Tag Archives: adaptive reuse

Maio Studio Turns Former Wash House into Co-working Space (Photos) : TreeHugger

Renovating an old building can be quite a challenge, not only structurally. The skill lies in adapting the spaces to our current needs while at the same time conserving the history and stories round it. Anna Puigjaner and Guillermo Lopez, members of MAIO, have managed to do so with an old wash house in Barcelona. It is now an open studio for creative professionals.

via Maio Studio Turns Former Wash House into Co-working Space (Photos) : TreeHugger.

This old prison in Illinois may be transformed into a farming paradise | Grist

The former Hanna City Work Camp stands deserted in 2003 near Hanna City.

It’s not every day that a former prison work camp is given new life as a place to grow food. But that’s exactly what’s happening in Peoria, Ill., where Hanna City, the shuttered facility that was also once a home for delinquent boys and a 1950s Air Force radar base, is being reborn as a food hub and farm incubator site.

Hanna City Work Camp anneinhoophouse2011

Go read this inspiring article via This old prison in Illinois may be transformed into a farming paradise | Grist.

New look for old home | The Asian Age

Very well thought out article on interior architectural design in The Asian Age. Don’t miss it.

Remove elements that cause clutter to optimise the space and let the energy to flow seamlessly through the interior spaces

If you think that interior architecture is the same as interior design or decoration, think again. It is actually an entirely different field, centred on rethinking the life of existing buildings through design alterations, renovations and adaptive reuse and sustainability.

Recycling an entire building instead of demolishing it and constructing a new one is one of the most environmentally sound practices. Restoration or remodelling by sustainable interior architecture is both challenging and exciting as it allows one to reconstruct and reinvent inside space both functionally and aesthetically without changing the entire character of a structure. So, even though the outside facade remains the same, the inside space evolves through design and modern amenities.

I had recently redesigned a 15-year-old residence. It had a nice location with green outdoors and I wanted its energy to flow seamlessly through the interior spaces. As an initial step, we changed the interior layout to allow the spaces to flow into each other. Instantly, the effect also reinvented the entire interior space by bringing the glorious outside into the home. Removing any elements that were causing clutter helped to optimise the space in a brilliant manner.

The outcome of all the planning, design and restoration made the interior spaces appear bigger as the entire energy of the already existing structure, both inside and outside came in sync with the beautiful location.

via New look for old home | The Asian Age.

Adaptive reuse re-creates unique opportunities

Jamie Hamilton, a designer at Kahler Slater, said a tremendous amount of opportunities and challenges present themselves in adaptive-reuse projects that just don’t arise when working on a standard hotel project.

The metal railings throughout the former office building in Milwaukee and high ceilings in what will be converted into Hilton Garden Inn guestrooms are features that are not found in new-build hotel construction these days, Hamilton said. “They just don’t make it like that anymore.”

Historic tiles on the first floor and an old bank vault also will remain as the building is converted into a hotel, Plank said.

Incorporating those unique features allows the designers to preserve the building’s previous life while still maintaining the brand’s identity.

Surprising opportunities also come up during the demolition phase of adaptive-reuse projects, Hamilton said. In the case of the Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee, the team uncovered a skylight they were not expecting to find.

“In 1886, it was a great way to get natural light,” Plank said. “It’s really just reflective of the building design.”

Read the entire article via Adaptive reuse re-creates unique opportunities.

Vacant bus station may get new life as reuse artists’ center | Daily Republic

Jim Ball interacts with customers Ann Taylor, left, and Diane Tapay, right, at the temporary site of the Center for Imaginative Reuse in Vacaville on Sunday. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

The center, headed up by former Vacaville Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ball, wants to use the former bus station to collect, store and redistribute recycled materials from paper and cardboard cones to buttons and fabric at low cost for crafters, artists and community art programs.

The bus station was closed in 2011 when Greyhound discontinued service to Vacaville.

There are also plans to sell materials through a mobile art van acquired from Harvest Church, which would also be used to provide education and art workshops to the community.

Ball said the center’s major goal is to promote the arts and to reuse unwanted materials through the arts, keeping them out of landfills. The center has been working with other art-oriented nonprofits in the Bay Area for some time.

via Vacant bus station may get new life as reuse artists’ center | Daily Republic.

Design Love: the new Hôtel Droog | 2Modern Blog

We fell in love today. A sprawling, welcoming, former 17th century textile guild, with white walls, sparse but meaningful architectural details, tall ceilings and beautiful, big windows letting Dutch sunshine in, the physical space wasn’t what stole our heart: It was the amazing  hip, very modern hotel/store/gallery/garden/cafe/more known as Hôtel Droog, officially opened September 18th this year by Dutch design brand Droog.

Go see their article via Design Love: the new Hôtel Droog | 2Modern Blog.

How a Missile Silo Became the Most Difficult Interior Decorating Job Ever | People & Places | Smithsonian Magazine


So began a massive restoration project that continues today. Over three-week visits each spring and fall, Michael has gradually turned the silo control center into a living space that comes close to, or at least pays homage to, its historical state. In September, a regional architectural heritage organization gave him a historical preservation award for his “long-term stewardship” and “sensitivity to the structure’s original purpose and period.”


Alexander Michael

Read the entire article via How a Missile Silo Became the Most Difficult Interior Decorating Job Ever | People & Places | Smithsonian Magazine.

undercurrent architects: archway studios


on a restrictive narrow site next to a rail line and viaduct from the 19th century, london-based practice undercurrent architects has

built ‘archway studios’ as a live-workspace prototype that suggests a creative adaptation of the 10,000 arches spread across the city.

responding to its industrial setting, the weathered outer corten steel shell gives a presence of solidity and strength, cut into strips and folded

in to open slits in the facade that funnel daylight into the white interior. a large vaulted workshop under the tracks is connected to

a tall atrium with residential niches in a bright open space, as all windows face south along its narrow axis to the existing foliage.

via undercurrent architects: archway studios.

The Goodwin is a Swanky New West Village Eatery Made with Reclaimed Wood | Inhabitat New York City

The Goodwin is a swanky new restaurant in the West Village made almost entirely of reclaimed wood! Working carefully within a landmark building from 1845, design firm LVMinc transformed wooden beams from the former brownstone’s demolition into the restaurant’s walls, ceiling, shelving, counter trim, and even bathroom ledges. With a tasty menu and gorgeous antique aesthetic, this restaurant is at the top of our dream dining list.

via The Goodwin is a Swanky New West Village Eatery Made with Reclaimed Wood | Inhabitat New York City.

17th Century Palace Transformed into a Luxe Boutique Hotel In Mexico City’s Historic Center Downtown Mexico-Grupo Habita – Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

Originally built in the 17th century, the Palace of the Counts of Miravalle now has a new life as a luxe boutique hotel in Mexico City’s historic center. Situated just two blocks from the center Plaza de la Constitucion, Downtown Mexico is the new hip place to be. Grupo Habita, a hotelier who is making a name for itself with clever, eco-friendly accommodations like Hotel Endemico in Baja, is responsible for this beautiful adaptive-reuse and restoration. The project was designed by Cherem Serrano Arquitectos, with interior design by Paul Roco and features 17 rooms, a hostel and a stunning rooftop terrace and pool.

via 17th Century Palace Transformed into a Luxe Boutique Hotel In Mexico City’s Historic Center Downtown Mexico-Grupo Habita – Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.

Rustic Ruins to Modern Residences: 3 Barn Renovations | WebUrbanist

Aging barns are often left to simply deteriorate, the stone crumbling, weathered wooden siding falling to the ground.  But in their dramatic A-frame silhouettes and wide-open simplicity, some architects see the potential for a transformation into a modern, livable residential space. These three barn renovations rescued or recalled structures that were near complete destruction, preserving their history while giving them a greater purpose.

via Rustic Ruins to Modern Residences: 3 Barn Renovations | WebUrbanist.

Radio Royaal is a Gorgeous New Restuarant in an Old Philips Power Plant in the Netherlands | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

An old power plant that used to provide Philips with energy to run their factories has been beautifully transformed into a spacious restaurant called Radio Royaal. Located at Eindhoven’s Strijp-S area—aka The Forbidden City—this gorgeous eatery has plenty of space for hungry visitors within its 14,000 square-foot area. An initiative of local entrepreneurs Bart Oosterveer and Niels Wouters, it officially opened its doors last week.

via Radio Royaal is a Gorgeous New Restuarant in an Old Philips Power Plant in the Netherlands | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.

Which Portland-area buildings do you wish were restaurants? | OregonLive.com

While traveling around the Portland area looking for new places to eat, I often see empty buildings that just scream out “restaurant” not literally.It might be a derelict building on the corner with great bones, or a vacant structure sandwiched between two thriving businesses in an up-and-coming neighborhood.

Either way, you probably have one near you, and you probably know what Im talking about.Just for fun, here are four Portland buildings that, over the years, Ive wished some deep-pocketed restaurateur would transform into a restaurant or bar.


1. The Phoenix pharmacy building

Owner Robert Froman, who also runs the Stove Palace and its must-see website just down Foster from the Phoenix, once thought of opening a stove museum in this dramatic two-story brick building.

But, with a lot of work, the suspect structure — it currently sports a “U,” for “unsafe,” from Portland Fire & Rescue — would make a fantastic restaurant or bar, and a landmark eastern gateway for the still up-and-coming “SoFo” neighborhood.

History: According to Froman’s “Foster the Phoenix” website, which seeks to rehabilitate the building, the Phoenix Pharmacy was constructed in 1922 here at the corner of Southeast Foster Road and 67th Avenue and “in its day it was the Eastside’s ‘largest suburban drug store.'”

Thoughts: With a flatiron shape and lovely wrap-around windows on the first floor, the Phoenix would make a fantastic place to eat or drink.






2. The 8212 Club

This vacant beige building might not look like much right now, but it has two things in its favor: a prime location in the middle of another up-and-coming neighborhood and a starring role in one of Portland’s most infamous scandals.

Smack-dab between kid-friendly cafe Posies and the Multnomah County Library’s new Kenton branch, this building, at 8212 and 8216 N. Denver Ave., has loads of square footage and big windows looking out on recently renovated North Denver Avenue. But as the neighborhood has blossomed around it — just check out Kenton’s fun Friday afternoon farmers market half a block away — the building, owned by former NBA star Terrell Brandon, has remained empty.

History: Here’s where things get interesting. In 1955, Multnomah County Sheriff Terry Schrunk led a raid of the 8212 Club, a gambling den, pinball parlor and bar in the upstairs of the building. Schrunk’s deputies arrested several drunks, but didn’t shut the place down because — according to testimony given to the special senate committee on labor and racketeering led by U.S. Sen. John McLellan and Chief Counsel Robert Kennedy — the bar’s owner gave Schrunk a $500 bribe.

The testimony threatened to derail Schrunk’s political career at its nascent point. Kennedy even came to Portland to testify against him. But jurors quickly moved to acquit, and Schrunk, who had just won a hard-fought mayoral battle, went on to become one of Portland’s longest serving mayors. His son, Michael Schrunk, is the current Multnomah County District Attorney.

Thoughts: It’s easy to imagine a Toro Bravo-like restaurant on the ground floor and a Secret Society-esque bar (“The 8212 Club,” perhaps?) serving classic cocktails in the old gambling hall upstairs.



3. Portland Fire & Rescue Station 2

This firehouse at the western end of the Steel Bridge hasn’t played dormitory for firefighters for decades. In fact, it displays the same Portland Fire & Rescue “U” sign as the Phoenix pharmacy above.

But, between the century-old architecture and the potential for river views, the two-story brick building at 510 N.W. Third Ave. sure has a lot of character.

History: Portland Fire & Rescue’s website has a historical photo of the building, and lists it as “present at this location” from 1912 to 1950. According to Brian K. Johnson and Don Porth’s book, “Portland Fire & Rescue,” the station’s amphibious vehicles, known as “ducks,” were used for search and rescue operations during the Vanport flood of 1948.

Thoughts: Not long ago, I thought Fire Station 2 would make a great rehab project for the McMenamin brothers. But with new tracks carrying MAX trains to and from the Greyhound station a short stumble from the building’s front door, it might be a dangerous place to serve beer and wine.




4. The Ladd Carriage House

Ask and you shall receive!

Years ago, even when this building was a run-down shell, it still seemed like it might make a great bar or restaurant some day.

Now, nearly 130 years old, the structure, a former carriage garage for Portland business and civic leader William Ladd, is set to become a new restaurant and lounge.

As The Oregonian first reported Tuesday, the carriage house, meticulously restored under Carleton Hart Architecture project manager Paul Falsetto, will soon be home to Raven & Rose, a British-style gastropub with plenty of Northwest flavor.

History: Built in the 1880s, the building was converted to shops and offices in 1926 and was remodeled as a law firm in 1972. In 2007, the then-vacant building was placed on blocks and moved several blocks west during construction on the Ladd Tower condominiums (also pictured).

Thoughts: Among other tantalizing details from co-owner Lisa Mygrant in Tuesday’s story was word that Raven & Rose’s interior was being inspired, in part, by the Brunel, a gorgeous pub in London’s Battersea neighborhood that closed in 2010.

— Michael Russell   via Which Portland-area buildings do you wish were restaurants? | OregonLive.com.

Inhabit – Cannon Design Transforms Municipal Power House into Sleek LEED Gold Headquarters

St. Louis’ Cannon Design took over an abandoned Municipal Power House building to call their home. The project transformed the vacant space into the design company’s sleek headquarters, creating a modern interior inside the historical building. The resulting workspace combines open common areas with more intimate, private offices which ranks a LEED Gold rating.

See the slideshow and read the whole article via Inhabitat | Design For a Better World!.

The high cost of adaptive reuse in Portland | Daily Journal of Commerce

Constructing a new, energy-efficient building, even with many green bells and whistles, is more harmful to the environment than reusing an existing structure, according to a report released this year by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The group’s study, “The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse,” concluded that reusing and retrofitting existing buildings almost always offers environmental savings over demolition and new construction.


“When we say something is green and it gets some sort of accolade or LEED certification, in my opinion, what we’re really doing is simply smoking Marlboro Lights as opposed to Marlboro reds,” said Jeff Myhre of Myhre Group Architects. “We’re still smoking. We’re still paving. We’re still polluting. We’re still having an environmental impact on the planet, and that’s for any new building, period.”

Portland has many aging buildings ripe for adaptive reuse. The trouble is that many retrofits would trigger costly improvements, like seismic upgrades, that can outweigh a building’s potential for future revenue.

As of 1996, there were roughly 1,200 unreinforced masonry buildings in Portland that would be particularly vulnerable to collapse if an earthquake were to hit, according to a city survey. Some of those have since been upgraded, but most remain. Some industry experts think more needs to be done to encourage renovations.

“If you (help) owners to get some grants to help them offset some of those costs it would help a lot, because to be honest I feel bad for owners,” said Randall Toma of ABHT Structural Engineers. “They all want to do the right thing, but sometimes they’re just hamstringed by the costs.”

ABHT was the structural engineer for a $20 million project in 2009 that expanded the historic 42,500-square-foot Skidmore Fountain Building into an 80,000-square-foot, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design platinum-rated headquarters for Mercy Corps. Toma said up to a quarter of the total construction budget went toward seismic upgrades.

But environmental benefits of such projects can also be significant.

Continue reading The high cost of adaptive reuse in Portland | Daily Journal of Commerce

Creative Historic Reuse Inspires Urban Planning | Fog City Journal

Alamo Drafthouse could make use of California’s Mills Act, which can reduce property taxes through agreed renovations and preservation of the existing historic New Mission Theater. Photo by Andy Sweet.

Before reuse began in 1996, “you could shoot a cannonball down the street and not hit anyone,” Sandmeier said. Today, the number of residential units has grown from 11,000 to 40,000.

The adaptive reuse also speaks to San Francisco’s current acute housing shortage and increasing rent prices, which often pushes young urbanites across the Bay and reduces access to low-income communities, which can be seen in the sprawling gentrification of the Mission District.

“I do think that adaptive reuse alone does not ensure cultural preservation and this is why other planning tools need to be developed to promote cultural preservation,” said San Francisco Architectural Heritage Project Manager Desiree Smith. Her organization is working on preservation planning in the Japantown and South of Market Districts, like the three-story tall St. Joseph’s Cathedral, which is to be redeveloped into offices.

The preservation of historic buildings also provides a “tangible” connection to the past, said Smith.

Read the entire article via Creative Historic Reuse Inspires Urban Planning | Fog City Journal it’s fantastic!

Weston receives just one proposal for historic tavern reuse – Framingham, MA – The MetroWest Daily News



The town received just one response to its request for proposals to reuse the historic Josiah Smith Tavern and Old Library in the center of town, despite extending its deadline to July 23.

However the proposal from longtime Weston resident Kamran Zahedi, president of Boston-based Urbanica, has already garnered the support of the Women’s Community League of Weston, which currently occupies part of the Josiah Smith Tavern, and the Weston Historical Society.

According to Zahedi, the proposal “suggests incorporating a small cafe/restaurant in the Barn, a bed and breakfast in the tavern, and four condominium units in the Old Library.”

Town Manager Donna VanderClock said the Board of Selectmen received Urbanica’s proposal at its meeting on Tuesday night.

In November 2009, Town Meeting voters rejected a proposal to turn the Josiah Smith Tavern into a 175-seat restaurant and the Old Library into the new home of the Women’s Community League of Weston and a historical archive.

In the newest proposal, Zahedi wrote it “strives to create a place that brings together community members both young and old. Furthermore, the proposal provides space for the current nonprofit tenants, the Women’s Community League and Weston Historical Society, while also being financially feasible.

“Another key tenet of the proposal is to replace much of the vehicular drive through on the site with a landscaped garden courtyard, creating a new public space just across from the town green.”

via Weston receives just one proposal for historic tavern reuse – Framingham, MA – The MetroWest Daily News.

Cleveland Daily Banner – Habitat growing within Expansion to double ReStore floor space

Only three years after acquiring and remodeling the old Cinema Twin theater, Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland Inc. has poured the footings for an 8,000 square-foot expansion of its Habitat ReStore, a discount retailer whose community popularity has exceeded original expectations.

Once completed, the project will double the ReStore’s available retail and processing space.

Since moving into the remodeled theater, the ReStore’s client base has exploded. It not only attracts shoppers of all incomes, but it has also has become a stopping point for antique dealers, “treasure hunters,” developers, builders and remodelers, among others.

via Cleveland Daily Banner – Habitat growing within Expansion to double ReStore floor space.

Crumbling Italian Farmstead Transformed Into a Spectacular Home by Bergmeister Wolf Architects | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

Modern architecture is often the foe of untouched locations steeped with history, but Bergmeisterwolf Architekten seamlessly transformed a dilapidated farmstead in the small town of Sterzing into a stunning home that reflects the ancient architectural sensibilities of the area. A success in both adaptive reuse and siting, the new construction melds beautifully with the surrounding landscape, and provides a stunning escape for its inhabitants year round.

Bergmeister Wolf Architects, farm homes, italian homes, adaptive reuse, historic preservation architecture, stone architecture, green roof, charred wood construction

Read the entire via Crumbling Italian Farmstead Transformed Into a Spectacular Home by Bergmeister Wolf Architects | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.

Abandoned Walmart Turned Into Giant Public Library With Gorgeous Interior. But Where Do They park Walmarts? : TreeHugger

Don’t miss this great article on TreeHugger!

Dave notes that it is also successful; “Within the first month following the opening, new user registration increased by 23%” Everyone thinks it is a wonderful example of adaptive reuse. But one of the problems in reusing big box stores is that they are usually in lousy locations for uses like libraries; they are in places for cars, not kids and seniors who often depend on public libraries. And indeed, the new main library gets a car-dependent walkscore of 49.

via Abandoned Walmart Turned Into Giant Public Library With Gorgeous Interior. But Where Do They park Walmarts? : TreeHugger.

Pig Sty Building into House Conversion | WebUrbanist

Pig Sty Building into House Conversion

A dilapidated pig sty is probably the last place anyone would thing to put a brand new home. However, there is something immediately compelling about the juxtaposition of an old aged shell and a starkly modern interior box that makes this hybrid of old and new immediately more engaging to the eye. The sty portion dates back hundreds of years and sustained age damage over that time and then was nearly destroyed during the Second World War. Restoring the building would have been difficult and cost-prohibitive so the architects came up with a brilliant work-around: they simply inserted a brand new building into the shell of the old one and lined up the windows and openings with the existing perforations in the shell of the sty.

via Pig Sty Building into House Conversion | WebUrbanist.

How a Village Became a Hub for Resilience and Rock & Roll : TreeHugger

Creative Reuse

Down the road from the General Store—past the environmentally-themed charter school that we’ll have to discuss in another post—are the Rivermill Apartments. Housed in the former cotton mill that was the center of Saxapahaw until it was destroyed in a hurricane, the apartments overlook the Haw River. While at first glance they look like expensive yuppie flats, the apartments are actually mostly rentals and seem to house folks from all walks of life and a variety of income levels. Similarly the former mill workers’ cottages are mostly rented out, while a more expensive conversion of an adjacent mill building is currently underway that will feature solar hot water, geothermal heating and a number of other green building features.

via How a Village Became a Hub for Resilience and Rock & Roll : TreeHugger.

Inhabitat – Dairy Barn Transformed into Gorgeous LEED Silver Design and Technology Center on SUNY Campus

SUNY Morrisville State College has a new LEED Silver work center, transformed from a historic arched agricultural building. Designed by Perkins Eastman Architects, the adaptive reuse project has created an open and airy space for the Center for Design and Technology. The former dairy barn was a recognizable symbol on the college’s campus, and is now the symbol of the college’s commitment to sustainability.

via Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.

Sugarhouse Studios Pop-Up Cinema & Workshop Encourages Community Interaction in London Sugarhouse Studios-Assemble-London Legacy Corporation – Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

Sugar House Studios

Nestled in an almost abandoned industrial area near the heart of the London Olympics is a new community space dedicated to redevelopment. Sugarhouse Studios is part pop-up cinema, workshop space, cafe and pizzeria.

Assemble, an artist, designer and architect collaborative in London, converted an abandoned sign-writers workshop into this mixed-use building with aim of encouraging community engagement and developing new ways to redevelop the industrial area.

Using reclaimed and salvaged materials, Assemble, with aid from the London Legacy Development Corporation, has created a vibrant center where people can gather to discuss, learn and create.

via Sugarhouse Studios Pop-Up Cinema & Workshop Encourages Community Interaction in London Sugarhouse Studios-Assemble-London Legacy Corporation – Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.

The Plant: My Beer Feeds Your Fish! – YouTube


A remarkable food production plant is being assembled in a former meat processing facility in Chicago. It’s remarkable because the waste from one type of food becomes the raw material for another. So “The Plant” will be producing Kombucha tea, fresh vegetables, tilapia, and beer…with virtually no waste!

via The Plant: My Beer Feeds Your Fish! – YouTube.

Architecture’s afterlife – SalvoNews.com

Dist. of Col. (Washington DC), USA – Ian Volner is a writer for Architect, the magazine for the American Institute of Architects. His article ‘Architecture’s afterlife’ discusses the ongoing obsession of recycling obsolete building materials over reclamation and salvage, and the processes and costs involved in getting into the reuse game.

Volner begins by painting a picture of the building industry today in the US, with forty percent of solid waste attributed to construction, he says ‘not only rubble and rotting beams, but also countless odds and ends from new construction such as cast off nails and packaging’.

Buildings Materials Reuse Association (BMRA) executive director Ann Niklin adds ‘ “We say it [recycling] is all very well and good, but we also say many of these [materials] could simply be salvaged”.’

There is a positive statement from architects who are using reclaimed materials consistently in their projects.

‘ “We’re really starting to get plugged into, in a much more architectural way, the stream of these materials,” says David Dowell, AIA, a principal of El Dorado Architects, also of Kansas City, Mo. Since expanding to include general contracting services, the firm has been working reuse deeper into its practice.’

Continue reading Architecture’s afterlife – SalvoNews.com

Request for Proposals Issued for Reuse of Josiah Smith Tavern and Old Library – Weston, MA Patch

The Town of Weston, through its Town Manager, has issued a Request for Proposals regarding the adaptive reuse of the historic Josiah Smith Tavern and the Town’s Old Library.

The Town is seeking redevelopment partners who recognize the unique opportunity to bring new life to this rare set of buildings that occupy a highly visible, park-like site along the Boston Post Road at the edge of Weston’s village center and its expansive Town Green.

A copy of the Request for Proposal can be found at http://weston.org under Request for Proposals – Josiah Smith Tavern and Old Library. Responses must be submitted by 4 p.m. on June 7, 2012. Two site visits will be offered – one on April 25 at 10 a.m. and the other on May 3 at 3 p.m.

Continue reading Request for Proposals Issued for Reuse of Josiah Smith Tavern and Old Library – Weston, MA Patch

“Adaptive reuse” brings old warehouses and garages to life – Greater Greater Washington

“Adaptive reuse” brings old warehouses and garages to life

by David Alpert   •   April 24, 2012 3:57 pm

I recently visited an American city with many downtown buildings from a long-departed industry. The city’s downtown is now experiencing new life, and many of the historic buildings are finding new uses after sitting vacant for many years.


This is a complex of old warehouses which have now become retail and offices. The developer added a really amazing water feature, a long river which cascades down waterfalls at various intervals. There are small footbridges across the river and even stepping stones to cross in one place.

The old chutes for the products remain and now serve as decorative flourishes. In the center is an old railcar, like those that once transported goods to and from the facility.


At another location nearby, people have turned several old garages into bars and music halls. They’ve also become a popular spot for food trucks, and 2 were sitting outside as we passed by on a Saturday.


Both of these demonstrate the preservation concept of “adaptive reuse.” Old, historic buildings can become a valued part of a changing community by taking on different functions that residents need today. The distinct architecture of the structures and the small details that nobody would build today adds character and interest.

Bonus question: Can you guess the city?

Update: Several commenters got it very quickly. This is Durham, North Carolina. The large development is the American Tobacco Campus, where tobacco warehouses have become high-end retail adjacent to the new stadium for the Durham Bulls. The garage-turned-bar and music hall is called Motorco, in honor of the building’s historic use.

via “Adaptive reuse” brings old warehouses and garages to life – Greater Greater Washington.

Iron Pipe Shelving Systems for Urban Loft Walls & Corners | Designs & Ideas on Dornob

While they may not work quite as perfectly outside of these idealized environments – chipped-white-paint doors and faded-brick walls – you could imagine these fittings being good fits in minimalist spaces as well.



Etsy seller stellableu specializes in industrial decor for urban lofts, wrapping and twisting wall-and-corner shelving units in all kinds of creative shapes.

In turn, books take advantage both of existing vertical surfaces and horizontal pieces of solid iron pipe, so keep in mind: you will not be able to set just anything on them, either.

via Iron Pipe Shelving Systems for Urban Loft Walls & Corners | Designs & Ideas on Dornob.

Demolition costs more than renting a bulldozer – Journal of Commerce

Just because you are old and you leak a little, it doesn’t mean you should be put down. I am also referring to buildings.

Charles Olfert

Architecture Matters

Charles Olfert

Most architects have heard “the greenest building is the one that already exists.” Consider how much energy it takes to create a new building.

Richard Moe, National Trust for Historic Preservation President, estimates constructing a new 5,000 square-meter commercial building releases about the same amount of carbon into the atmosphere as driving a car 2.8 million miles.

Architecture Matters

Charles Olfert

He also notes it takes approximately 65 years for a green, energy-efficient new office building to recover the energy lost in demolition.

Most new buildings in Canada are certainly not designed to last anywhere near that long.

I would suggest the benefits of re-development go far beyond carbon reductions. Our cities desperately need the aesthetic diversity and cultural activity supported through adaptive re-use.

Given the benefits of re-use – why are so many buildings demolished? There are three basic reasons.

First, too many politicians still feel it is better to cut the ribbon in front of a brand new, relatively nondescript, glass box than make the necessary longer term commitment towards a comprehensive, complex urban redevelopment strategy.

The second factor is more complicated. Current building codes and civic building permit policies make it very difficult to save buildings. It seems an old building is automatically “grandfathered” as a non-compliant fire hazard as long as the use doesn’t change. However, once renovated, EVERYTHING needs to be “brought up to current standards”. Many developers try this once or twice and then simply throw up their hands in frustration.

Almost everyone appreciates a century old marble staircase with intricate wood posts and wrought iron railings. These stairs can function effectively for hundreds of years, but become immediately “unsafe and non-compliant” the minute a building changes use.

The issue of course is insurance and legal responsibility. Can you be “partially compliant” – who takes responsibility?

I am not advocating unsafe buildings. In fact, I am suggesting that many older buildings could be much safer if there were some flexibility in allowing small changes in use, with incremental safety improvements.

Many landlords and developers are not prepared to spend any money on an existing building because it is too expensive to do a complete code upgrade. Also discouraging – many of those upgrades destroy some of the best features of the building. The result is many attractive, older buildings sit empty or end up with marginal, illegal or existing unsafe uses.

The third factor is related to code issues and the subtle way regulations discourage mixing uses in buildings. For example there are typically and quite logically, fire separation requirements between building uses which can be very complicated.

As we try to encourage people to live downtown, we should seriously consider changes to the interpretation and application of zoning and building code requirements to make it safe, legal and cost effective to have people living above retail and restaurant facilities using our rapidly vanishing, but extremely valuable existing building stock.

Charles Olfert is the Architecture Canada | RAIC regional director for Manitoba/ Saskatchewan. He is part of an amateur Blues Band that practices in a heritage building.

The application of regulations typically discourages upgrades of this building as well as many others in the neighbourhood.

via Demolition costs more than renting a bulldozer – Journal of Commerce.