the Built Environment
RGA-Design specializes in a practice we like to call re-architecture. It’s taking something in the built environment and improving it. Re-architecture goes by many familiar names: Remodel, repurpose, refurbish, rehabilitate, renovate, redevelop, retrofit, restore, reuse, reroof. RGA-Design understands the unique challenges of re-architecture and can design a solution to improve your project.
Reimagining the Built Environment.
To get a little more in depth as to what re-architecture actually is, we’ve identified 8 major “Re-“types that we consider re-architecture. While one project may include elements from more than one type, each has its own distinct characteristics and features.
Adaptive reuse involves the conversion of functional change of a building from the purpose or use for which it was originally constructed or designed. The different forms that adaptive reuse can take is only limited by one’s imagination (and budget). Some of the more recent trends have involved leveraging the social, spatial, functional, and organizational opportunities presented by abandoned shopping malls into mixed-use development. However, reuse does not need to be on that grand of a scale. Reuse can be as simple as converting an old factory into a restaurant, a warehouse into apartments, or an abandoned post office into a boutique hotel. Adaptive reuse can keep costs down by using existing structures while also incorporating its distinctive history and charm.
Rehabilitation is the process of making possible a compatible use of a property through repair, alterations, and additions while preserving those portions or features which convey historical, cultural, or architectural values. While rehabilitation is closely related to restoration, it allows for more modern changes to be made in order to meet the needs of a new use.
A retrofit is providing a structure with a component or feature not fitted during manufacture or adding something that it did not have when first constructed. It is often used in relation to the installation of new building systems, such as heating systems, but it might also refer to the fabric of a building, for example, retrofitting insulation or double glazing. Retrofitting has come to prominence in recent years as part of the drive to make buildings more thermal efficient and sustainable. This can help cut carbon emissions, make it cheaper and easier to run buildings, and can contribute to overcoming poor ventilation and damp problems, therefore improving the health of occupants. It can also increase building adaptability, durability and resiliency.
The primary goal of a restoration is to return a structure to its original state. Restoring a structure is the process of accurately depicting the form, features, and character of a property as it appeared at a particular period of time by means of the removal of features, and the repair or replacement of damaged or altered features from the restoration period. Usually this involves remedying decay and reversing alterations. Most commonly a restoration is done on historical buildings or sites in order to protect the value of its heritage. Great care is taken to replace outdated utilities and add modern necessities as to not compromise the historic character of the structure.
Refurbishment implies a process of improvement by cleaning, decorating, and re-equipping. In general, refurbishment encompasses such works as cosmetic renovations (such as painting and decorating), upgrading, major repair work, alterations, conversions, extensions, and modernizations.
The lifecycle of a building can be significantly extended by effective refurbishment. As every building is unique, not only structurally and technically but also in local context, the correct approach to refurbishment should be assessed according to the particular conditions. Usually a refurbishment is done to enhance appearance and create value for a structure with minimal disruption to the occupants.
A renovation is any reconstruction to a structure, the costs of which exceeds 25 to 30 percent of the assessed value of the structure. Usually renovations are classified as cosmetic or structural. Structural renovations could include extensions, loft conversions, adding a basement, redesigning a floor plan, re-wiring, or re-plumbing. Cosmetic renovations are things like painting or adding decorations, re-flooring, updating fixtures, or light landscaping. Bringing a structure in line with the Fair Housing Act and American with Disability Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) usually falls into this category and can be both cosmetic and structural.
Probably the most ambitious “re-“ of re-architecture, redevelopment involves changing entire sections of a property or multiple properties. Redevelopment usually involves site planning, the renovation of existing structures and/or new ground-up construction. Redevelopment presents unique challenges as to the amount of coordination that must take place between the design team, government officials, land use attorneys, and neighborhood groups. However, the payoff is turning a once-blighted property into a piece of a newly-vibrant community.
A structure in the built environment is going to be exposed to forces that cause damage to it. Some of these forces do damage over a long time and cause a structure to degrade, such as the seasonal changes of heat and cold, rain, and wind. Other forces can be much more sudden and catastrophic like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and sinkholes. Yet other forces can be man made such as car crashes, nearby construction accidents, or demolition mistakes. Regardless of how the damage was caused the structure will need to be repaired in order to resume use.