Better Than Before: 10 Unwanted Structures Transformed for New Uses

Medieval Village Ruins to Art School, France

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Art students at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) get to take over the ruins of an entire medieval village in the south of France. SCAD preservationists, alumni, staff and students work with local stone masons to restore the village, transforming it into classrooms, dorms and offices as ‘SCAD Lacoste.’

Industrial Ruins to Beach House, California

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The skeleton of a former industrial site remains visible as the basis of ‘Bay House,’ a converted residence by Razvan Barsan + Partners in California. The original elements are re stacked to create a layered arrangement interspersed with local materials like reed and bamboo.

Grain Silo to Community Food Hall, The Netherlands

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Now here’s an adaptive reuse project that pays beautiful tribute to the purpose of the original structure. Wenink Holtkamp Architecten turned a disused gain silo in The Netherlands into a food market, honoring its original purpose to feed the community. Its prime location on a harbor can now be enjoyed by locals thanks to large openings cut into the water-facing side.

Slaughterhouse to Creative Incubator, Madrid

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Factoria Cultural Matadero Madrid is a slaughterhouse turned incubator for creative startups, renovated by architecture firm Office for Strategic Spaces. Polycarbonate panels and sustainably sourced wood are used as a quick, simple and affordable way to insert new interior spaces into the vast open structure, complementing the original features.

Historic San Francisco Church Turned Loft Apartments

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Anyone who’s ever lounged at Dolores Park in San Francisco is probably familiar with this domed Neoclassical structure, which served as the Second Church of Christ, Scientist for 100 years. After membership dwindled and caring for the building seemed like too much to take on, the church considered razing the building to build a much smaller structure, but ultimately sold the property. The building has now been remodeled to serve as a series of unusual private residences featuring exposed brick walls and skylights, with many elements repurposed from the original building.