Architects’ Methodology in Adaptive Reuse of Heritage Buildings

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Adaptive reuse (AR) of heritage buildings is common practice in The Netherlands and is becoming more and more common at the International level. While AR projects are generally considered positive actions towards preserving the qualities of heritage buildings, not all projects have similar (positive) impact. To propose a methodology for dealing with the AR of heritage buildings aiming for positive impact, the AR process has been studied. After a comprehensive systematic literature review, a theoretical model representing the steps of the AR process has been sketched (fig.1). This model depicts the ideal steps of architects in dealing with heritage buildings. To check whether these steps are actually followed, two effective AR projects, winners of the NRP golden phoenix prize, were studied namely ‘LocHal’ in Tilburg (fig.2) and ‘Energiehuis’ in Dordrecht (fig.3). During the research, the cases were visited, the published literature on the cases was reviewed, and architects and other stakeholders involved were interviewed. The interviews were based on the steps of the theoretical model but the model was not shown to the architects till the end of the interview. Finally feedback was asked from the architects if the model represented their actual steps and where they diverged. The analysis of the collected data confirmed that architects followed the steps reported in figure 1. However, the process was reported to be not linear, as suggested in the model, but to include several loops between some of the steps, mainly between steps 1, 2 , 3, 4, 5, and 6 (fig.4). Next to refining of the AR model, investigation of the case studies led to the identification of tools and methods used by architects, which have possibly positively influenced the effectiveness (positive impact) of the final result. Both case studies distinguished themselves, according to the NRP jury reports, because of their high ‘social value creation’. Involving end-users, other producers, and original users in different steps of the AR process has been identified as the main method used by the architects contributing to this positive impact.