Adaptive Reuse Roundtables Convert Obsolete Buildings into New Homes
The urgency of housing shortage and climate change requires concerted efforts to evaluate the potential of existing and outdated structures.
This ongoing, multimodal research initiative dedicated to adaptive reuse practices includes an international survey displayed on the website, final research report, archival interviews, three roundtable discussions, and a short documentary. Our exploration offers possible routes to understanding the complexity of consciously engaging with our past and envisioning the types of futures we would like to build. Even a brief engagement with these practices reveals the vast breadth of challenges, like historic preservation, seismic retrofitting, environmental remediation, labor, material, and planning requirements attached to different funding sources.
How do we navigate a complicated and cumbersome process of adaptive reuse? With a global focus on the conservation of resources, what potential do the functionally and economically obsolete buildings hold for housing those who need it the most?
We accept that our perspectives are partial and will never be complete, but they offer a framework for updating our beliefs in what is possible to do in the face of the acute housing shortage.
1. Being at Home: Housing and Identity
How do we support, plan, and design needs-based affordable housing? When we consider the diverse makeup of very low-income and houseless communities, the question of access to housing needs to be considered in parallel with community identities. Senior living, extended healthcare services, safety and security, mental wellness programs, and the needs of LGBTQIA+ communities are some of the needs that influence every aspect of planning for affordable housing projects. This panel gathers to discuss the types of support for needs-based affordable housing, building a sense of community over time, and how the prospect of adapting existing buildings for housing can present both challenges and opportunities for the design of homes for all.
Ghazal Khezri, Director at Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects
Alex Cho, Property Supervisor at Clifford Beers Housing
Susie Shannon, Homeless and Anti-poverty Activist
Moderated by Sasha Plotnikova, Designer and Educator
2. Finding Allies: Coalition Building, Financing, and Community Involvement
The complex matrix of state and local policies, financing strategies, and neighborhood conditions makes planning for affordable housing a complicated strategic task. Historically, adaptive reuse complicates this task further with zoning intricacies, unexpected renovation costs and overwhelming project lengths. In the present, new policies and strategies are looking for ways to alleviate these pressures on adaptive reuse. Furthermore, allied interests are building networks of support for adaptive reuse which highlight the benefits of placemaking, historic preservation, and sustainable building practices. Revitalizing both regulatory and supportive frameworks may hold the key to providing thousands of affordable housing units across Los Angeles through adaptive reuse. This panel’s goal is to identify present challenges to adaptive reuse, but more importantly to demystify the overwhelming complexities of project planning in search of new possibilities for affordable housing.
3. In Situ: Place, Design, and Infrastructure
This panel discussion will focus on details of adaptive reuse projects. Building typologies, neighborhood fabrics, code compliance, sustainability, connections to infrastructure, accessibility, and building technologies interweave in complex and site-specific conditions. What buildings work for adaptive reuse? What neighborhood and infrastructural characteristics impact adaptive reuse projects? Are there buildings that are easier to adapt for housing than others? How do we track carbon footprints in adaptive reuse projects? This discussion will place the in-situ elements of adaptive reuse on the table for close consideration. We will question current practices and consider how changing contexts will impact the practical details of design in adaptive reuse under the strict circumstances of affordable housing budgets.
SCI-Arc R*Search Working Group: Masha Hupalo, Case Miller, Hannah Mann, Richard Mapes, James Piccone, Artem Panchenko.
More Information: https://adaptivereuses.online