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The reuse of older sites and buildings for new uses is a sustainable choice in building. It conserves land, saves energy and resources, and preserves our heritage.

Recognizing this, the city of Phoenix, Arizona has instituted its award-winning Adaptive Reuse Program. One of the most comprehensive programs of its kind in the nation, it offers guidance, expedited timeframes and reduced costs to customers applying to reuse older buildings for new business uses. According to a Phoenix official, “Adaptive reuse preserves our history, helps small business owners be successful, creates unique restaurant and business settings for all of us to experience, and it is environmentally friendly.”

Adaptive re-use is also quite popular for new residential uses, especially in cities, where older warehouse and manufacturing properties are commonly re-used as “loft” style residences.

Following are some striking examples of adaptive reuse for all types of buildings around the world:
a. Stable b. Living Room
Adaptive Reuse - Stable Before Adaptive Reuse - Stable After

  1. The interior of a barn on a 19th century dairy farm was used to stable draft animals.
  2. The interior of the stable has been transformed into living, dining and kitchen space. Sleeping quarters are on the upper level, the former hayloft.

Courtesy Studio One-Off Architecture & Design

Train Station  Musee D'Orsay - Art Museum 
 train station Adaptive Reuse - museum

Charles Street Jail  Boston Liberty Hotel
Boston Jail  Boston Hotel 
Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

Shipyard Corporate Headquarters
Adaptive Reuse - shipyard Corporate Headquarters
a.  b. 
Shipyard 2 Corporate 2
c.  d. 
  1. Launching of the Battleship U.S.S. New Jersey at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, December 7, 1942. (Photo courtesy of; donated by Corbis-Bettmann.)
  2. The monumental interior of Building 543 has been preserved--massive cranes now support delicate lanterns above bamboo gardens and koi ponds located in former pipe bending pits. The space now serves as a campus commons with support services and amenities such as a library and café, cafeteria, and fitness center. (Photo by Lara Swimmer.)
  3. The Philadelphia Naval Shipyard was a major shipbuilding and repair facility from 1868 through 1996. Decommissioned, it’s 187 buildings were abandoned and left to decay. (Photo by MS&R)
  4. Urban Outfitters purchased five abandoned buildings to renovate for the first phase of their new corporate campus. Buildings 12, 543, and 15 now frame a new central courtyard. (Photo by Lara Swimmer.)
Courtesy Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd

Sugar Silos Office Building
Sugar Silo 2 Office Building 1
Sugar Silo 1 Office Building 2

Courtesy Soeters Van Eldonk architecten