The co-factor in repurpose
We’re all familiar with that old chestnut: location, location, location. The set response when questioning the three key criteria for successful building projects. Only: is the best location for a factory always slap-bang in the centre? And is it really such a good idea to build a sprawling new district comprised exclusively of apartment blocks, without a single shop, office or café to be seen? The answer is no to both. Because, the perfect mix of user functions is equally as important as location. What’s feasible, what’s permitted and what’s required? That’s why bow architecten is committed to intelligent repurposing. The painstaking refinement of all the pieces of the puzzle for a seamless fit. That’s our customised repurposing process, that’s our challenge!
All the pieces of the puzzle? Yes, because the role of the urban planner and architect is usually much broader in repurposing than in new-build projects. There’s not the luxury of an empty piece of land that can be built on according to clear regulations. Instead, there’s a history, of people and buildings. And that’s just one of the many elements that we need to consider. In the light of new trends and with a continuous eye on the future.
There’s no blank canvas. Repurposing therefore demands a customised solution. We not only customise according to the customer’s needs and requirements, but also in line with the constraints of the zoning plan, urban design plan (UDP) or spatial implementation plan (SIP). We create a new master plan for building and site, which seamlessly connects the repurposed building to the wider surroundings and heritage of the repurposed site.
The planning process is consequently longer than for an empty plot of land. But we certainly don’t regard this as a disadvantage. Indeed, it allows concepts more time to mature, enables the assimilation of ideas for increased support, and encourages greater engagement from the local authorities, local community and the users of the repurposed building.
We continue to hone all the pieces of the puzzle throughout the entire repurposing process of the building or site. Requesting zoning changes, consulting with the various stakeholders and gradually transforming the site, all takes time. During the transition period, we therefore seek ways of placing the site at the disposal of the local community, social organisations or artists etc. This makes it instantly apparent that a transformation is underway. And we sometimes invite future users to test parts of the building, with a view to incorporating their insights into the final implementation plan.
All of these insights shape the final repurposed solution, which is tailored to the environment, the location and, most importantly, the users. The one constant? The needs and requirements continue to increase - and thus so too do the challenges faced by the repurposing architect. We strive for multi-purpose buildings and sites; not only to save on space, but also finances. This goes way beyond a shared coffee corner. We gather all of the stakeholders around the table and pull out all the stops. More green space? Yes please! But what concessions are consequently required? Are such green spaces intended for communal use? Perhaps the provision of a number of shared cars and bicycles (resulting in the need for fewer parking spaces) will be enough to eliminate parked cars that are now surplus to requirements. The end-to-end planning process that is integral to repurposing, compels those involved to question old habits and beliefs.
It’s not uncommon for new qualities and solutions to be found in communal living, co-housing, co-working, the sharing economy and, lastly, efficient water and energy management. Such as communal energy generation, communal water purification and circular water consumption for example. Harnessing the latest technology, such as smart cities and smart grid solutions, and Building Information Modeling (BIM), additionally helps to give old buildings a bright, new and also profitable future, time and again. With a responsible use of space of course (because we never work on new plots of land), which is the guiding principle of the concrete ban or construction shift.
Does contemplating the options that are feasible within the contours of an existing site in a prime location now seem more appealing? Ready to brainstorm the perfect solution for your repurposing project? Contact us, regardless the stage of your thought process, and bow architecten will happily supply the missing pieces of your puzzle. Or more precisely, the customised building blocks for your repurposing project.
Do you or do you know someone with former business premises or a derelict site that you don't know what to do with it?
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