Adaptive ReUse: Making Communities Out of Unused Structures

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Abandoned Walmart building, Bardstown, Ky., Julie Christensen   

Abandoned Walmart building, Bardstown, Ky., Julie Christensen

 

What can be done with architecture that doesn’t work? Demolish it and rebuild? Ignore it? How about use it!

As part of a symposium by the Museum of the City of New York this past weekend, Emmanuel Blaumont, an associate from Ateliers Jean Nouvel in Paris, briefly described a vision of transforming abandoned Wal-Marts into new communities with inner courtyards and changing gruesome low-income high rises into functioning office buildings with shops and restaurants on the ground floors.  This is all about converting formerly single use structures into mixed-use organisms; recycling to an extreme.

Just think of it, like a dream come true: hideous big box stores rendered obsolete by the economy’s call for paring back. Ultra-simple mega structures become attractive umbrellas for communities that used to travel everywhere by car; but now everyone rides bicycles, takes trains, and walks on Main Street again. Some of the big boxes become apartments and condominium buildings, others museums, or hotels. Imagine also those dilapidated, burned out housing projects, once the apple of Le Corbusier’s eye, cleared of floor-to-ceiling fences and dry wall and opened up to floors of offices and cubicles. See the new ground floor walls now opened by cafés, shops, and other services; the more the better.

On the same note, do you remember the idea of shipping containers used for housing and other building structures? LOT-EK of New York proposed CHKs (Container Home Kits) and the Container Mall, both of which made a lot of sense; it would be great to see this kind of work more available to the public. And it’s recently gone a step further. Morris Architects and their Oil Rig Resort is a new high-end proposal for such recycling. In renderings, Morris shows off ships full of converted containers being transported, luxuriously, of course, to oilrigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

Images: The rooms arrive by ship – before sliding open to form individual cabinettes. Courtesy of Morris Architects

Images: The rooms arrive by ship – before sliding open to form individual cabinettes. Courtesy of Morris Architects

It’s great to see this kind of thinking coming to life in renderings, at least. But this is a chance for architects and designers to gather around adaptive reuse and begin to make it a reality. Perhaps this is the next step in innovation where the glass box will be overruled by a tower of converted containers.

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One Response to “Adaptive ReUse: Making Communities Out of Unused Structures”

  1. Dina Says:

    I want to open my small business but i didn’t found a support someone give me an advise !!!

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