10 More Clever Examples of Adaptive Reuse

arsenal-highbury-square (Image: Highbury Holdings Ltd via coltinfo.co.uk)

As we saw in Part One, adaptive reuse is a great way to repurpose the important historical features of our world. At Urban Ghosts, we enjoy discovering how old structures have met with modern architecture and design to create something new and useful for the future. This article features 10 more intriguing examples of adaptive reuse, from roads and ruins to temples and towers.

Proposal to Reuse Abandoned Sewage Silos in Amsterdam



zeeburg-sewage-silos-adaptive-reuse-4 (Images: Jacob Johan, cc-nc-nc-sa-4.0Arons en Gelauff)

In 2009, Floor Arons and Arnoud Gelauff won a design competition with their proposal for the old ‘Zeeburg Silos‘ in Zeeburgereiland, Amsterdam. The plans included a cinema, theatre, exhibition area, retail outlets and a restaurant boasting panoramic views of the city. For younger visitors, the architects incorporated a play area in to the design, complete with a huge giraffe slide as featured in the late Annie Schmidt’s popular children’s book, ‘Dikkertje Dap.’ By day, ivy would offer a natural appeal to the silos and by night, the silos would glow with clever light features to help draw in the crowds. But time will tell whether this new cultural venue will become a reality. (Read more.)

Rotterdam’s Hofplein Viaduct to Become Linear Urban Park



de-hofbogen-rotterdam-4 (Images: Doepel Strijkers)

Rotterdam’s Hofplein Viaduct is to become a ‘green connector’ called de Hofbogen. The recreational, linear urban ‘roof park’ will link several northern suburbs of Rotterdam, while spaces in the arches beneath will become a new medley of leisure and retail units let and managed by Hofbogen BV. In 2011, a mini mall opened in Pompenburg within seven of the original Hofplein Station’s vaulted arch spaces. As well as food outlets and shops, there is a nightclub and access to the roof area. Doepel Strijkers have also designed a heating system for De Hofbogen which will recycle waste heat from surrounding buildings. (Read more.)

Old Military Chapel Transformed into Chic Antwerp Restaurant


the-jane-antwerp-converted-chapel-2 (All images by Piet Boon)

The impressive chapel of a former military hospital in Antwerp, Belgium, has been transformed in to Sergio Herman’s chic new restaurant, The Jane. Working alongside fellow chef, Nick Bril, Herman waited three years to see this spectacular venue through its renovation to its grand opening in March 2014. Piet Boon designed the interior while a host of artists and designers contributed their visions to everything from the leather bread baskets to the inspirational lighting. At the head of the former chapel sits the kitchen, housed in glass, allowing diners to admire the culinary artists at work within. (Read more.)

Fichte-Bunker: From 19th Century Gasometer to Modern Apartments



repurposed-gasometer-Fichtebunker-3 (Images: Beek100, cc-sa-3.0Mike Herbst, cc-sa-3.0ZinCo GmbH)

The Fichte-Bunker in Berlin, Germany, has been through several phases of adaptive reuse. It originally started life as a brick-built gasometer in 1874 before having its walls reinforced with three meters of concrete to allow it to serve as an air raid shelter during World War Two. The solid structure then spent a stint as a post-war refuge, a shelter for Berlin’s homeless and an emergency supply building during the Cold War. Finally, in 2010, it became ‘The Circlehouse,’ an exclusive apartment tower with thirteen 2-storey condominiums seated on top of this ex-gasometer. Architect Paul Ingenbleek and engineer Michael Ernst completed the 13 segments of luxury living with glass external walls and private roof gardens. (Read more.)

Ancient Adaptive Reuse at the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina


San-Lorenzo-in-Miranda-Temple-of-Antoninus-and-Faustina-adaptive-reuse-2 (Images: Wknight94L.VII.C; cc-sa-3.0)

The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, which can be found in the Roman Forum in Rome, Italy, is a fantastic example of centuries-old adaptive reuse. The temple was originally completed around 160 AD for Emperor Antoninus Pius and his wife, Faustina. In 1150 AD, the temple was recorded as the ancient Church of San Lorenzo in Miranda and the structure had probably been reborn as a church hundreds of years earlier. However, its adaptation did not stop there. The building was nostalgically returned to a temple in the 1530s for the visiting Emperor Charles V, only to be remodelled to house a Roman Catholic Church again several decades later. (Read more.)

Highbury Square: Arsenal Stadium Becomes Luxury Apartments


arsenal-highbury-stadium (Images: Highbury Holdings Ltd via coltinfo.co.ukQwghlm, cc-sa-3.0)

When Arsenal Football Club relocated to the Emirates Stadium in 2006, the Gunner’s old Highbury Stadium found a new lease of life hosting luxury accommodation in this highly sought after London location. Known as Highbury Square, the newly-built apartment blocks now sit where the North Bank and southern Clock End stands once were. However, the 1930s Art Deco East Stand and West Stand were carefully remodelled to create some exclusive apartments. The East Stand’s listed facade was also nostalgically restored and the pitch has been appropriately reused to provide a two acre patchwork of gardens and communal spaces. (Read more.)

Million Donkey Hotel: Medieval Ruins Become Unique Lodgings


million-donkey-hotel-2 (Images: feld72)

In 2005, a group of five architects known as feld72, took on the task of repurposing some medieval ruins nestled within the side of a castle-topped hill in Prata Inferiore, Italy. 10,000 euros, local resources, around 30 volunteers and a community spirit all helped to fuel the creation of the Million Donkey Hotel in just one month. This back-packers’ retreat has a bathroom and sleeping areas as well as unique spaces such as a suspended cage bedroom attached to the exterior wall. The other aspect of this adaptive reuse is that the Million Donkey Hotel also offers communal spaces which locals of all ages can use. (Read more.)

Vienna’s ‘Gasometer’ Transformed into an Indoor Urban Village


vienna-gasometer (Images: franzj, cc-nc-nd-4.0; Andreas Poeschek (middle, right), cc-sa-2.0Franz Kapaun)

From 1899 to 1984, four gasometers in Vienna, Austria, were used for their original purpose of storing gas. From the late 1990s to 2001, construction work took place and the site gained new highway and subway connections. During this time, the old giants underwent a huge transformation from gas bells to brand new urban complex. Each gasometer is now unique, having been designed by four different leading architects. Currently, the brick-built cylinders offer several hundred offices and apartments, a multi-purpose events space, a cinema and a partially underground shopping precinct called Gasometer City. In striking contrast to the vast brick structures, a 22 storey ‘shield’ tower has also been added to Gasometer B. (Read more.)

The Madrid Rio Project: Busy Road Transformed into Urban Park



madrid-rio-project-adaptive-reuse-3 (Images: West8.nl)

A massive stretch of road, running largely alongside the Manzanares River in Madrid, is now a 10 km-long urban park with seventeen children’s play areas, an urban beach, a BMX circuit and a rock climbing centre. As well as providing space for courts, pitches, skating rinks, an auditorium and a cultural centre, the Madrid Rio Project created a green belt and cycling network linking green spaces and historic locations across six districts. While road traffic has been diverted underground, the Madrid Rio offers exclusive pedestrian footbridges, viewing points and cycling routes. The development appears to have been a fantastic success, improving both the river and the local quality of life. (Read more.)

The Creative Transformation of Thorpeness Water Tower

house-in-the-clouds-thorpeness-water-tower (Images: Roy Henderson, cc-sa-3.0 ; Ian Capper, cc-sa-3.0)

Understood to have been named The House in the Clouds by children’s writer, Mrs Malcolm Mason, this former water tower in Suffolk is now one of the most unique holiday homes in the UK. Disguised as a house from its inauguration in 1923, the water tower once served the village of Thorpeness. Notably, it was shot by an English Bofor aiming for a V1 Flying Bomb in 1943. In 1963, a new water supply rendered the tower and its well surplus to requirements. The tank was removed and, in the late 1980s, the entire structure was remodelled in to living accommodation. As if the building didn’t have enough character, there’s also a British red telephone box parked outside. (Read more.)

Read Part One: 10 Inspiring Examples of Adaptive Reuse



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