Tagged: Adaptive Reuse

You Might Be A Preservationist If…

Last week at the National Trust’s annual conference we talked a lot about how to attract a wider audience to historic preservation. One of the conclusions that we came to is that a lot of people are already preservationists – they just don’t know it!  So I’ve put together a little list of preservation related traits to help you spot a preservationist (including yourself!).

You might be a preservationist if…

summer 2011 1639

  • You want to live in a walkable neighborhood close to shops, restaurants and businesses.


  • You think old buildings have charm.


  • You love the unique quirks and places that make your community special.


  • You love history.

Summer 2012 930

  • You get excited about innovative uses of old spaces – like a microbrewery in an old factory, or condos in a former school building!

winter 2010 778

  • You go out of your way to patronize local businesses – especially if they have a cool location or are downtown.

summer 2011 478

  • You’d rather go to the small old theater with the awesome marquee and real-life stage than the cineplex.
  • You enjoy it when locally produced products and local businesses have names inspired by local historical events, people or places.


  • You have ever worked to save a place that was important to you or your community because it was associated with an important person or event in your community’s history.

How would you finish this sentence? Leave your answer in the comments!

the picture


Pullman train car guest rooms at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Indianapolis.

Last week, the National Trust for Historic Preservation held its annual conference in Indianapolis.

The venue was an awesome example of adaptive use – a hotel and convention center housed within America’s first Union Station! Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Crowne Plaza features authentic Pullman train car guest rooms resting on their original tracks. Pretty unbelievable!  Though I didn’t get to see inside the rooms, I can attest that guests can still hear the muffled rumblings of trains passing through because the hotel is adjacent to an active Amtrak train station. If you are ever in Indianapolis you should definitely check it out!

This Week

A weekly round-up of my favorite preservation related stories from around the web and in the newsClick on the title of each story to jump A weekly round-up of my favorite preservation related stories from around the web and in the news.

Prentice Hospital Could Become Modern Architecture’s “Penn Station Moment” – Next City


Prentice Hospital, designed by architect Bertrand Goldberg, opened in Chicago in 1975. Image via Next City

The campaign to save Chicago’s mid-century Prentice Hospital, set to be demolished this week, brought preservation into the forefront of the national urban design discussion in way not seen for a long time.  Though the Prentice campaign ultimately failed, it may not be for naught.  In the 1960s, the demolition of New York City’s Penn Station ignited the preservation movement. It was the catalyst for new laws and it raised awareness for the importance of our built heritage. The author of this Next City article hopes that,  “The fall of Prentice offers a similar fulcrum in the wide public appreciation of modernist architecture, and in the renewal of a movement that must show its relevance to the challenges cities face in the 21st century.”

The 4,500 Year Old City of Mohenjo Daro Is Crumbling And No One Is Stopping It – Smithsonian Magazine


Image via Smithsonian Magazine

“Mohenjo Daro likely was, at its time, the greatest city in the world. Roughly 4,500 years ago, as many as 35,000 people lived and worked in the massive city, which occupies 250 acres along Pakistan’s Indus river.  Mohenjo Daro sat beneath the soil for thousands of years, a preserved relic of the ancient Indus Valley civilization. But excavation exposed the city to the elements, and now, says the Telegraph, the ruins may have as little as 20 years left.”

The Architecture of Sunlight – Preservation Journey


The Icelandic Opera House. Image via Preservation Journey

“By late summer, you may have found an understanding for the sun, or you may be longing for winter’s clouds to return. August, with its grass brown from heat and sun, leads much of the world to rediscover their porches, the cooler spaces in their homes, and the welcome cross-breeze that can be created by opened windows. An ever-present force that guides lives by its presence or lack there of, the sun has played a role in architecture for thousands of years. Perhaps the first thing you think of is a place like Stonehenge: a monument rumored to capture certain angles of the sun. But the sun goes much further than this. The sun has been a construction aid in places like the southwest United States, it has necessitated front porches and breeze ways in places like the South, and in countries like Norway its varying presence has influenced design to maximize light.”

Ten Tips on How to Support the Adaptive Reuse of Historic Buildings – Preservation Nation


This former toy warehouse in downtown LA was converted into loft apartments. Image via Preservation Nation

This tool kit from the National Trust’s blog includes ten tips for promoting reuse in your own community and lots of examples of successful reuse projects.  The tips range from using social media to supporting businesses that use adapted buildings.  Check out all the tips  and see five great projects by clicking through !

Preservation Is…

As for really new ideas of any kind—no matter how ultimately profitable or otherwise successful some of them might prove to be—there is no leeway for such chancy trial, error, and experimentation in the high-overhead economy of new construction… Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings.

-Jane Jacobs, author, urbanist, historic preservationist


Storage for BrokeSpoke Community Bike Shop at The Breadbox in Lexington, KY. The Breadbox, located in the former Rainbo Bread factory, also houses West Sixth Brewery Company, Cricket Press, Food Chain, the Roller Girls of Central Kentucky, Magic Beans Coffee Roasters, artists studios and more. Lots of new ideas in one old building.

from The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Chapter 10: “The Need for Aged Buildings”

Retro 1960s Bank Ready for a New Life!


This awesome retro bank is located in downtown Lexington on a high traffic throughway. It is sandwiched between a highrise apartment building and a parking garage, and is a half block from Rupp Arena. As long as I’ve lived in Lexington, this Peoples Bank branch has been vacant, which is pretty incredible to believe since it’s sitting on a very expensive piece of property. After looking at the PVA records for the parcel, I have to say I’m honestly shocked that it hasn’t been demolished. But I’m so glad it hasn’t!

This place is incredible! It’s full of light and is so spacious. My brain immediately started firing on all cylinders imagining what kind of business would be perfect fit for this funky little building. It would be a great photography studio or creative commons. It would also make an incredible coffee shop! It has ample parking in the back as well as space that could be used for sidewalk seating – AND it still has the drive thru window. How cool would it be if it could be used for drive-thru coffee!  It think it would also be a really cool diner type restaurant or cafe.  The name could even be retained “Peoples Coffee Shop” “Peoples Cafe”  Maybe even a bar?

What do you think this space would be great for? Is there a vacant building in your city that you just can’t believe is empty? Share below!