accent wall, and galvanized buckets for sinks. The farmhouse-inspired kitchen boasts tractor seats as bar stools.
Silos after the transformation (Right) The metal silos that previously served as storage units.
The silhouette of these metal silos offers contrast to the rigid geometry of the building and hence shows up as a sculptural insert.
The Modern House
Inside, the apartments embrace their loft heritage with the requisite modern-meets-industrial touches.
An illustration of how the new school could look once finished.
“Whatever you are going to construct, from an environmental perspective, your number one priority is to ensure your designers are focused on enabling you to build something that is energy efficient, uses materials that have a low embodied carbon and can be easily maintained, re-purposed and ultimately, after a long and useful lifetime, be recycled,” Dominic Burbridge, associate director of the Carbon Trust, said in a statement sent to CNBC.com.
Courtesy Mikael Lundblad
“I think this is one of the last buildings from that era,” says Sean O’Connor, the general manager and partner of KEX Portland. “So it’s nice to be able to preserve the original history and character of that Eastside industrial area.”
The Go Place Spa has set up shop in the former Cineplex Odeon First Markham Place in suburban Toronto. GO PLACE SPA
Creative adaptations of former cinemas in Canada include churches, drug stores and cannabis dispensaries.
The former Ottawa Street Power Station in Lansing, Michgian, stopped producing power in 1992 and finally reopened in 2011 as the headquarters for an insurance company, the Accident Fund, now called the AF Group.
“One of the really cool things about retired coal-fired plants is they have built-in infrastructure and components that can be repurposed for new industry,” said John Kowalik, director of marketing and public relations for Environmental Liability Transfer. “Like access to rail, ports and waterways … and good highway transportation. Typically the grids can be reused for another purpose too, like solar or wind. There’s a direct grid connection at the power plant.”
Photo: The Architectural Team’s Bob Verrier has designed more than 50 award-winning historic buildings and preserved the architectural heritage of hundreds of historic structures across the country.
“The idea of restoring and bringing a building back to usefulness is very rewarding,” he says. “A new building is a new building, but restoring a historic building, it gives more energy. It’s like taking something that’s not being used, something that was very functional at one time, and now you bring it back to life. That’s what you’re doing: breathing new life into old bones.”
Buildings that previously housed banks tend to be popular as they already have secure structures that comply with the cannabis industry’s unique security provisions – including vaults, safes, blocked-off areas and advanced security systems – in turn requiring less of an investment from the operator to implement these requirements.
55 Southbank Boulevard by Bates Smart. Image: Hume Partners Property
Bates Smart designed a 10 storey structure made from engineered timber that sits top of an existing office building in Melbourne’s Southbank. The Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne Southbank is set to open later in 2020.
The living room of Cathy Ehrler and Donald Thurman’s converted warehouse home is light and open, with high ceilings and windows lining the walls.
“I’m really into reuse and recycling — and I’ve been that way all my life — and one of the reasons that I loved this space is that we are reusing space in an old building,” said Cathy, “and we used as much as the original as possible.”
“It requires a fundamental shift in our attitude to materials.”
The Eberly occupies a 1970s brick building that formerly housed a print shop.
PUSH Buffalo Executive Director Rahwa Ghirmatzion, center, with PUSH members and community advocates Luz Velez, left, and Providencia Carrion at the Wash Project. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)
She now oversees the organization’s programs and operations, which include housing construction, solar installation, job training and a youth center, in addition to advocacy efforts. PUSH employs 40, and has renovated more than 100 homes in the past seven years.
ZGF partnered with Google to transform the landmark Spruce Goose Hangar in Playa Vista, California. A 450,000+ SF, four-level “building-within-a-building” was developed inside the seven-story, 750-foot-long historic wooden structure. Built by Howard Hughes in 1943 for the construction of the Hercules IV airplane (aka the “Spruce Goose”), the hangar now comprises office, meeting, food service and event spaces, and employee amenity spaces.
Source: Google, Spruce Goose | ZGF
Courtesy Hotel Can Ferrereta
Found on Mallorca’s south-east coast, this 17th-century building will comprise 32 rooms, a spa with hammam and indoor pool. Can Ferrereta is inspired by the typical Spanish summer house: its light and airy design will champion original wooden beams, a cream palette and stone
Photography: Nigel Young
Apple took on yet another renovation of a historically significant building in 2019, converting Washington DC’s first public library into a new flagship store. The restoration of the 116-year-old Carnegie Library by Foster + Partners took two years and involved installing a new skylight above a central plaza used for hosting events.
For the architecture firm Schaum/Shieh, reuse necessarily means embracing the “background buildings” found throughout American suburbs, like the strip mall. In Houston, Schaum/Shieh retrofitted a midcentury washateria into a series of storefronts, while taking pains to highlight the craftsmanship of the original build. Courtesy Peter Molick
The building sector accounts for about a third of global fuel consumption, but its systematic energetic impact may be still greater. Because we sense the glow and hum of the machines around us, because we are accustomed to paying monthly energy bills and encouraged by the idea that adjusting the thermostat saves money—and, somehow, the planet—we may be more sensitive to running costs than to embodied energy. But, as Moe puts it in that interview, “that’s not really dealing with energy, that’s dealing with the fuel efficiency of a building, which is important, but missing the big picture.”
While the main nave of the church serves as an impromptu auditorium, it’s ambulatory alcoves are fitted out as stationary lounges. (Slava Balbek)
Salvaging and restoring the historic features of the listed Our Lady of Guadalupe church, the firm implemented a scheme that makes good use of its dramatic nave and ambulatory alcoves. While the former plays host to a moveable seating and table system, the latter serves a series of stationary lounges. Together, they set the stage for anything from film-screenings to hackathons.
Matt Bolen of Waterloo-based Edge Architects in front of the century-old Huck Glove factory before construction began.
“Call it a new generation that doesn’t necessarily place the same value on suburban, shiny new things,” he says, explaining that younger employees want to live and work in communities with a history. “The great thing about these older buildings is they have a story that people can connect to.”
The new Runway Rink at the TWA Hotel allows guests to skate on the tarmac around the hotel’s 1958 Lockheed Constellation Connie airplane, a vintage airliner which has been converted into a cocktail lounge.
The project is an ode to the industrial and cultural heritage of Amsterdam and brings to light the importance of water to the area. The suites, spread all throughout the city, are a love letter to Amsterdam architecture, from Amsterdam School to Modernism.
The tropical game room features shuffle board, bumper pool, and foosball. Images courtesy of Cedar Street
“Mid-century modernism was a no-brainer as the source of inspiration for design,” Fritz tells Curbed. “Tiki lounges and mid-century go hand in hand. There was a sort of obsession with tropical environments in Hollywood movies of the era, and Hawaii became a state at the end of the era, forever enmeshing American and Polynesian culture.”
Photograph by Lara Swimmer
American firm Lever Architecture used weathering steel and original timber in the adaptive reuse of two factories built over 70 years ago for a hay-baler manufacturer.