This 4.543 billion years old earth, has seen so many transitions in the built environment around us.Some of these have stood against the ravages of time as strong art influences to behold at. But over the time , some have been left dilapidated because of certain situations and factors.Although the beauty remains but certainly not the functions which throw these architectural marvels into the hurricane of demolition.

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A process which saves them from this demolition and allows purposive reuse and renovation of these buildings into new structures which preserve the architectural character thereby changing the functions in the most apt way is called as Adaptive reuse.Adaptive reuse is in trend these days because it saves a lot of money inspite of giving aesthetics of par excellence.

Let us look at 5 contemporary examples of adaptive reuse at 5 different places and with 5 different typologies.

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1. Tate Modern, London

Reaching high into London’s skyline Tate Modern is a magnificent old oil-fired power station, which now after the redevelopment, houses an international collection of contemporary art dating from 1900 onwards. It has become the most visited tourist attraction in London.

The success is partly due to its location on the banks of the Thames but also because of the new use of spaces within the building. The main Turbine Hall, a huge space of 3,400 square meters that once housed the main electricity generators, was left in its original form, providing a vast gallery for art installations that often require public interaction and appreciation of the space. It is this space and its ability to be successfully transformed time and again so perfectly that has changed people’s perceptions of art, which is no doubt so much more than the architects were hoping for in their redesign.

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2. Quarry Theatre at St Luke’s / Foster

The Quarry Theatre at St Luke’s has been created from a redundant listed Moravian church and Minister’s House to inculcate a new performing arts center for Bedford School and the local community. The completed project has involved the conversion of the chapel into a 300 seat galleried courtyard theatre, restoration of the Minister’s House to provide front of house facilities like the booking office, a studio and other offices, backstage extension at the rear and the addition of a new foyer that wraps around the apsidal wall to the original chancel and a curved wall of glass bestows panoramic views over the secluded gardens of the old churchyard.

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The theatre is a flat-floored flexible studio space created by the insertion of a new steel structure within the volume of the existing church, which allows the existing interior features to read through. The existing balcony is retained but extended forward and re-tiered, to provide good sightlines to the stage area, and two levels of new galleries have been annexed at the sides, together with high level suspensions for scenery and stage lighting.

“The new addition is clearly contemporary but aims to work with the original building in terms of its form and materials.”,” said the architect Tim Foster.

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3. Alembic Industrial Heritage and Re-Development, India

The Alembic factory is located in the middle of the city and along the main railway line of the city of Baroda in Gujrat. Similar to many old factory buildings, this one got altered over the time due to change in the original purpose of the facility. Right from manufacturing penicillin to alcohol, the factory has seen many different folds of changes in its function and a few here and there in design. Finally, after its refurbishment in the year 2018, the space within is converted to serve the Alembic Museum, art studios, display and exhibition space with ancillary spaces for a library, AV room, and a cafe.

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The architectural purpose was to maintain the true spirit of the building in terms of materials and the physical quality of the space.

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4. Casa Comvert, Milan

Comvert – a company founded by four skater friends specializes in design, production and distribution of snowboards, clothing and accessories for both skate and snow boarders under the brand name bastard. They wanted their new space to house their flagship shopfront, a design studio, office, warehouse and a useable skate bowl, all within the same building. And in spring 2005, Studiometrico came up trumps; they had found an old 1950’s Cinema Istria which waas a cinema theater with an overall surface of 1.400 sqm and an overall volume of 6.600 m³, big enough to fulfil all Comvert’s needs.

Studiometrico has retained the character of the old building in all the possible ways like in fact, the foyer, which is now the administration centre of the building looks relatively untouched, while the dress circle has been converted to an amazing design studio and office space, providing the perfect creative working area. But it is the suspended skate bowl that catches the eye and makes the reuse so successful. Hanging six metres about the warehouse space, the skate bowl, affectionately known as bastard bowl, fills what was once the void above the seating area in the cinema.

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5. Seaholm Power Plant Re-Development

The Seaholm Power Plant Re-Development covers an area of 7.8-acre inculcating the residential urban neighborhood development with the renovated cast-in-place Power Plant at its heart.The new facilities are very well organised and adapted, each one serving different purposes with one of the original boilers being transformed into the swanky, 9,600 sq ft, four-story restaurant, Boiler Nine Bar + Grill. The Power Plant is neighbored by a contemporary 67,000 sq ft, two-story, mixed-use, LEED Gold® low-rise building and 615,000 sq ft, 30-story, 280-unit residential high-rise, creating a juxtaposition to bring to life, the 128,000 sq ft, adaptive reuse into the 21st century.

The sustainable efforts taken during refurbishment preserved or re purposed many historical elements into great use like the original intake systems into a 325,000-gallon rainwater harvesting system for site irrigation. The site achieved an Austin Energy Green Building rating of Four-Stars.

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Author

Sakshi Agrawal, a thorough enthusiast and an architecture student, she has a fascination for exploring the diverse Indian art, culture, food, people and places and their relationship with the architecture of a space. She is happy go lucky, fond of reading, sketching and a lot of coffee.

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