Transformative Reuse: Rearchitecture of the Built Environment

by Ryn Burns (MDes '13)

Ryn Burns explored various sites in former Communist Block nations and in the Boston vicinity before settling on his final topic. His overview provided a frame to understand culturally distinct strategies for reuse of existing sites across Europe that differs from recent United States practice as embodied in the National Park Service tax credit programs and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.

Burns proposes to broaden the field of interventions to deal with the vast decaying material stocks of our cities in a more sustainable manner. As an architect, Burns argues from the cultural perspective of Critical Conservation that preservation strategies must engage new generations of designers in the act of re-authoring the city of the future out of the ruins of today. Instead of simply being directed by the existing fabric, twenty-first critical conservation strategies must recognize and elevate the new types of adaptive reuse of buildings to its rightful place as a creative and transformative act of architecture.