Adaptive reuse in commercial architecture refers to the reuse of an existing building for a purpose that is different from the structural’s original function. This process is an effective and efficient strategy for ensuring current and optimal commercial operation of a previously built structural asset. Use of this practice promotes sustainability and the strength of a circular economy as an alternative solution to constructing a new building.

Increasing numbers of buildings have outlived their intended usefulness. The conversion of an existing empty warehouse into condominiums or repurposing an abandoned church to create a new restaurant is also often referred to as property turnaround, structural rehabilitation or historic development. 

The Practice of Adaptive Reuse in Commercial Architecture Today

Worldwide movements around the globe for preserving and repurposing architecture gained strength and focus during the 1960s. Today, this concept and practice of structural preservation is more basic and ingrained throughout global societies. This type of architectural rehab is now explained as the art and act of enabling the compatible use for an existing, but unused structure with use of repairs, renovations, alterations and additions while preserving areas and aspects of the original building that reveal and display its architectural, historical and cultural values.

It is not essential for every historic building to be repurposed for another use. At the same time, a building need not be designated as historic to be adapted and repurposed for current use. Adaptive reuse is a philosophical concept and decision for structural rehabilitation of a building rather than a government-decided mandate. 

In many instances, the expense of rehabilitating and restoring a building for adaptive reuse is greater than the cost of demolishing it and building a new structure. However, the decision to repurpose this building for adaptive reuse often wins out over less costly demolition and rebuilding for the following reasons: 

• Materials. Many older buildings were built using durable old brick, sturdy first-growth lumber and other pure, natural materials. Today’s popular construction materials like vinyl siding, fabricated sheeting and plasterboard cannot compare in quality and durability. Building materials that are over-processed using the lowest-cost methods and procedures available will not have the strength to withstand long-term use in repurposed building structures. 

• Sustainability. The entire process and enactment of adaptive reuse of architecture is inherently green in concept, materials and practice. The necessary building supplies are already produced and present on the building repurposing site. Since in many older buildings, much of the original structure can be reused for completing the repurposed structure, sustainability exists throughout all stages of the building’s rehab. 

• Culture. Architecture depicts and embodies history and memories. All areas and aspects of an existing architectural structure that can be preserved for adaptive reuse are contributing to the cohesive continuity of a valuable entity representing an essential culture.   

By consulting the architectural design and building experts of Marchese Partners, headed by Chairman and Founding Principal Eugene Marchese, you will benefit from highest caliber information, advice, designs and construction services for expert adaptive reuse of an existing older building.

Founded in Sydney, Australia, our top-rated firm has additional offices in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and numerous international locations. The firm has completed major award-winning projects in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the UK. Our highly skilled and acclaimed integrated design firm is now a leading innovator in all areas of superb contemporary architectural concept, design and building.