Adaptive Reuse – Recycling on a Grand Scale

Adaptive reuse is recycling on a grand scale.  Actually adaptive reuse is on the scale of reusing an old site or old building for a purpose other than the one for which it was originally constructed and used.  In other words, the original structure is not torn down to have something else built in its place.  Instead, the original structure is adapted within and without to serve a new purpose for a current population while allowing it to hold the history of the site intact.

Record Street Home

Adaptive Reuse

Adaptive reuse is a worldwide creative architectural endeavor with some amazing results – from the Everyman Theater in Baltimore, a theater adapted from a parking garage –  to a European sewage plant turned into a cultural center – to a bank in Butte, Montana that is now a restaurant serving dinner in the vault.  All of these efforts and thoughtful consideration of history and progress are key in conserving land and history and reducing urban sprawl.

City Hall

Government reuse

Protection of our historic resources has encouraged much adaptive reuse in Frederick.  The William Talley Recreation Center was featured in my last post.  Another well known building in Frederick that has been preserved by adaptive reuse is City Hall.  In its former life, it was the Courthouse of Frederick County.  It is one of the many buildings that make downtown Frederick an architectural marvel.

There are many brilliant examples of adaptive reuse in downtown – factories that have become office buildings, residential spaces that now hold businesses, and even churches that have become residences.  These types of adaptive reuse help Frederick residents enjoy the past while living in the future.



520 N Market

520 North Market Street

Upcoming adaptive reuse project:

520 North Market Street was built in 1878 as a “school for boys.”  It is characterized by its flat roof, projecting central pavilion and bracketed cornices.  The former schoolhouse became offices for Citizen Services of Frederick County.  The County sold the building to Interfaith Housing Alliance for the purpose of creating workforce housing.  IHA is partnering with PIRHL to adapt this lovely old building into 59 apartments.

Support businesses and organizations in our area that aim to adaptively reuse existing and historic structures and thereby preserve our history and secure our future.


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Where is this building?


Question of the day: This is not on the library building you know on Patrick Street.  Do you where this sign is?