Repurposed Architecture: Finding New Meanings in Abandoned Factories, Monasteries and Homes

More often than ever, architects are concerning themselves not with building things, but with re-building them — rethinking, redesigning and repurposing existing structures to meet new needs. These needs may include concerns about sustainability, lack of resources, legal restrictions or even historic preservation. Rather than hindering creativity, however, recycling old buildings offers architects opportunities to reanimate unique spaces, engage with architectural traditions, and build off the legacies of established sites. Repurposed architecture can play a role in revitalizing communities, as well. Increasingly often, old factories and other industrial structures are becoming the centers of new economies or — ironically — sites of leisure. Repurposed buildings are not simply reincarnations of their former selves; an arts center does not have the same relationship to a community as a factory. But these projects do not act as replacements or departures from what preceded them, either. When architecture is successfully repurposed, it does not hide its history, but instead becomes a relic, projecting its identity into a new age, and embodying the contradictory qualities of tradition and innovation, of preservation and progress. Finally, the repurposing of architecture is nothing new. The Hagia Sophia has been rebuilt, redesigned and redecorated many times in its ...
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