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March 4, 2021

Adaptive Reuse

Workers doing business in the office coffeehouse
American Family Insurance BL2
For decades, Strang has been called upon to apply our recognized expertise in reimagining, repurposing, and revitalizing existing buildings. While we love designing new buildings, there is an almost intangible feeling of reward when we work with clients to breathe new purpose into existing spaces.
A n open office with a grey and green theme
Sara Investments Office

From higher education to private industry, science and technology, or the arts community, we take immense pride in adaptive reuse projects. The process tests our creativity, resourcefulness, attention-to-detail, and ingenuity – exactly the challenges we embrace.

Most often, the impetus for adaptive reuse is resources driven: Financial, Human, and Environmental. Let’s consider each.


An office with glass walls and a large windows outside
American Family Downtown Suite


Contrary to popular belief, renovation is not always the least expensive route. This all depends upon the scope and complexity of each project. Certain projects are straightforward enough where infrastructure, engineered systems, or floor-to-ceiling heights meld well with the envisioned new use, and HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems require straightforward code compliance. On the other hand, some renovations can be complicated and messy, such as adapting a warehouse space to a testing laboratory operation. With proprietary tools and proven protocol, we can guide you through the evaluation process and review options together.

A worker sitting at an office table
American Family Insurance BL2


Previously, the Human factor was pretty much defined by ADA compliance, sufficient workspace, proximity/throughput, and collaboration spaces, and meeting code. Of course, updated and enhanced amenities like community kitchens, bike lockers, and quiet rooms have also been included.

However, as our work environments have changed, the Human factor takes on a far more complicated and serious role. Here again, we can guide you through the intricacies and mandatories behind designing a safe, healthy, productive, and enjoyable space to occupy. Safe and healthy does not have to mean boring, plain, or pedestrian. Creativity and imagination are not canceled. Working within the restrictions of an established space leads us to find creative solutions.


A modern office wall with wood planks and leaves on it
American Family Insurance BL2


It has been said, “The most environmentally-correct building is the one that never gets built.” So, you can understand, from an environmental perspective, why adaptive reuse is so appealing. On balance, if we can update and repurpose a building, it’s a great opportunity to care for our environment, i.e. less material consumption, fewer fossil fuels consumed, and turning an energy hog into a model of ideal “green” behavior – each, beneficial things for our environment.

However, as economists are fond of saying, “Sometimes, the cost of opportunity is prohibitive”. Identify and analyze the opportunities and obstacles ahead. We can guide you through appropriate analysis that can help your team make the quantifiable, fact-based decisions, best suited for your situation.


A large modern dining area of a building
American Family Insurance BL2

Also note, we understand the practical side of adaptive reuse. In particular, phasing. Oftentimes, the space about to be renovated is occupied. We understand the need to remain as productive as possible during reconstruction. We work closely with clients and all contractors to establish and practice productive schedules.

At Strang, we possess a passion for adaptive reuse projects, striving for inclusive, responsive, collaborative, and sustainable designs. Designs that ignite the imagination. Designs that celebrate the dream of potential. And designs that respect the importance of resource conservation, human health and safety, productivity, and wellbeing.


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