Preserving and renovating historic buildings is an essential part of what we do. There are precious few historic buildings remaining in our urban cores. Thousands of buildings were demolished during the “urban renewal” efforts of the 1940s, forever changing the historic fabric of our cities. What remains must be cherished. Many of the most architecturally significant structures are in major disrepair and in dire need of restoration. Often they require complete structural reinforcement, new mechanical systems, and a full renovation of tenant spaces. The adaptive reuse of historic buildings is extremely complex, and costs can be hard to predict. However, the results are irreplaceable.
While historic buildings may not always be the most energy efficient structures, the adaptive reuse of these existing buildings is the most environmentally responsible building practice available today. Rather than sourcing all new building materials, historic reuse relies on existing materials. The majority of the building materials are recycled and repurposed, saving vast amounts of natural resources in the process.
Urban Villages embraces the complexity of adaptive reuse. By overlaying the bones of a historic building with the benefits of modern design, we create a completely unique building type. Tenants and investors alike are drawn to these fully modernized historic buildings because of the finite supply and reverence for the past.
“The historic fabric of our cities and towns should be treasured. It tells us where we came from, giving us a sense of connection with the past. It adds architectural diversity to a community that cannot be replicated. And there is no more sustainable building practice than the adaptive reuse of historic buildings.”
The Manufacturers Exchange is the centerpiece of the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood in Seattle, Washington. Comprised of three separate buildings that are over 100 years old, the Exchange combines heavy timber frames and mud-brick masonry facades with high-efficiency mechanical systems, full seismic structural reinforcements, and resplendent modern design. By investing the necessary time and capital in this iconic collection of historic buildings, Urban Villages is able to create another 100+ years of vibrancy and strong economic returns for this irreplaceable asset.