Building a sustainable environment: A guide to adaptive reuse architecture

Building a sustainable environment: A guide to adaptive reuse architecture
Louisville, United States by (fer) studio

Reuse is a term widely used in every sector of society. As time flies, waste generation is increasing day by day. Irresponsible waste disposal in every form is harmful to one’s health, environment, and society. Methods on how we can do to decrease this waste accumulation should be educated people. The primary method for reducing waste is the 3R method.

What are the 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) principles?

Building a sustainable environment: A guide to adaptive reuse architecture

The 3R Principle;

a. Reduce – Reducing the amount one buys is the primary solution to decreasing waste production. One can personally reduce the waste generated starting from individual households (in terms of kitchen/dry/wet waste)
b. Reuse – Reuse refers to any object that can be re-utilized for its function or purpose. Every person must prefer or utilize products that can be used more than once.
c. Recycle – Recycling is a process that ensures waste accumulation is reduced. The material is recycled, which means these materials are used as raw materials for other object manufacturing processes.

The 3R principle is applicable in several sectors. In the construction industry, the 3R method is reusing, reducing, and recycling materials and sometimes the entire structure.

What is adaptive reuse architecture?

Building a sustainable environment: A guide to adaptive reuse architecture
House of Vans London – London, United Kingdom by Tim Greatrex

In the Construction industry, as time flies by each structure being put up the space to build more buildings reduces. Adaptive reuse architecture refers to the repurposing of the existing structure giving it a new purpose. Every city/country is home to several abandoned structures that have fulfilled their purpose, reuse a process where these structures are repurposed. Adaptive reuse is the future of architecture which gives life to an existing abandoned structure without taking up more space.

Why is adaptive reuse important?

Building a sustainable environment: A guide to adaptive reuse architecture
Waste Side Story Pavilion by Cloud-floor

Adaptive reuse has significant importance since it helps preserve the heritage of the existing city fabric. The architecture of the city is kept intact by repurposing the existing structures. Adaptive reuse also helps to create a new community zone due to the insertion of a new fabric within the existing one.

Benefits of adaptive reuse

Building a sustainable environment: A guide to adaptive reuse architecture
Third Wave Kiosk by Tony Hobba Architects

Adaptive reuse architecture has several benefits to society and the environment also. Some benefits of adaptive reuse architecture;

a. Reduced material usage – Repurposing the existing structure helps reduce the need for extra new materials. The materials required for a project, from the initial foundation-laying process to the completion stage get reduced due to the presence of an existing structure.
b. Lower construction cost – Adaptive reuse as a process does not require a new structure to be built from scratch hence the cost of construction is low. Repurposing a structure is a faster and less costly process of construction.
c. Lack of Demolition – Clearing out the site land and demolishing an existing structure to build a new one is not required. Demolition causes harm to the air quality of the environment, which is carried out during adaptive reuse architecture.
d. Low-time consumption process – In comparison to building a new structure from the initial process, adaptive reuse is a much faster process.
e. History preservation – Adaptive reuse is a process that helps preserve the existing fabric and the history of the fabric and the building.
f. Sustainable process – Due to the reuse of the existing structure and materials, it has a lesser impact on the environment. Adaptive reuse is the future of sustainable architecture.
g. Energy conservation – Less energy, labor, and materials required to complete an adaptive reuse project.

Gucci Art Lab

Building a sustainable environment: A guide to adaptive reuse architecture
@ Gucci ArtLab – Gucci Equilibrium

Location: Via Delle Nazioni Unite, Scandicci, Italy
Area: Around 40,000sqm
Project type: Commercial | Reuse
Construction: 2012-2019

The Gucci art lab located in Italy produces leather goods and handmade footwear products. The Art Lab spanning around 40,000 sqm of area is a re-converted structure from the existing warehouse. The warehouse was fully renovated and refurbished into a new prototype experimenting facility. The exterior perimeter walls are decorated with world-famous handmade graffiti signed by contemporary artists.

Building a sustainable environment: A guide to adaptive reuse architecture
@ Gucci ArtLab – Gucci Equilibrium

The spaces were designed and planned in the warehouse according to requirements and which houses 800 employees. The interiors are decorated with Gucci décor objects and feature a bold red staircase. Some of the spaces designed in the art lab;

a. Test lab
b. Full house prototyping lab
c. Accessories lab
d. R & D Laboratories
e. Foot ware department
f. Pre industrialization area

Cargo Lane Terraces

Building a sustainable environment: A guide to adaptive reuse architecture

Location: Alexandria, Sydney
Units: Six three-story houses with 34 apartments
Project type: Residential | Reuse
Construction: Completed 2014

Cargo Lane Terraces were designed by Turner + Associates and PBD Architects in Sydney, Australia. The luxurious apartment is inserted into an existing worn-out brick façade warehouse. The brick façade of the warehouse is retained with a renovated luxury interior palette. This project is the perfect example where an alternative to building an entirely new structure, an abandoned warehouse can be transformed into a completely new luxurious design.

The diverse material palette used for the structure and details is steel, concrete, Renovated brick façade, Western Red Cedar battens, and Fielders Nail strip. The rustic exterior is in contrast to the light-filled open interior space.

Utopia Library

© Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti

Location: Aalst, Belgium
Project type: Educational | Public | Reuse
Construction: 2018

KAAN Architecten has designed a study hall/library that spans an area of 8,000 sqm. According to the architects, in the book Utopia by Aalst, the new building is slotted in urban fabric to enhance and interact with the irregular street character. The library building incorporates the old brick exterior façade an aesthetic attraction point in the zone. This former military school was redesigned into a modern light airy library space.

© Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti

The materials used for construction are raw concrete, brick facades, light walls, and large glass skylights (Atrium Long lights). The brick red façade blends with the urban city fabric and the space are in contrast with its sustainable and open design. The structure combines music school and library.

We Work Wiehai Lu

Building a sustainable environment: A guide to adaptive reuse architecture

Location: Jing’An District, Shanghai, China
Area: 5,500sqm
Project type: Public | Reuse
Construction: 2016

Linehouse Architects created a co-working space within the century-old brick building, which was once an opium factory and artist’s residence. This building is within the old residential district in the heart of Shanghai. This public space is tucked within the old urban fabric of the city. Linehouse celebrates the glory of the building and surrounding urban fabric by creating it into a space with a feel of grand, luxury, and festivity.

The building combines the brick building and further industrial renovations over the years. The versatility of materials used is wood, oak wood, concrete, steel, and bright color palettes – green, gold, blue, pink, Poppy wallpapers, terrazzo, and bronze. Linehouse designed the space to be a blend of history and modernity.

The central atrium is located within the old brick façade structure. The existing steel stair structure is painted in Ivy green tint with metal hand trails through the triple height space. Custom wallpapers and the pop of bright colors transform into a modern space amidst the old structure. The toilets are designed with a splash of color, pink and grey tone tiles lines, and shapes.

Jaegersborg Water tower

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Area: 5,370 sqm
Project type: Mixed-use | Reuse
Construction: 2006

An old water tower turns student housing units on the upper floors to form the perimeter of the existing structure. Each unit is distinguished by a protruding crystal-like add-on that lets in natural light and provides unobstructed views of the surrounding landscape.

Together, the crystals and communal balconies add a human scale as well as a new sculptural layer that emphasizes the tower’s landmark character. The lower floors house a youth center and have several large multipurpose rooms. The youth center is surrounded by a varied pattern made up of tall windows and colored panels. Large garage-style doors on the ground floor swing open, allowing the active indoor space to spill out into the outdoor playground.

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