Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

Changing Places: More Bang for the Buck

We have been fortunate to participate in a number of adaptive reuse projects over the years, with the most recent being the conversion of a former industrial warehouse into commercial office space. We’re now in the early stages of converting an abandoned school into a company’s primary office.

We’ve learned a lot along the way, but making adaptive reuse work for all involved really boils down to these three ideas:

  1. “Light sells.” The more natural light you can create, the better the work environment for the occupants.
  2. Design should reinforce corporate culture. If you’re creative, a space can convey a company’s message to the occupants and guests alike.
  3. Details matter. Work to make every surface, texture or feature support the mission of the organization, “not too much and not too little,” just like the porridge.

These days, most existing buildings of any age are candidates for some type of adaptive reuse. The process hopefully saves some carbon and maybe helps weave communities or neighborhoods together that otherwise would remain “Lone Rangers.” It just takes demand and imagination.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.