Adaptive Re-Use of Industrial Heritage: Resilience or Irreparable Loss?

September 6, 2016

Nilüfer Baturayoğlu Yöney, Burak Asiliskender, Ayşegül Özer
DOCOMOMO 14th International Conference
Adaptive Reuse, The Modern Movement Towards the Future
Lisbon, 6-9 September 2016


The restoration and adaptive reuse of industrial heritage buildings and complexes, which present structurally and functionally resilient shells, provide us with an interesting dilemma in theory and practice: Made of hard wearing materials to house straining functions and to last as long as possible, they are also flexible enough to adapt to almost any new purpose as a container. However, the presence of original machinery and equipment as well as designs based on machine-buildings may reduce the possibilities of adaptive re-use to a museum, where the buildings exhibit themselves, retaining the social, economic, historic and public aspects of cultural heritage as documents. Although originally built on the outskirts of urban settlements, today most industrial heritage complexes occupy central locations in the metropolitan sprawl of major cities. If disused, they are considered obsolete brownfields by local authorities and citizens despite personal and collective memories that may be attached to them. Their conversion into new uses presents major technical difficulties that require expertise in design and implementation. This paper discusses the theoretical and practical aspects of the adaptive reuse of industrial heritage and inherent problems, focusing on the case of the Sümerbank Kayseri Textile Factory (I. Nikolaev, Turkstroj, 1932-1935), which is being transformed into the campus of Abdullah Gül University. The restoration, renovation and adaptive reuse projects for different components of the complex follow similar principles of preservation and sustainability while they are modified to fit the architectural and technological characteristics of each building. Thus, although conversive and easily adaptable, the preservation of industrial architectural heritage becomes a dilemma between disruption and continuity, which the architects have to solve going beyond the possibilities of mere building stock on the one hand and that of the museum on the other.


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