Adaptive Reuse in Craft, Design, and Art in the City

By Lisa Scharoun and Carlos Montana-Hoyos.

Published by The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design

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Adaptive reuse is the use of buildings, materials, and products for purposes other than originally intended. Although adaptive reuse has a long tradition in arts and crafts, more recently environmental awareness and design for sustainability have revitalized the role of a trash to treasures approach, providing a wide array of contemporary urban design, craft, and art which are important part of today’s cities. Supported by a significant photographic documentation of examples, this paper explores some of the roles of adaptive reuse in craft, design, and art in the urban environment, focusing on repurposed objects found in urban public spaces. An initial background discusses the relationships of crafts and design in the rural and urban contexts, in order to define the city since the industrial revolution. The concepts of cultural identity and sustainability and their relationship to crafts and design are also discussed. Subsequently diverse examples from architecture, crafts, design, and urban arts illustrate diverse modes of adaptive reuse at the urban, human, or hand scale, mainly focusing on adaptive reuse of buildings and urban structures, as well as objects found in public spaces in the city, such as public furniture and public art (in exteriors) or fixtures as furniture, lights, and art (in interior spaces). Main conclusions discuss the different roles of adaptive reuse, craft, and design in the contemporary city’s built environment through a categorization based on physical scale, context, and use, namely within the types of repurposed items here illustrated and mainly within 4 categories, as follows: 1) Railways, 2) ISO Shipping Containers, 3) Gas tanks, 4) Unused industrial equipment and others.

Keywords: Adaptive Reuse, Craft, Design, Art, City

The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design, Volume 8, Issue 2, July, 2015, pp.1-20. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.430MB).

Dr. Lisa Scharoun

Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Assoc. Prof. Carlos Montana-Hoyos

Associate Professor of Industrial Design, Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT, Australia