Once existing industrial structures are no longer in use or have become abandoned, adaptive reuse projects can be an ideal solution to give new life to an old building, while simultaneously maintaining historic value and conserving resources.
And more and more architectural firms are hopping on board with the idea — whether because of the desire to conserve a historic property or landmark, the lack of available and appropriate land, or simply for environmental reasons, these firms are seeing the value in adaptive reuse as a viable solution to some of the biggest problems facing today’s CRE environment.
Keeping this in mind, let’s take a closer look at a few times industrial buildings were re-purposed, and why we love them…
1. The Green Building | Louisville, KY
Originally a dry goods store dating back more than 100 years, this project is a great example of what adaptive reuse can do. Completed in 2008, the Green Building boasts more than 10,000 square feet of mixed use commercial space with the best in energy efficient technologies. A green roof, solar panels, a stormwater collection system, and geothermal wells are just some of the solutions in place to ensure sustainability and lessen the environmental footprint of the space. The Green building is the perfect marriage of design and sustainability, and was the first LEED Platinum project in the city of Louisville, as well as the first LEED certified adaptive reuse project in the entire state of Kentucky.
2. MoMA PS1 | New York, NY
Billed as the Museum of Modern Art’s cooler, younger sibling, MoMA PS1 is known for exhibiting and showcasing some of the most “envelope-pushing” contemporary art in the world — and all from a former public school. Located just a quick trip from the flagship MoMA in Manhattan, this museum in beautiful Long Island City is beloved for not only its cutting edge exhibits, but also its famous “Warm Up” parties each summer. The space itself attracts visitors just as much as the art inside does — take a step inside, and you’re instantly transported to an old New York City school, both inside and out. MoMA PS1 features galleries that used to serve as classrooms, original wood floors and brick walls, and even a courtyard where kids once ran around and played in recess.
3. Gas Works Park | Seattle, WA
Once a productive and working plate that converted superheated coal and crude oil into synthetic gas, this staple among Seattle sights to see has been carefully preserved since the plant closed in the mid 1950s. Later opened to the public as a park in 1975, today’s Gas Works Park has been transformed into seven different sections that are open to the public. For safety reasons, much of the original plant remains fenced off from visitors, forming what has become affectionately dubbed the “forbidden zone.” Today, the park hosts all sorts of public events, including free live music and concerts, kite flying, athletic competitions, and even live action role playing tournaments. A poster project for adaptive reuse, this park remains one of the most beloved and popular spaces in Seattle, drawing in both tourists and locals alike.
Closer to home, The Los Angeles “Toy Factory” building, an industrial space dating back to 1924, has become one of the Arts District’s most chic warehouse apartments. This multi-family development is nothing short of spectacular.
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