Adaptive Re-use

May 22nd, 2017 by Andre Marquez Architects

According to that most erudite of sources, Wikipedia, Adaptive reuse, “refers to the process of reusing an old site or building for a purpose other than which it was built or designed for.”

Here at our office, we like to say that this is what we specialize in… not that we don’t take on new construction (see the Dining Facility in West Virginia).

Dining Facility – West Virginia

New Dining Facility – West Virginia

However, we do enjoy the fact that re-using and re-purposing a building can rescue an aging beauty and give it new life. A great example is Roger Brown’s Sports Bar in Olde Town, Portsmouth.

Built back in 1935, this building was designed for F. W. Woolworth & Company. The structural system was brick-masonry with brick veneer façade; the architectural style was late 19th and early 20th Century American Movements. The store served the community of Portsmouth for many decades, but following its closing, it remained vacant and boarded up for 13 years.

In 1999, a group of visionary investors decided to convert this abandoned, yet historic building to a “state of the art” sports bar and restaurant. At 32,000 square feet, 16,000 per floor, the challenge was to delineate various programmed areas without breaking up the space while emphasizing the openness of a facility spanning the whole width of the block. Our design team met with the investors, but mainly with football legend Roger Brown… and we rose up to the challenge.

Outdoor eating at Roger Brown’s

It is not often that the renovation of an abandoned building in a dormant neighborhood can result in establishing an anchor of stability and bring vibrancy and renewed interest to other potential developers. But since its makeover back in 2000, this once abandoned beauty has done just that.  It just needed some love and “adaptive re-using”… and oh, how it shines!

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