The adaptation of preexisting structures to answer changing needs has enriched human history throughout time. Such structures—whether natural or designed artifacts—provide challenging topography for creative revitalization that can sustain and even enhance historic continuity. Historians, sociologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and others examine its effects from different perspectives. Designers, architects, landscape architects, and planners working within the field of historic preservation deal with its manifestations at scales ranging from buildings and their individual interiors to an urban and even regional scale of cities and landscapes. Schools of architecture might do more to address this issue rather than leaving emerging practitioners less prepared to address design issues of adaptation and the theoretical foundations that underlie them.
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Image: Repurposing. (© J.C. Duffy/The New Yorker Collection/www.cartoonbank.com)