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The intent of this thesis is to better understand how architects can increase the value of under utilized sites amidst changing economies. Initial explorations of material reuse, reconstruction, deconstruction, and adaptive reuse have culminated in a better understanding of the value of architecture.
Inherent to any building design is the initial program for its construction. These programs help define the building and set up parameters upon which architects base their designs. The problem that often arises is that nothing happens to these spaces once the programs have changed. This thesis looks to examine how an adaptive reconstruction process can take an abandoned building and through a series of alterations over a period of time, change the building to adapt to a radically different program. This strategy begins to address principles of adaptive reuse, life cycle building, sustainability, material waste, deconstruction, and building construction techniques.
The first stage of the project recognizes that the existing Lincoln Steel site is in a light industrial area near downtown Lincoln. It also became apparent in the studying of this site that there was a large amount of vacant properties in close proximity to the site. What used to be a historically strong auto retail location has now become a series of vacant used car dealers and construction industry tenants. This relatively large quantity of vacant properties will help support a new program of an Eco-stores architectural salvage. As the site changes over time it is important to understand how this specific building changes with it. Speculating that the continued decline of the surrounding context leads to an increasing number of vacant properties, the site can adapt to this new resource by capitalizing on its proximity and thus, an Urban farm is developed. This change is facilitated through a common core of program that remains throughout the buildings life cycle.
This common core become crucial to the future value of the building. Containing the critical element of many building typologies, this core helps facilitate the adaptive value process. As the value of the site begins to change again, this project again forecasts a dramatic change in the context. Looking much further into the future, it is again speculated that as a new community begins to develop around this site, a potential community center develops. Again, this site can change to adapt to the new program with little trouble. This process is then repeated as the building needs of the site change over time. As the downtown grows and economy changes, different programs will find the site attractive and through this process of creating value through adaptation, the long term value of the building increases as well.
Over the long term development of this site, different architectural solutions can be used to help increase its value, thus increasing the role of architectural design in the construction process.