7 Stunning Examples of Adaptive Reuse in Cities

When buildings are abandoned, it creates further waste in cities when new construction takes its place. Instead of allowing this to happen, many renovators are choosing adaptive reuse initiatives.

Adaptive reuse is a concept that refers to turning an old structure into something new and useful. This goes beyond renovation because the finished product becomes something completely different than its original purpose. For example, warehouses have been turned into grocery stores, abandoned railroad stations have become restaurants, and factories have been turned into offices.

Adaptive reuse is an essential practice for those who live within cities. It reduces emissions, improves city appearances, and generates goodwill among the community. If you’re considering an adaptive reuse project in your hometown, here are some of the best examples throughout the world.

Adaptive Reuse in Cities

  1. The Goat Farm Arts Center, Atlanta

According to a blog post from AssetsAmerica.com, the 10-acre Goat Farm Arts Center was once a manufacturing plant for mortars and ammunitions in World War II. Now, it features artists’ studios, a café, exhibition halls, an education center, and even an organic goat farm. Read their post for more brilliant ideas for adaptive reuse of industrial buildings.

  1. Gasometer City, Vienna

Vienna, Austria was once home to four huge gasometers, tanks that stored and measured gas for the city from 1896-1984. These huge containers became an issue within the community, as they often attracted druggies, raves, and other problems.

After about 10 years of this, the city decided to revitalize these gas plants into something more useful: a series of apartment complexes and entertainment centers. Four renowned designers each took on a gasometer, developing some of the most sought-after residential communities within the city.

  1. Foundation Hotel, Detroit 

For 84 years, the building that now houses the Foundation Hotel in Detroit was home to Michigan’s oldest fire department. After they vacated in 2013 to a new, state-of-the-art fire house, Aparium Hotel Group decided this pillar of the community shouldn’t go to waste.

The group took the neo-classical, five-story building and turned it into one of the most popular hotels in the city. They tried to incorporate some of the old features, like the red fire doors and salvaged wood to keep the history of the building alive.

  1. The High Line, Manhattan

While the term adaptive reuse is often used in reference to buildings, New York city took on a new kind of project that opened in 2009: The High Line.  It’s a gorgeous park and walking trail that once served as the elevated rail track along 10th avenue. It’s a beautiful tribute to the past and adds to the charm and beauty of one of the country’s most prominent cities.

  1. Café Restaurant, Amsterdam  

The Café Restaurant Amsterdam has become one of the most popular eateries in the area. It was once a water-processing plant dating back to the late 1800s. The building was in good shape, even though it had been abandoned. As part of the establishment’s charm, many of the pipes and the main pump were left intact as a display.

The architects of this restaurant went one step further in their adaptive redesign and found reclaimed items from around the city to complete the project. For example, they used huge floodlights from the former Ajax and Olympic football stadiums to light the restaurant.

Amsterdam has always been considered a forward-thinking city for its green products, making it an easy favorite among the locals and tourists alike.

  1. The Green Building, Louisville

At the completion of the project in 2008, the Green Building in Louisville, Kentucky was a 115-year-old building that had housed a dry goods store at one point. After the architects at (fer) studio were done with it, it became a huge mixed-use commercial building featuring an event space, offices, a conference room, and an art gallery.

The Green Building boasts another accomplishment because it was the first LEED-certified adaptive reuse project in Kentucky. With this building leading the way, there have been many green projects developed in the area.

  1. CasaComvert, Milan 

A unique adaptive reuse project comes from Milan where a 1950’s movie theater was turned into a commercial building for the clothing design company, Comvert. Comvert’s audience is primarily skateboarding and snowboarding enthusiasts looking for brand name items and a brand-new experience.

The building features not only a warehouse, retail shop, and offices, but also a design studio and a useable skate bowl where avid skaters can practice and connect. The old movie theater was perfect for this project and is one of the most innovative examples of today’s adaptive reuse.

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