Architecture Program


Date of this Version

Spring 4-23-2015

Document Type



Ha, Tshui Mum. "Reuse, Recycling, and Reintroduction of History with Contemporary Eyes through Adaptive Reuse." Master's Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2015.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Architecture, Under the Supervision of Professor Rumiko Handa. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Tshui Mum Ha


The idea of adapting old buildings for emerging purposes has been a regular strategy to sustain architectural resources since the medieval period or even earlier. However, the concept of adaptive reuse has only been gaining prevalence since the nineteenth-century when there was an increase in awareness of historic preservation. At this point, instead of sustaining architectural resources in both financial and functional terms, adaptive reuse was re-introduced and reapplied as one of the philosophical treatments of historic preservation.

As adaptive reuse is becoming a mature philosophical treatment of historic preservation, a great deal of critical thought and professional theory is required to contemplate the capacity of adaptive reuse. A critical issue was found in the existing practices of adaptive reuse: the ways architects and designers go about adaptive reuse today means that they are doomed to merely reuse a dead building as a dead building again without showing reverence to the means of historic preservation. Hence, this work sets out to contemplate historic preservation critically and holistically. This work examines how adaptive reuse is able to work to its fullest potential in response to historic preservation, as well as to help the public to learn about history by establishing an “internal connection and communication” between the public and the reused buildings per se.

The first section chapters of this work include a theoretical and critical discussion about historic preservation through a literature review, which provides an understanding of the importance of history and historic buildings, as well as the development of historic preservation. The second section chapters discuss an in-depth understanding of adaptive reuse by learning the roles and benefits of adaptive reuse in different perspectives, followed by a few architectural cases. The last section chapters of this work examine the roles and benefits of adaptive reuse through survey research and data analysis. Considering the maturity and expertise in revolving architecture around history and relics through adaptive reuse, the discussion of this work raises the question of what the subsequent architectural style will be in the near future.

Adviser: Rumiko Handa

Note large file size (38 Mb); hyper-extra-super-high-res file version (96 Mb) attached below.

Tshui Mum Ha 2015 FULL.pdf (96043 kB)
Ultra-super-hyper-high-res version