A major commercial remodel project can breathe new life into a building and community. It can also present risks and challenges when the remodel falls under the category of “adaptive reuse.”
Adaptive reuse is the process of remodeling an existing building for a purpose other than what it was originally built or designed for. It’s considered more sustainable than a new build and can come with efficiencies when the existing infrastructure is remodel-ready. The potential downside of that same coin is the risk that may come with the building’s age and the quality with which it was originally built.
When it comes to adaptive reuse, it’s part of our design-build team’s job is to help clients weigh these pros and cons.
One of our clients who opted for reuse was Groover Labs. Originally a lithograph print building in the Old Town district of Wichita, the site was transformed into a collective of work/creative spaces. The large space that once held the previous owner’s two large printing presses now functions as an art gallery and event space. The project turned the building into something new while honoring and integrating its history.
Another example is the Berney Family Welcome Center at Kansas State University. Built from 1922-1924 as a memorial to the students and alumni who sacrificed their lives during World War I, renovation to the stadium’s east side grandstands entailed a complete internal demolition and rebuild. Memorial Stadium now houses the Berney Family Welcome Center, including Student Services and the Career Center, while the seating area above was reimagined as a green roof.
Some of our experience in adaptive reuse comes from our own offices, specifically our Salina and Garden City locations. In both cities, we converted long-vacant downtown buildings into attractive spaces that illuminate the core areas in their communities.
“Choosing to adapt and reuse an existing building can be a great choice, because those buildings are often close to the heart of the community, in revitalized areas,” explained Hutton architect Emily Taylor. This means not only supporting growth, but also being an active part of it. “It’s cool when an existing building gets a new life in an area that’s important to the public. It puts employees close to the energy of the city and allows them to enjoy what’s nearby,” Taylor added.
Understanding your priorities, space needs, building condition and budget are key to transitioning from “it depends” to “let’s get started.” If you’re weighing reuse versus new construction, we can help by providing a site study or facility audit that details the condition, challenges, and costs of converting the property. Even better, our architects and designers can dream with you about a whole new life for a forgotten space.