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Transforming Older Buildings Through Adaptive Reuse
An adaptive reuse project converted a 19th century Holy Trinity German Catholic Church and rectory into 33 luxury condos. PHOTO COURTESY OF CEI MATERIALS

When buildings grow old, adaptive reuse can transform and reinvent them into something other than what they were intended for. According to Mark Robins, senior editor for Metal Architecture Magazine, a building’s second life could be dramatically different in application from its original use. A dilapidated church could become condos; a historic municipal building could be converted to a restaurant.

Prolonging a building’s life from cradle-to-grave means all or most of its metal building system, including the structure, the envelope and even its interior materials can be used. This keeps geographical areas occupied, retains cultural heritage and reduces the consumption of building materials, resources, energy and water needed for new construction.

Adaptive reuse is on the increase for a variety of reasons. “An existing building may be selected due to the location, cool factor of saving an older building and converting it into a modern use, and even to save money,” says Charles Hendricks, AIA, CSI, CDT, CAPS, CGP, LEED AP BD&C, principal architect at Gaines Group Architects, Charlottesville, Va. “If the existing building is in good structural condition and there is no need for remediation of lead or asbestos, keeping the existing building can reduce the overall construction budget and timeline.”

For examples of adaptive building reuse, click here.


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