A-Z Popular Blog Architecture Search »
Architecture Guides

5 Types of Adaptive Reuse

 , updated on
Adaptive reuse is the reuse of architecture for a new purpose. This is often viewed as a sustainable strategy that avoids the waste of demolishing a building to build a new one. Adaptive reuse can also preserve or partially preserve buildings of historical significance in a practical way that sees them used by the community. The following are common types of adaptive reuse.

Historical Preservation

Reusing a historic building with an effort to preserve or restore its original state. For example, an art museum in an old factory that partially preserves elements of the original building.


Renovation that replaces much of the building that may be in poor repair. In many cases, the basic structure and external appearance of the original building is maintained but the inside is completely different.


Use of one of more external walls of a building as a facade for a new building. This can allow a new building to have a historic look while being useful and energy efficient. As a practical solution this is popular with developers but not amongst those who seek to preserve the history of a city. A facade can be a compromise for a building that is excessively poor repair or a site with little historical value.


Building around the original structure such that it remains but is encompassed by a new building. For example, student apartments built into a historic water tower.


Repurposing of infrastructure such as an elevated highway that is converted into an linear park.
Overview: Adaptive Reuse
The reuse of architecture for a new purpose.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about architecture.
Urban Design
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.


An overview of architecture with examples.

Immersive Environment

The basic types of immersive environment.


An architectural overview of window types with examples.


An architectural overview of popular types of house with examples.


The definition of chalet with examples.

Modern Houses

The definition of modern house with examples.

Window Glass

An overview of the common types of glass used in windows with photos.


The definition of structure with examples.

Things In Cities

An a-z list of things in cities.

Urban Design

A few common urban design terms.

Green Walls vs Green Facades

The difference between a green wall and green facade.

Sustainable Urban Design

A list of sustainable urban design techniques.

Passive Design vs Active Design

The difference between active and passive design.

Street Canyon

How a street canyon changes an urban environment.

Parti Pris

An overview of parti pris in architecture with an example.

City Issues

A list of common city issues.

Community Problems

A list of common community problems.

City Types

An list of the common types of city.
The most popular articles on Simplicable in the past day.

New Articles

Recent posts or updates on Simplicable.
Site Map