Building Language: Adaptive Reuse

Written by on May 29, 2012 in Building Language - No comments
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Adaptive Reuse. Our last preservation themed Building Language term for Preservation Month lets us examine adaptive reuse. Adaptive reuse is the ultimate building recycling – when a structure can no longer function in its original purpose, it will be modified or rehabilitated to accommodate a new use. Although adaptive reuse is not limited to historic buildings, the terms are often synonymous with major historic structure projects. Adaptive reuse provides an opportunity to save historic buildings, as a new use may permit the future viability of the structure. There are many adaptive reuse examples across Indianapolis, but I chose a few to highlight today. Feel free to comment with some of your favorite examples of ones I did not feature!

Kendall Inn at the former Fort Benjamin Harrison

One of the largest adaptive reuse projects in Marion County is the closure of the former Fort Benjamin Harrison property in Lawrence. The closure of the Fort required innovation in ensuring that the former facility would find a new place within the community. Today, the former military structures have been adaptively reused into a variety of uses, ranging from condos, apartments, offices, and restaurants. The 1906 former hospital at Fort Benjamin Harrison now serves as Kendall Inn, a bed and breakfast located adjacent to the State Park. The project was completed following the Secretary of the Interior’s Rehabilitation Standards to ensure the historic features of the structure would be retained.

Union Station

Union Station is another example of adaptive reuse of a major Indianapolis icon. Although the main building was rehabilitated in the 1980s for a festival marketplace, this use ultimately was not successful for the space and now the main hall serves as banquet space. The train shed was turned into the Crown Plaza Hotel, while office space occupies other parts of the facility. Although Union Station has been adaptively reused, a small portion still operates for Amtrak service. However, the architectural and design details throughout remind us of this building’s wonderful history.

Add it to your vocabulary – how might one use today’s Building Language term in their everyday life?

Without the adaptive reuse of the structure from a factory to apartments, I doubt the building would have avoided the wrecking ball.

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About the Author

Raina Regan is an architectural historian employed by the Indiana National Guard. Her work encompasses statewide cultural resources projects with National Register eligible or listed structures. Raina has a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Visual Culture from Michigan State University and a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from Ball State University. Raina is an Indiana import by way of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan and loves the culture and architecture of the Midwest.

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