Thursday, June 11, 2009

☞ ARCHITECTURE: Adaptive Reuse

RECYCLE. With all the focus on new constructions in the now defunct real estate bubble, many have overlooked the green power of rehabilitating old, abandoned buildings. Ultimately, demolishing an old structure that has been a historic fixture of the neighborhood adds to the carbon footprint of the city because of the waste, energy and fuel it costs to have teams come in, dismantle and haul away rubble. There are signs of renewal in the mist, but often non-profit organizations interested in readaptive reuse work a bit slower, for funding is not as bountiful as what many developers are used to dealing with.

The top photo is that of Octagon building on Roosevelt Island that was literally in ruins for several decades (last photo) until it was restored and reconstructed for housing in 2006. A key detail of the design is that it is not only restoring a structure and adding 500 units of housing, but it is also low scale and does not override the neighborhood with its presence. Harlem has quite a few buildings that can go through this transformation, which would be a win-all situation for developers and residents.

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