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  • 1.  Refurbishment?

    Posted 7 days ago
    Has anyone heard the terms "refurbishment" and/or "building recovery" used to describe rehabilitation or adaptive re-use projects? I have heard preservation called "heritage conservation" in the UK, but "refurbishment" was a new one to me. I am thinking it must be an international synonym, but I would love to hear the community's thoughts.

    This question comes the very popular, well-read and international web publication ArchDaily. They have a new award and partnership with Mini (car company) on the subject:  Refurbishment in Architecture
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    Refurbishment in Architecture
    The best selection of adaptive reuse and refurbishment architecture projects across the world.
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    Olivia Tarricone, AIA
    Preservation Architect
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Houston, TX Field Office

  • 2.  RE: Refurbishment?

    Posted 6 days ago
    Until you mentioned it last week, it was new to me as well. I look forward to hearing from anyone who is familiar with it. Thanks for including the link to the ArchDaily piece.

    Mary Lu Seidel
    Field Director
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Chicago IL

  • 3.  RE: Refurbishment?

    Posted 5 days ago
    I haven't come across refurbishment. In Canada we also use "conservation" as an umbrella term that encompasses the three approaches of preservation, rehabilitation, and restoration.

    Michael Philpott
    Heritage Officer (Preservation)
    Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
    St. John's, NL, Canada

  • 4.  RE: Refurbishment?

    Posted 5 days ago

    The nomenclature for rehabilitation could definitely use more clarity, especially when referring to older, non-historic buildings which may not have historic or landmark status but are nonetheless viable and stable structures that have been abandoned or are simply vacant.  Having a broader discussion about whether financial incentives, such as federal or state tax credits, should apply to these types of structures is really needed in the preservation community at large.  Terms such as "refurbish" could be a bridge to talking more frankly about the grey area these structures occupy in the marketplace for developers and municipalities alike that are struggling with how to bring these properties back into service.  Perhaps "refurbish" belongs in the category of rehabilitation terms that relate to repurposing structures for another function but, then again, the Cambridge Dictionary defines refurbish as "to make a building look new again by doing work such as painting, repairing, and cleaning" which would imply more of a cosmetic effort.  Whatever term is agreed upon and used commonly in preservation, there really needs to be a sharp distinction between bringing a building up to code versus a full-on authentic historic rehabilitation, for example.



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