The lovely lines of old buildings, with their unique architectural detailing, provides architects and designers fertile ground for reimagining business environments. Adaptive reuse can be expensive when done right, so designers take advantage of the original and unique features of the building in designing interiors. Design gives a bow of acknowledgment to the structural and design features of the building’s past, seamlessly merging the architectural elements of the original with the needs of modern workspaces.
Several of these original structural elements are features that are expected in adaptive reuse buildings. Soaring interior space, original windows with natural light, and interiors with exposed elements such as brick reflect the nature of the adaptive reuse. These elements can be highlighted by creating workspaces that provides contrast with the elements: brushed metal and modern furniture and art in an old brick warehouse; workspaces and meeting rooms configured in geometric forms that reflect or contrast the building’s interior space.
Materials also can both reflect and contrast with the original. Hardwood flooring, while a challenge to maintain, is known for its history and rich color and warmth. Small areas of original flooring can provide the reflection to the original, while modern flooring in other areas provides sound modification, color and texture.
Original wood often has a density and color that is hard to match with modern supplies. By keeping original wood in place, such as around window frames, and refinishing in a natural stain, the beauty and warmth of the original is reflected in the modern space.
One challenge for designers is the use of natural light. Everyone loves to work in an environment that is rich in natural light, and this design element is expected in adaptive reuse. The challenge comes from the glare off electronics screens. Several interesting design have been developed that provide a shaded area for computer use, while allowing the main space to benefit from natural light.