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Many cities and countrysides are home to old, abandoned buildings—from warehouses to lighthouses to churches. Adaptive reuse offers a way to breathe new life into abandoned historic structures.

Aside from the historical and community benefits from retaining these old buildings, it is also a more environmentally sustainable way to build. The building industry is responsible for 39% of all CO2 global emissions, of which 11% are associated with construction, and adaptive reuse projects play a role in working to reduce these emissions.

One of the main environmental benefits of reusing buildings is the retention of the original building’s “embodied energy”. The CSIRO defines embodied energy as the energy consumed by all of the processes associated with the production of a building, from the acquisition of natural resources to product delivery, including mining, manufacturing of materials and equipment, transport and administrative functions. By reusing buildings, their embodied energy is retained, making the project much more environmentally sustainable than entirely new construction. New buildings have much higher embodied energy costs than buildings that are adaptively reused.

Added to these environmental benefits are the slowing of urban sprawl, maintaining cultural heritage, potentially lower construction costs, quicker construction timelines and the unique and character-filled buildings they create.

You can read about some of our favourite recent adaptive reuse projects by clicking on the images

Adaptive reuse renovation with recycled bricks
Will Gamble Architects transformed a Grade II listed Victorian house, disused cattle shed and the ruins of a former parchment factory have been preserved and turned into a distinctive character-filled home. Click on the above image to read the story
Timber framed concertina doors open
Designed by Arcgency, The Fabers Factories in Ryslinge, Denmark have been transformed into affordable housing using a ‘house within a house’ concept. Click on the above image to read the story
Restaurant interior salvaged bricks recycled metal sheets on ceiling
The KoCo restaurant, by Stapati Architects, has given a new identity to a 150 year old house in Kottayam, India. Click on the above image to read the story
Adaptive reuse cafe interior
The Lliro Cafe is an adaptive reuse project in Manacor on the island of Mallorca, which has transformed into a live music venue and coffee shop by Aulets Arquitectes + Carles Oliver. Click on the above image to read the story
Man seated in the living room with a dining table behind in renovated church
A 16th century abandoned Renaissance church with a collapsed roof has been adapted into a unique and character-filled home in the Spanish countryside by architect Garmendia Cordero Arquitectos. Click on the above image to read the story
Eco Edition_Sans Arc Studio_Part Time Lover_Architecture interiors 6-min
Part time lover is an adaptive re-use project by architects Sansarc Studio which upgraded an old kiosk in a laneway thoroughfare. Click on the above image to read the story
Eco Edition_Atelier Tao+C_Capsule Hotel_architecture interiors 10-min
An old house made with rammed earth walls and timber ceiling was salvaged and adapted into the boutique Capsule Hotel and Bookstore with a community library, by architects Atelier Tao+C. Click on the above image to read the story
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