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33 Thomas St. Adaptive-reuse

Structure has long been understood as the bone of a building. Typically, we consider programmatic types and then size bays accordingly. When it comes to adaptive reuse, the existing structure is a resource or sometimes an obstacle in design tasks. In adaptive reuse, we invert the two steps: investigating the existing structure, then critically evaluating how spatial needs could be fulfilled.

We argue that structure is the crucial key to understand adaptive reuse. Vision for the existing structure will directly influence the efficiency of a proposal. Compatibility of structure and programs is of high priority. Given that 33 Thomas St. had a never-built second phase next to it, we propose to build a ‘ghost structure’ where the second phase was supposed to be. The old structure with limited bay sizes houses administration and affordable housing. The new structure features large column-less spaces that could fulfill needs for required social infrastructures such as swimming pool, theater, etc. Each program block has its own intermediate connection to bridge housing and the public. Material-wise, the granite facade from the original building is disassembled and reused as new structure finishes; CMU blocks are reused as apartment walls.