Re-creation: the reclamation of existing structures for new activities
Schall, David E.
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Adaptation is the re-use of an existing structure whose function is no longer of value. The industrial revolution has accelerated the need for adaptation of buildings' uses due to the fact that commercial structures often outlive their functional purposes and are produced in large numbers. American society now can choose from three options of what to do with these leftover residuals. The first option is to destroy the existing structure and start anew. However, by demolishing the existing structure, the designer destroys part of the site's context. The second option is to do nothing and leave these structures abandoned to eventually decay. The third option is to adapt the existing structure to a new activity. Adaptation of a structure allows for the opportunity to retain a direct reference or tie to the site's context. This tie to the past is sought by each one of us in some way to link us to and remind us of civilization's accomplishments. Adaptation offers an opportunity to transform a commercial building into a piece of architecture that is richer in meaning. The written part of my thesis will explore a design process that will enhance the quality of the design of adaptive architecture. The adaptive use is a balance in the combining of the existing structures past with the essence of the new activity. The adaptive design process will be tested through the use of an architectural design problem. The project will consist of a programmatic phase and a design phase for an existing structure on a site in the Metroplex. The site is in Dallas on Greenville Ave between Walnut and Park Road. Located on the site is an abandoned concrete structure previously used as a restaurant storage facility. The program will be developed for an art gallery complex. The solution of the design problem will be derived from the guidelines set up in the thesis paper. The goal of this design project is to successfully demonstrate a process for adapting an existing structure to a new use while retaining its past essence.