Second lives: our favourite adaptive reuse projects of 2020

From a revived powerhouse in Wisconsin to a converted railway terminal in Brussels

As we grow increasingly conscious of our consumption in our attempt to move away from a throwaway culture, the way we consume architecture should not go unnoticed. Increasingly, studios are foregoing the need to dream up a brand new scheme and are instead turning their attention to transforming buildings that have become derelict versions of their former selves into places that serve the next generation for years to come.

Here are our favourite examples of adaptive-reuse architecture from the last 12 months.

Sawmills Food Market in New Mexico

Photography: Read McKendree

In New Mexico, a former timber warehouse was reimagined by Islyn Studio to become the Sawmill Market – a 40,000 sq ft space filled with restaurants, cocktail bars, taprooms and test kitchens.

Photography: Read McKendree

Pegboards, steel beams, re-used rail tracks and burnished wood are all details used by the New York-based studio in a bid to recall the area’s industrial heritage.

Get a closer look at the new food hub.

Gare Maritime in Brussels

Photography: Filip Dujardin

Studio Neutelings Riedijk Architects took the 113-year-old Gare Maritime terminus in Brussels and revived it as a mixed-use neighbourhood hub, housing startups, shops, restaurants and a space for public events.

Photography: Filip Dujardin

The building’s industrial structure was originally constructed in 1902 and remains a prominent feature of the updated design, with new cross-laminated timber (CLT) volumes slotted in and around its steel girders.

Read more.

Béton House student accommodation, Sheffield

Photography: Louise Melchior

Colours and materials informed by Le Corbusier’s palette were used in the renovation of the brutalist Park Hill Estate in Sheffield, which is now a student housing complex named Béton House.

Photography: Louise Melchior

Under the watchful eye of Whittam Cox Architects, the Grade II*-listed complex has retained much of the original structure devised by architects Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith between 1957 and 1961, with the all-important concrete shell and outdoor walkways preserved and restored to original proportions.

Take a look at 6 of Sheffield’s best brutalist landmarks.

Beloit College Student Union in Wisconsin

Courtesy Studio Gang

Buildings that once made up the Black Hawk Generating Station on Wisconsin’s Rock River was transformed into a student union space for Beloit College by American practice Studio Gang. Inside, the design incorporates areas for students to socialise and exercise, including a three-lane track that runs throughout the building.

Courtesy Studio Gang

MuseumLab – The Children’s Museum in Pittsburgh

Photography: KoningEizenberg Architecture

A lightning-struck Carnegie library in Pittsburgh became a children’s museum, years after a freak accident had left it in a state of disrepair. KoningEizenberg Architecture’s gentle renovation saw it become a space that offers experimental art and technology activities for children and housing a middle school and a community space.

Photography: KoningEizenberg Architecture

Explore more libraries across the globe?

Tap Room apartment at Restoration House

Taproom apartment at a converted brewery in Rochester
Photography: Aucoot

The Tap Room apartment sits inside a former brewery in the grounds of Rochester’s Restoration House. It underwent adaptive reuse to become a cosy home, with double-height pitched ceilings and rooms arranged around a 35-ft-long living space. A window into the building’s industrial past is evident, courtesy of patinated white tiles, copper pipes, exposed rafters and Crittal windows.

Taproom apartment at a converted brewery in Rochester
Photography: Aucoot

Reclaimed wooden flooring, metal light fittings and reconditioned cast iron radiators emphasise the former brewery’s industrial atmosphere. A timeless colour palette of white and muted green brings it all up to date. The apartment is currently for sale via Aucoot.

See our top properties of 2020

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