Adaptive Reuse in Urban Areas
International Student Workshop in Nicosia (C3) - Presentation by M. Philokyprou
The practice of reusing an existing building is not a recent phenomenon and it is as old as building itself. During the past, there was a variety of approaches with regard to the integration of a new use into an existing structure. While during antiquity the change of use was mainly guided by the functional needs of the users without any consideration of other values of the buildings, today this has changed dramatically with the historic, aesthetic and social values being taken into serious consideration. When historic buildings cease functioning, they tend to be abandoned and eventually collapse. The best means for preserving a historic building and safeguarding it for the future is to reuse it for a new purpose. Today, the tendency towards rehabilitation is generally adopted due to many historical, emotional and economic reasons as well as due to the understanding of the importance of historic buildings and the desire to preserve them. According to the Venice Charter (article 5), the conservation of monuments is always facilitated by some socially-useful purposes. Such purposes are desirable but should not change the character of the building.
In this presentation, the revitalization of a number of historic buildings in the walled city of Nicosia and their reuse for various new purposes (such as educational, cultural etc) are examined. There is always a preference for the preservation of the original use but if this is not possible, a new compatible use of similar nature to the original could be integrated. In this way, the existing layout of the building will be preserved. The preservation of the original use of a structure safeguards a continuity in the life of the structure and often offers a functional and social continuity. This is often the case of vernacular residential dwellings. In many cases, historic buildings (industrial, storage, defensive) are being reused as museums as well as educational and cultural centers.