Why Is Adaptive Reuse Important in Today’s World?

To understand the importance of adaptive reuse, one must first appreciate the value of old buildings and architecture.

While it can feel “progressive” to tear down the old in order to make room for the new, adaptive reuse defines progress differently. Rather than creating a narrow vision that imagines possibilities with a blank slate, reuse tailors creative thinking to focus on what currently exists and how it can be incorporated thoughtfully into the goals and ideas of the future. Adaptive reuse can be implemented on any building, although it’s most commonly used for when working with historic buildings.

As the world ages collectively, more and more buildings with rich histories are finding themselves in need of renovation and rejuvenation; adaptive reuse is the conscious decision to preserve the past while planning for the future. For example, many adaptive reuse projects bridge different worlds – churches becoming restaurants, hospitals becoming schools, and more.

Adaptive Reuse Example at Ivy Tech

Depending on the context, adaptive reuse can go by the name of property rehabilitation or historic redevelopment. Either way, the process and overall goal remains the same: to rescue discarded, unkempt buildings from a destructive fate and find them a new purpose.

Of course, adaptive reuse is not just a sentimental effort to save buildings, it is also a critical process to ensure communities don’t use (or waste) more materials than necessary.

Some cities have, unfortunately, decided to adopt a “newer is better” mindset, causing them to discard perfectly fine, usable resources in order to “upgrade”. This thinking has caused major issues for our environment and will continue to do so until we are able to see value in materials as they age. Instead, people should look at progressive cities, like Paris, London, and Amsterdam, for inspiration; many historic structures and facades in these iconic towns have been lovingly preserved for generations to come. In fact, adaptive reuse is a great example of how individuals can prove to the larger group that there are creative options for recycling, reusing, and repurposing already existing resources.

Sometimes cases will be made against reuse, mostly regarding factors that include the cost, time, and efficiency. However, adaptive reuse is both appealing and practical; sometimes even saving money by reducing certain costs. Other underlying factors, such as being able to use hard-to-find materials or recycle materials already on the location, allow for additional money to be saved – and all while making it possible to create beautiful aesthetics complete with rich textures and unique features. Lastly, the entire adaptive reuse process, from start to finish, protects the environment while also reducing unnecessary waste.

Any adaptive reuse project begins by doing a thorough examination of the building, to ensure the infrastructure exists to keep it functioning into the future. Then you can look for unique attributes and characteristics that make the building special. These features can be highlighted in new and exciting ways, once again giving them purpose and prominence. When looking for these unique elements, one can find what some see as a “ready to demolish” building and instead see both beauty and value. This allows for seemingly doomed buildings, and the often debilitated communities in which they stand, a chance at a new and brighter future.

Above all, the biggest driving factor behind adaptive reuse is the ability to keep stories and memories intact. In a world where mass production and imitation is the norm, adaptive reuse goes against the grain, literally building upon already existing stories, adding new chapters without rewriting an entire book.

Accidental Interaction

Think back to when you were in college. Do you remember when and where your best learning happened? Chances are, it wasn’t necessarily in the classroom. Your college education more likely happened while you socialized by the front desk of your residence hall, or while you lay on the grass in the quad, or even while you hung around the vending machines in the hallway.

Let’s face it, education is going to happen everywhere, regardless of walls, doors, windows — boundaries. In an academic building, these spaces can occur in the hallways or alcoves of a building that gets heavy foot traffic. In a residence hall, they can occur at collection points or a naturally-occurring alcove.

The key to the design of accidental interaction spaces is to take advantage of the potential.

Designing for the accidental

An Accidental Interaction Space can be any size space that includes a variety of furniture styles, providing opportunity for interaction, engagement, and collaboration.

While not formally programmed, planning for an accidental interaction space is an intentional part of the architect’s design process. They will look at “the space between” to see where they can create a secondary, or hidden, opportunity within the design.

Successful accidental interaction spaces incorporate design elements that subconsciously encourage people to interact. Because interaction is key, it makes sense to add design elements around collection points and along circulation paths.

Ask the right questions

What makes good design great is utilizing the space in meaningful ways. It’s important to ask questions that strengthen the potential for interaction, like:

  • How do people who utilize this space get from place to place?
  • What happens along a hallway or corridor for the people in this space?
  • Does any natural light stream into a specific focal point?
  • What can bring a little relief along that pathway?

These kinds of questions add another layer of information and design, ultimately offering added value to the designed space.

Building Community

While designing for Botsford/Swinford Residence Hall, programmed specifically for Ball State Honors’ College students, the Schmidt Associates’ design team looked for ways to develop community through accidental interaction.

Botsford/Swinford Accidental Interaction

Botsford/Swinford Residence Hall

The design team incorporated varying levels of interaction in Botsford/Swinford along the residents’ natural circulation paths. Smaller, more intimate spaces along the path near stairs and elevators allow introverted personalities to visually connect with their more extroverted peers who are hanging out in the large lounge spaces or as they travel to and from their rooms. This intentional, yet unprogrammed, accidental interaction is the foundation for a sense of social and community connection for the individual student with residence hall peers as well as the entire campus.

A Word from our Owners – Marian University

Russ Kershaw

Dr. Russ Kershaw has been the Dean of the Byrum School of Business at Marian University since 2010. Previously, he was the Dean of the School of Business Administration at Philadelphia University and also has held various positions at Butler University. Before entering the academic world, Russ spent 13 years in corporate America. During this time he held a variety of financial management positions at both Digital Equipment Corporation and General Electric. Russ holds a B.S. degree in accounting from Bentley College, an MBA from Babson College, and a Ph.D. in accounting from the University of South Carolina. He is also a graduate of General Electric’s Financial Management Program.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

With growing enrollment in the Byrum School of Business, Marian University needed a facility that supported the school’s unique, experiential approach to learning. Breathing new life into this early 1900 facility, the addition and renovation of this facility has given the business school prominence on campus. Hear from Dr. Kershaw about how this new facility caters to Marian University students, professors, and the surrounding community.

Marian COB front

Addition to Historic Building

Tell us a little about the College of Business project and how the building is benefiting campus:

It was a significant addition to the Marian University academic facilities. In six short months, it has become a very popular facility across campus. Not only the classrooms, but the presentation room and the board room. The spaces are popular across campus and outside of campus with companies holding meetings in the board room and presentation room, which are being used as we speak by an outside organization. They are very flexible in design and can be set up in different formats to accommodate a five-person or 90-person meeting. The technology is there to support the needs of each group.

This is the coolest academic building on campus right now, other than the medical school. During the school year, med students are coming here to use the team rooms to study in. It helps that we have a Subway restaurant inside our building so people can get food. It’s become a very popular place, and all the spaces are being widely used across campus in its entirety.

We’ve only been in the business school for one semester, but the way to describe it is ‘that it was designed precisely for our program.’ We do a lot of project work, team-based teaching, experiential learning. This facility was designed for that, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the classroom layouts and the use of the presentation and board room. It’s designed perfectly for the way we teach business at Marian University.

How important is the student to student, student to faculty, and faculty to faculty interaction? Where did this occur in your old spaces? Where is it now?

It’s critical to our program. We have shifted from the traditional read a text book, come to class, listen to a lecture, and take a test while sitting in nice neat rows facing the professor and taking notes. We now have shifted to a project based learning mode where we are teaching accounting, economic, finance, marketing, etc. all while doing projects for real clients with key concepts. The students are constantly working in teams collaborating, so our classrooms are modular. If you looked at our classrooms right now, most are set up in pods of 5-6 students because that’s how we teach.

The communication among students and faculty is a different ball game in our program than a traditional one-way professor to student interaction.  The space is designed to make that happen, encourage it, and make it easy to do. It’s two-way, and the faculty is a facilitator instead of a professor. They roam the classroom answering questions and asking questions. They meet with individual groups to help or listen to the students present in the presentation hall. Sometimes it’s a practice presentation before the ‘grand finale’ at the end of the semester. It’s not a final exam anymore, it’s a presentation to the client they were doing the project for.

In our old facility, we were in old style classrooms with fixed seating or the chairs with their own folding desk. In some classrooms it was virtually impossible to teach our curriculum with the space we have. This new space is critical to the program we have built.

Pod-Style Classroom

As you walk through the building each day, how much of the ‘accidental interaction’ spaces are being used?

When students are here, it’s constant. Outside of the main classroom area, the soft seating area is constantly filled with students and faculty. It’s like a Starbucks with many impromptu meetings, waiting before or after class, etc. This open area is great to have in addition to the extensively used, more private team rooms.

The presentation room, when it’s not in use for a presentation with the glass door closed, the door is purposely left open. Students meet on the stairs, eat lunch in there, maybe even take a nap! (I just ask them to use a low stair if they are going nap so they don’t roll all the way down). It gets used quite a bit when it is open because it is a cool space with all the light, windows, and high ceilings. It has become the center piece and show off point for the building. People say ‘wow’ when they see it, and they like to be in it. There’s also plenty of outlets for them to charge their devices in the spaces, which is critical.

COB Spaces

Student Lounge Space and Presentation Room

How would you describe the process of working with Schmidt Associates?

I was mostly involved in the design phase as opposed to construction phase, so I can’t speak to the construction details. From a design stand point, it couldn’t have been better. It probably helped that Sarah Hempstead is a member of the Business School Advisory Board. It worked well because she was very aware of the curriculum and intimately involved with understanding how we teach. This really helped with the design process. If I had a thought or idea, Sarah could finish my sentence because she knew what I was thinking. I didn’t have to explain anything. From my perspective, it was awesome to work with someone who knew what we wanted to accomplish.

Anything else?

We are over the moon and ecstatic about the facility. When we opened last January, which was our second semester, the students were shocked when they came and saw the space designed for them. They were excited to be in such a cool facility. It’s great to see that reaction and know they are grateful and proud of the school.

 

If you think we can help with your next project, reach out to us!

 

A Word from our Owners – Ball State University

David Shepherd Ball StateDavid Shepherd – Facilities Engineer, Ball State University 

David is a Facilities Engineer at Ball State University where he coordinates, designs, and oversees construction of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, including projects from small maintenance repair and replacements to large capital improvement projects and new construction.

David has over 15 years of professional experience in consulting engineering, construction and facility management. He also supports the skilled trade shops at Ball State from an engineering standpoint, overseeing training of new systems and managing all commissioning activities.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Schmidt Associates has worked with Ball State University on several large capital projects. Recently, we’ve been providing engineering services for various facility maintenance projects across campus.

 

How do you approach operation and maintenance for your facilities?

As far as operations go, you must look at things with the future in mind. We always try to plan for what we think is going to happen down the road. You need to make it a key point within the maintenance group that they understand how preventative maintenance is key to the longevity of the equipment and our facilities. I push that a lot with our shops – during training sessions, they need to listen and take notes. For example, you may need to use a specific kind of grease on a specific type of bearing. If they don’t get it right, that will lead to early failure of equipment.

 

What are the most important aspects of a project from the Operations and Maintenance perspective?

The quality of the installation from the contractors is critical from an operations and maintenance standpoint. If they don’t install equipment properly, that can lead to early failures. Getting the team trained properly is also one of the most important aspects.

While in the design phase, the most important aspect, in my opinion, is that they listen to our recommendations and follow our Ball State standards. That is what I struggle with sometimes, I need the team to realize there is a reason that we have these standards. We need them to do what we want them to do not what they think is the best. We have created these standards from past experiences.

 

What do you see as a future trend in higher education facilities?

I would say the one thing, from my MEP aspect, is lighting. Everything is going to LED, with more capabilities for color tuning and controls. This improves the environment as far as people’s attitudes and general health – LED is more natural and brighter when compared to dingy fluorescents.

 

How would you describe the process of working with Schmidt Associates on BSU housing?

The quality has been very good. It helps because the Schmidt Associates team has been working at Ball State for a long time. They understand our facilities people and our standards. It makes it easier for us when we don’t have to waste a bunch of time trying to fix mistakes because the team already understands what we want.

Another thing is they are always quick to act when an issue comes up. Ryan Benson has been a great advocate for us, he pushes back on contractors when we need him to. He has been one of the best architects I’ve worked with because he truly understands who he is working for.

The engineers have been great at picking up things I’ve commented on and recommending ways to make a system better that I didn’t think about before.

 

Anything else you would like to add that I might have missed?

From my standpoint, I just want everyone to understand how critical it is to maintain our equipment so we get the life expectancy out of it. Maintenance and quality installations are the two points I want to drive home!

 

If you have any facility operation and maintenance questions, reach out to us!

 

A Word from our Owners – Ivy Tech Bloomington

Pam-Thompson-Bloomington Pam Thompson – Dean of the School of Nursing, Ivy Tech Community College – Bloomington

Pam has served as Dean for the School of Nursing at the Ivy Tech Bloomington campus since 2010. Prior to that, she served in the roles of Program chair for the Associate of Science Nursing Program and faculty for the School of Nursing. She has been with the college for 30 years.

 

 

Jennie-Vaughan-BloomingtonJennie Vaughan – Chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College – Bloomington

Jennie was appointed Chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus in 2014. An employee of Ivy Tech Bloomington for over 19 years, prior to being named Chancellor – Jennie served in a variety of roles, including Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Executive Director of Human Resources. Jennie has more than 30 years of experience in higher education, beginning her career as Registrar and Director of Operations at the University of San Francisco.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Schmidt Associates is hearing from more Universities looking to grow, expand, or enhance their hands-on learning facilities. We took a minute to talk with Ivy Tech Community College – Bloomington about the expansion of their School of Nursing to provide you insights for your own campus.

How has your new space transformed the nursing program at Ivy Tech Bloomington?

The biggest piece is the growth in our lab space. In our ‘main’ building, where we were located prior to this new space, we had one nursing lab. Within that lab existed our simulation lab space, so we were either doing simulations or skills labs.

In the new building, the Marchant School of Nursing which is across the street, our lab space more than doubled. We now have two separate spaces, skills on one end of the building and simulation on the other. This allows us to double the number of students we can teach at a time.

Our new space provides us with room to grow our enrollment, which is right now limited by faculty and clinical space available.

 

What feedback do you hear about how the space enhances the program?

Students love simulation. They are always asking for more. We try to drop two simulations into each course, and the space allows us to do this. The simulation puts the students at the bed side with a non-human and we re-create the entire scenario like they are in the hospital without putting any patients at risk.

The fact that the students and faculty can stay in one building and be readily available to each other is great. Faculty seem to be more readily available to students because of the size of the space. The faculty is closer together now sharing office space, and they collaborate more amongst themselves, and with the students. There’s also space that is just for the nursing students which creates program comradery.

The building adds so much to campus and is great for retention and recruitment. We were worried about students being connected to the main academic building across the road, but that hasn’t been an issue. The students all express a sense of pride for having a space of their own. We also have more dedicated classroom space now. It makes scheduling easier and everything runs a little smoother because of the space.

 

If a University is looking to build a new school of nursing, what advice would you share?

Hard wire for as many computer stations as you can. Make sure everything is flexible in its use. You might all of a sudden need 100 students in a classroom. Make sure you design for it.

We love our lounge spaces, but have found we could use even more. Our students, as in most nursing schools, are there all day. They come in each morning, bring a lunch with them, and stay all day. The lounges become where they eat, relax, study, and interact with each other. They are used a lot! Something we didn’t design for since this was an existing building was student lockers. Since the students spend so much time in the building, they have requested lockers, which we have added. Make sure to understand your students’ needs so you can accommodate, and always be flexible.

If we can help you plan for or design a hands-on learning space, reach out!

A Word from an Owner – Anne Penny Valentine

Anne Penny Valentine
Vice President, Student Experience and Customer Service 
Ivy Tech Community College

We’ve had the privilege of working with Anne over the years on Ivy Tech projects and presentations regarding our work. We wanted to sit down with her to get her take on one of our projects, the renovation of the Ivy Tech Central Office downtown Indy.

 

What was the office space like before the renovation?

The challenge with this building was that it is 3 different buildings brought together, and we were a similar hodge-podge with multiple kitchenettes, desks, break out rooms, supplies closets, etc. The offices were all really small and only half of them had windows.

Attempts were made to group functional areas together, but as the size of groups fluctuated, departments moved. I was personally in a different area than the rest of my team. It wasn’t very functional.

What is the office space like now?

Now, we have a versatile space. Every space can be used by anyone, and people work near the people they interact with. Since the renovation, we‘ve had a lot of organizational changes, and the space has allowed us to accommodate those changes while still working within the space.

The flexibility of the meeting spaces is great. We have a large variety of sizes of conference rooms, along with focus rooms. The focus rooms’ designs range to accommodate a single individual or small groups. We also combined the kitchenettes into one space, resulting in a more informal space for interaction among colleagues that didn’t happen before the renovation.

Focus Rooms

Larger Conference Room and Desks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Describe the process of working with Schmidt Associates.

We had a cross-functional group of people – HR, finance, student affairs (me), and academics who met regularly to help come up with what we wanted this to look like. The great thing about Schmidt Associates was that they helped guide the discussions to make sure the space would meet our needs. They took us on tours of other open office spaces so we could visualize the results. This process was particularly important since it allowed us to see spaces that were so different than our offices at the time.

We didn’t take every recommendation from Schmidt Associates, and we also had big ideas that we couldn’t afford. Schmidt Associates helped us rank the priorities so we could maximize the budget. Our old maze of offices is now open with clear glass walls, making it easier to find people and interact with co-workers.

Has this affected office culture? If so, in what ways

This has completely changed the culture of how we interact. In some ways it’s been great, and in some ways, it has been challenging. Figuring out how to respect others whom need more focus can be a challenge. You need to be mindful of the people around you, which we never needed to do beforehand. We have extroverts and introverts. Some need headphones so they can focus.

I have a better sense of who all my co-workers are now that I can see them. It’s interesting seeing the personality of other departments come out under this new layout. Some areas decorate for different holidays, some celebrate birthdays or accomplishments with donuts and other snacks. Now that it is an open office environment, you can go grab a donut and have casual interaction with your co-workers, which is great.

Has the renovation improved efficiencies?

Prior to the renovation, we had multiple kitchenettes, storage rooms, desktop printers in every office (and they were all different!). Being able to consolidate into one kitchen area with fewer storage rooms has reduced redundant supply orders. We can actually press print from our computers and go to any printer, use our FOB, and our document prints. There’s no more loading a printer or walking across the office to the printer nearest your desk. It’s been great.

Dining Area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A huge bonus has been natural light no matter where you go. This is extremely important in the middle of winter to see natural light, which we never had before. Some departments don’t even turn on the overhead lights anymore because they get enough natural light through the windows, which is great.

For those whom open space is difficult, we have plenty of focus rooms and they are regularly used. This has been important for both individuals, and small group meetings. We never needed to worry about noise before since everyone was in offices. Now, we have the flexibility to accommodate everyone’s personal work preference.

 

To view more project details, check out the project page or the Flickr album.

Designing Residence Halls Specifically for the Student

Integrating specific academic environments into four Ball State University Residence Halls was a key early design consideration for the combined $101 million projects. There was an opportunity to completely renovate the 50-some-year-old buildings to create an interplay between pre-millennial student lifestyle, academic, and career interests while also optimizing for energy efficiency. By adding the latest technologies, new amenities, and flexible design elements into the residence halls, a new sense of camaraderie and function can be seen throughout.

Here’s a synopsis for each:

Botsford/Swinford Residence Hall – Emerging Media Center

Size: 164,000 square feet
Cost: $27,800,000

  • Audio and video production studios
  • New lounge spaces
  • Demonstration kitchen—enables guest chefs to demonstrate food skills including healthy eating and unique cooking styles
  • Original structure was demolished to its concrete frame and foundation
  • It was designed for LEED Silver certification and received LEED Gold certification.

Botsford/Swinford

 

Schmidt/Wilson Residence Hall – A Living-Learning Community for Dance, Theatre, and Design Students

Size: 154,000 square feet
Cost: $33,000,000

  • Two-story lounge spaces and central lounge with a performance area
  • Dance studio, black box theatre, computer lab, fitness room, and drawing room
  • Strong sense of collaboration and camaraderie
  • The new facility re-images the entry into campus where students are center stage
  • Currently in review for LEED certification.

Schmidt/Wilson

 

Studebaker East Residence Hall – Creating A Home-Away-From-Home For International Students

Size: 109,746 square feet
Cost: $18,450,000

  • Student collaboration is enhanced through a new multi-purpose room and three two-story lounge spaces
  • Lounges are equipped with kitchens so students can share cultural foods
  • Provided a sense of community for present and future students
  • New highly-efficient mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and technology systems throughout the building resulted in LEED Gold Certification.

Studebaker East

 

DeHority Residence Complex – Collaborative Spaces for Honors College Students

Size: 131,072 square feet
Cost: $21,920,000

  • Integrating social, learning, and living space so dedicated honor students can combine interests and ambitions
  • Semi-private restrooms with lockers. Each room has stackable furniture and adjustable wardrobe closets
  • Students can take advantage of the exhibition hall for meetings and presentations
  • Ball State’s first LEED Silver certified building on campus.

DeHority

Like what we did? Need someone for your next project? Let’s Talk!

 

Sympathetic Design

Towards A More Sympathetic Aesthetic

In so many situations when designing for the higher education facilities, the values of context and continuity are every bit as important as the desire for the cutting edge. The art form is to harmonize the old with the new, without tensions, so as to create a worthy next chapter in the unfolding campus story.

Sometimes, What You Don’t Notice Is As Important As What You Do See

Many higher education institutions face a continuing design conundrum. Their challenge is to reconcile a built environment that was created in part before the telephone and the automobile with the demands of a future in which technology advances are moving at the speed of thought; a future where, without skilled planning, obsolescence can occur in months instead of decades. This complex challenge is one that the Schmidt Associates’ Higher Education team positively relishes. Our approach is to extract the best of what our clients already have today, and then reconcile it with a very clear vision of what they are going to need tomorrow.

The pressures can seem irreconcilable at first sight. A signature science building that was on the bleeding edge of possibilities the day it opened is now in its ninth decade, delivering knowledge that didn’t exist when it was being designed. A business school for a globalized twenty first century needs to make its home in a civic building originally created to administer law that was drafted in the nineteenth century. Can such apparently opposed purposes even sit physically alongside one another, let alone give rise to an acceptable aesthetic?

Yes, they can. And the result is something that, simultaneously, users do and do not see. They do not see a clumsy intervention or a brutally evident repurposing. They do see a physical form where there is no discontinuity – no “join” – between the old and the new, between yesterday and tomorrow.

ISU Scott College of Business – Renovation of Historic Post Office & Courthouse

Making The Whole Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts

The campus context is complex: the old bestows kudos while the new fosters curiosity and drives up profile. Every successful design project will identify the parts and create a new whole that is different and distinctive, yet congruent and comfortable.

 

 

Getting Real About Value Engineering

“Value engineering” is perhaps the most overused and under-realized term in the design/construction industry today. It has become the catch bucket for any exercise that involves reducing costs.

By definition, value is the ratio of function to cost. Value is increased by improving function or reducing cost. A great example: the benefit analysis of solar shading provided by extending the overhang of a roof. Using Building Information Modeling (BIM) and special software programs, we can determine the optimum energy savings obtained from shading by applying the most cost-effective roof extension (the ratio of function to cost). Our analysis identifies the point of diminishing return – the point when the increased cost of the roof begins to yield lower shading benefit. This is value engineering.

In contrast, most references to a “value-engineering exercise” are in reality a “cost-reduction exercise.” It involves compiling a list of items (or functions) to eliminate from the project, thereby reducing cost. This is not necessarily a bad thing to do. In fact, it is often an unavoidable part of any project since needs and wants are almost always greater than budgets. However, calling it “value engineering” is a misnomer because the function is eliminated along with the cost.

It is important to recognize that value can be lost with the cost reduction. This often occurs when a function that yields a long-term benefit (reduced energy or operational cost) is eliminated to provide an initial cost reduction. A clear understanding of the difference between “value engineering” and “cost reduction” helps avoid decisions with unintended consequences or “de-value engineering.”

Adding Value

Schmidt Associates was founded on the guiding principle of Servant Leadership. This value threads itself through every interaction we have both internally and externally, resulting in a constant search to add value in every project. Flip through the magazine below to see five examples of how we have added value to our recent projects by focusing on culture shifts, energy savings, telling the story through facility design and being a true one-stop-shop for our Owners.