Rethinking adaptive reuse
Author(s)Benardete, Emma A., 1973-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
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Adaptive reuse of manufacturing plants in post-industrial countries has become an increasing trend. In the United States, evidence of our industrial past is present in both urban and rural landscapes. The appearance of "brownfields" is due to the change in the U.S. economy from heavy industry and the manufacturing of commodities to the digitized products and supports required of the information age. The need to recycle these lands is part of the realities we face, as we become increasingly aware of the environmental damage caused by the industrial age. Paterson, NJ is the oldest industrial site in America founded by Alexander Hamilton. He chose it because the seventy-foot Great Falls was a prime source of hydroelectric power. He laid foundations in the city that helped make Paterson a prime textile-manufacturing center throughout the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth centuries. Since the 1960s, Paterson has experienced a decline in its industrial economic base. The city has sought to regenerate interest in the area through historic trails and the attraction of the Great Falls. These efforts have failed. However, through out its history Paterson has been the site of adaptive reuse. The mills and factories constantly had to change in order to keep pace with new technology. Currently, several mills have been renovated to form apartments for artists. While providing picturesque housing, these renovated mills no longer have a place in the piecemeal industries that still exist. This type of renewal has not helped to reunify this community. To counteract these singular interventions I have proposed reprogramming the central industrial area around the Falls as a center for Ecologists and Environmental Artists. The urban strategy I have adopted is one of creating desire for the current transient population to remain in the area and reinvest in the existing infrastructure. I have used nature to unify the area by artificially reinserting nature where, before Hamilton, nature flourished. A path unifies the area taking the pedestrian through the natural and artificial (man-made) topography of this landscape. The landscape offers sectional characteristics, which I have tried to make the pedestrian aware: aerial, canopic, terrestrial, aquatic, and sub-terrestrial. The path illustrates that we are always moving between sky and water. While the mountain and river offer some geographical orientation, once the pedestrian is embedded in the existing urban fabric, his sense of direction may become obfuscated. The path begins by orientating the pedestrian North and over the course of his walk, if repeated over the course of a year, he would find that the summer and winter solstices help strengthen his sectional placement within this landscape. Along the path I have interjected sustainable infrastructures in order to show how the industrial past can help us revitalize our landscape for a post-industrial future. In my own renovation of certain buildings, I have tried to create a balance between nostalgia for the past and romance for new technology. F or nostalgia does not necessitate a recreation of what once was, but can reintroduce us to the past's own love and desire for the future.
Thesis (M.Arch.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 2002.Includes bibliographical references (p. -).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology