Adaptive Reuse of Buildings


Arlington County's DES Office of Sustainability and Environmental Management hosted the Worchester Polytechnic Institute’s IQP Student Cohort presentation on Strategies for Adaptive Reuse of Buildings.

View the presentation(PDF, 8MB).

View the recording.

Adaptive reuse of buildings offers buildings a second life that due to age, style or composition have otherwise lost market competitiveness under their original purpose. Typically, these buildings lose tenants or occupants in a spiral toward resale or foreclosure followed by demolition and redevelopment. Fundamentally, this path produces significant greenhouse gas emissions while, under certain circumstances, the existing building can be re-visioned and retrofitted for a new and vibrant repurposing. Adaptive reuse avoids excessive carbon emissions and opens the door for ingenuity and innovation, and the rebirth of buildings in a new use that stimulates local economies, responds to social and cultural needs, and elevates the profile and desirability of cities. 

Established in 1970, the Worchester Polytechnic Institute’s Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) Program brings interdisciplinary teams together to attack problems with both technological and human dimensions, matching Student Cohorts with government, corporate and institutional sponsors who submit proposals for consideration among a limited number of Cohorts. This year, Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services (DES)-AIRE submission on adaptive reuse of buildings and embodied carbon was selected; bringing together a support network that includes Arlington Economic Development and Community Planning and Housing Development, as well as the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and international consultants and architects, to support the Cohort over a period split between campus-research and 7 weeks on-site in Arlington and the District of Columbia.