I can summarize the concept of adaptive reuse (in terms of architecture) as the revival of abandoned structures that have lost their function over time with new function(s) to meet today’s needs and make them add value to both themselves and their environment. The problem becomes complicated if the building is a historic building. The priorities of renewal require an accurate understanding of the values of the historic structure and finding functions to highlight those values. Conservation area is examined carefully and for this, there is no certain formula. In each structure, it is necessary to produce new formulas according to that structure. If the building is not a historic, artistic structure or doesn’t have a memorial value etc. but lost its function, interesting space experiences can be obtained with new uses instead of demolishing. In the last 20 years, very interesting examples have been realized in this field.
In today’s environmentally sensitive world, demolishment has an equivalent meaning with to hurt, to create rubble and ruin nature, to spend energy for a negative job. (Let us put aside the opportunism of “demolish it and built a new and bigger one” that is very valid in our culture.) However, to convert a structure which is assumed old-fusty-worthless into a valuable and reusable building with creative ideas can become a means of achieving several goals in one move. It causes the questioning and changing of standard of judgment. Therefore, in addition to providing enjoyable experiences through space, it contributes to the development of public thinking.
key ingredients and principles of a successful project
Unfortunately, there isn’t any certain formula for this issue. Every old-new relationship has to produce its own balance according to its unique case. There may be many reasons why an old building is valuable; age, production technique, memories, artistic factors, the state of being unique (rareness)… In this sense, being humble when doing something in the old one that is desired to be saved in social memory is a formula that usually works. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the new should stay in the background but rather the point is that the new should be articulated to old in a graceful and humble way. In a country like us, which has almost destroyed its historic heritage in the cities and seriously threatens the ones in countryside, it is beneficial keeping in mind the concept of humility, while striving for the reuse of old structures that have been able to survive. There are many opportunities for architectural attraction, but historic buildings should stay out of this.
challenges and design approach
According to other type of architectural projects, reuse projects are challenging and take long time in terms of architectural production and approval mechanisms. If the project is realized in a historic fabric, research is essential for identification the value of the structure and various sets of projects must be produced (survey, restitution, analysis, intervention decisions, reports etc.). It is necessary to ensure that all these stages are approved by the protection boards, which are very subjective and demanding processes. In restoration projects, it is usual to encounter a surprise. Unexpected situations may occur during the project phase or during implementation and the revision project is almost inevitable. While in ordinary projects, it is much easier and possible for the architect to perform implementation control of the construction drawn by another architect, in the renovation projects, the chief architect (designer) who is expected to know the structure better than anyone else should be included in the implementation process.
social and cultural significance of adaptive reuse
Without knowing and understanding the old, you cannot do enough to make the new and make sense of the present. An old building is actually a document. When you preserve and examine it well, you learn a lot of things not only in terms of architecture, but also from history, sociology, art, ethnography and so on.