Last week, Curbed put together a map highlighting 10 examples of effective adaptive reuse that eradicated blight and breathed new life into a wide range of outdated buildings here in Philadelphia. This week we're taking a look at 15 underutilized and decaying structures across the city that are prime contenders for reuse. A few may surprise you.
People wanted their own piece of the American Dream after World War II. The automobile was affordable, highway systems were new, industry began to decline, and many longed for white picket fences in quiet neighborhoods. Herein lies the recipe for middle class suburbanization that ravaged the inner city in the 1950s.
Many of these 15 selections are victims of that era. Countless factories, warehouses, schools, and churches are wasting away across the nation. As we mentioned last week, sometimes it is more cost-efficient to alter an existing property rather than razing it completely, and Philadelphia has no shortage of options for developers.
That being said, multi-story warehouses and factories are typically the best candidates for adaptive reuse thanks to their reinforced walls and columns, flat roofs, open floorplans, and large windows. These structures make for great apartments, offices, and performance/gallery spaces. The bulk of these industrial buildings are spread across North Philadelphia.
Churches, on the other hand, tend to have distinct architectural quirks that can make it difficult to properly repurpose the interior space. The issues of proper lighting and temperature control can be creative challenges, but a successful church rehab can often be a sight to behold (just take a look at the Selexyz Dominicanen). Regardless, churches are great candidates for residences, office spaces, nightclubs, and restaurants.
As you look through this map, consider the neighborhoods our selections lie within. Some are on the way up, others are seemingly forgotten. Imagine what the right developer with the right project could mean for the community. And feel free to sound off with your own ideas in the comments.Read More