Feature Article

Existing Buildings Are Architecture’s Future

Take a plain old building and turn it into something remarkable, and you’ll also help save the planet.

Etsy headquarters exterior

Originally a printing press, this building in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, now houses Etsy. Blurring indoors and outdoors, and featuring the work of Etsy artists were design imperatives. The structure remained intact, and new finishes were minimal: the grooves from the old printing press are still visible on the reused floor. According to David Briefel of Gensler, the project repurposed not only the building but also furniture from the prior headquarters.

Photo: © Emily Andrews, courtesy of Etsy
Older buildings—especially those from the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s—need our help. Many leave something to be desired in terms of aesthetics and comfort. But the truth is that they are part of the urban and suburban fabric now, and they aren’t going anywhere. As tempting as it might seem to tear them all down and replace them with high-performance new construction, that’s a fantasy.

This situation sounds like a serious headache, but it is actually an immense creative opportunity. And one that can help us achieve drastically lower carbon emissions.

Published June 8, 2020

Melton, P. (2020, May 20). Existing Buildings Are Architecture’s Future. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/feature/existing-buildings-are-architecture-s-future