Adaptive Reuse Thesis Statements

Well, I realized that I have yet to post my Thesis Statement. So for what its worth, here are the statements that back up my thesis along with my abstract.

Topic: Articulation of significant residuals

Project Statement: Adaptive use of the historic Dallas High School into a market place with emphasis on significant residuals.

Thesis Statement: Architecture should not petrify forms, nor should it deny their existence. The existing context and its character should be encouraged to evolve and transform, thus establishing a connected sense of being and a management of environmental change.

Facility Statement: The synergy of a traditional market can be infused into a contemporary mixed use facility and exploited via the use of transparency.

Context Statement: By unfolding the landscape, and through careful exploitation of the existing circulation networks, the current void in the Dallas Central Business District will be transformed into a vibrant place of commerce.

Scope: The adaptive reuse of an existing 98,000 square foot facility into a mixed use market place providing restaurant facilities, grocery, market cafe, retail, vendors, business offices, and necessary parking.

In what ways does architecture affect the human sense of time? How are connections to the past and the future made, and how do they affect the present world in which we live? There is a fierce battle in today's society between nihilistic and nostalgic thought. The past is currently either purified or razed to make way for the future. A sense of time is either petrified or destroyed, resulting in a confusing and disconnected sense of being.

A sense of being is ultimately defined by expired time, the time that is yet to be, and awareness of the current time. The personal image of time is paramount in the well-being of society and the proper management of change. Society's external physical environment plays a crucial role in forming and supporting the image of time. Therefore, architecture is a key factor in the reciprocal relationship between environmental change and the image of time.

The motivation for this thesis is an attempt to bridge the gap between nihilistic and nostalgic thought. A reconciling of extreme perspectives to preserve a sense of time in a volatile context of computers and communication technologies, massive redevelopment of the physical environment, and social and cultural spaces that are continually made unrecognizable. The author will argue that a desirable sense of place is one that celebrates the present while simultaneously establishes connections with both the past and the future.

This project specifically focuses on the adaptive use of the historical Dallas High School. As a stable fixture in the Dallas Central Business district since 1908, the high school has survived two world wars, The Great Depression, numerous functional reorganizations, political battles, and recent attempts to raze the original structure. As the structure nears its one hundredth birthday it is in desperate need of an effective plan of transformation in order to secure its survival in the twenty first century.

Research for this project includes continual communication with former students of the school who make up The Dallas Tech Alumni Association. Numerous texts on preservation, restoration, adaptive reuse, and human psychology will be compared to generate an optimal solution in the management of change. Case studies of recent architectural projects will be consulted for references in form, facility, and context issues.

The purpose of this project is to conceive and implement a plan to utilize and adapt the Dallas High School facility into a hybrid form of preservation and contemporary design. A sense of time will be created through the manipulation of a historically rooted context and result in a facility that will open outward into the future. An attempt will be made to create an environment that is flexible and receptive, incomplete and unresolved, historical and contemporary.

I've been working on the Sub Level Plan today. Sorry for the crappy printscreen image.



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


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.

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