The process of adapting buildings and land for a purpose other than which they were originally intended is a successful way to lessen urban sprawl and conserve land.

These three projects from Architect's Project Gallery draw from history to create new inventive and useful structures that still maintain a close connection to their past, whether in design or ideology.

28th Street Apartments - Los Angeles, Calif.

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Formerly a YMCA, the 28th Street Apartments maintains it's humanitarian purpose, now housing programs run by two non-profit organizations. An employment and youth training program occupies 8,000 square feet of the building, and the remaining space consists of 49 units of supportive housing for the chronically homeless, the mentally ill, and youth exiting foster care. The project achieved a LEED Gold certification and received an AIA/HUD Secretary Award in 2014.

The existing historic building spawned an efficient urban strategy on a small vacant sliver of land on the back of the building to add square footage for new updated unit types while not triggering costly parking. The project demonstrates that it is possible to provide community amenity, and achieve good innovative architectural design compatible within the context of an historic building in a neighborhood of historic homes and streets.

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Project Size: 38,000 square feet
Year Completed: 2012
Architecture Firm: Konin Eizenberg Architect


Pacific Cannery Lofts - Oakland, Calif.

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This residential community features indoor-outdoor gathering spaces that incorporate nature in an industrial environment beautifully. David Baker Architects transformed the original structure (a historic cannery built in 1919) and built an additional building to houses studios, flats and townhouses that surround three open-air courts designed by Miller Company Landscape Architects.

Parts of the cannery's original roof were removed to bring light to the courtyards connecting the original building and the new building used for townhouses, and a rainwater harvesting system that channels water from the roof into concrete aqueducts (also used as seating) provides irrigation for plants in the courtyards. Industrial relics from the cannery are utilized in the landscape design as well:

Miller Company incorporated abandoned machinery and other relics from the cannery structure into the project design, evoking the site’s century-old labor history. Ten-foot-high cast iron wheels, once part of the cannery ice-making machinery, now serve as industrial sculpture in the west entry. Defunct factory switchgear panels are repurposed and mounted in the projects’ gallery corridor facing the internal garden courtyards.

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Building Architect: David Brown Architects
Landscape Architect: Miller Company Landscape Architects
Year Completed: 2009
Construction Cost: $48,000,000


The Bridge Building - Nashville, Tenn.

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In the mid-1990's, construction of Nashville's NFL stadium required demolition of most industrial facilities on the East Bank, excluding the original NABRICO building constructed in 1908 and two other structures. The once dilapidated building was renovated as part of the Riverfront Redevelopment Initiatives, and now features the modern-day infrastructure and safety features necessary to make it a lasting sight on the Cumberland River.

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Architect: Hastings Architecture Associates
Year Completed: 2012
Project Size: 21,522 square feet