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The Plan[t] to Feed the City

Author: Matteo Robiglio
Excerpt from the book RE-USA: 20 American Stories of Adaptive Reuse
Project: The Plant (renewal of the Peer Foods factory)
Place: Chicago, USA
Photography: Matteo Robiglio

The conveyor rails once used to move slaughtered hogs are still hanging from the ceiling in the former Peer Foods factory – one of the last meatpacking plants to close in Chicago. It shut its doors in 2007. It was by observing something similar that Henry Ford, as he states in his 1922 autobiography My Life and Work, understood the potential of employing moving conveyor system and fixed work stations in manufacturing. If you could disassemble a hog this way, you could reverse the process and assemble a car.

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Ballast Point: From Fossil Fuel Storage to Renewable Energy Provider

Architects: McGregor Coxall
Location: Sydney, Australia
Date: 2009
Size: 2,5 ha
Photography: Mark SykesDroneheadzBrettBoardman, McGregor Coxall

This multi award winning 2.5ha post industrial waterfront park is located on a contaminated former lubricant production site on the Birchgrove Peninsula in the inner reaches of Sydney harbour. The site’s richly layered history included occupation by indigenous people, construction of the ’Menevia’ marine villa in the 1860’s, quarry use for ship ballast and finally petroleum distillation by Caltex from the 1920’s until 2002. As lead consultant, McGregor Coxall undertook project management, design development, construction documentation and administered the construction contract for the client. This project’s design is driven by a strong environmental agenda where recycled materials are used site wide. Wind turbine generators reflect a movement away from fossil fuels and an integrated stormwater management and recycle system ensures that all stormwater entering Sydney Harbour from the site has been cleaned and polished prior to its discharge.

 

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Sands Bethworks: Transforming USA’s Largest Brownfield

Landscape Architects: SWA Group
Location: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
Date: 2008
Photography: Tom Fox / SWA

The former home of Bethlehem Steel, site of the EPA’s largest brownfield conversion plan in the nation, required further consideration to improve soil pH levels and storm water runoff in preparation for its new mixed-use tenants. Its redesign honors our country’s industrial heritage through preservation and adaptive reuse and provides a healthy, appealing environment for visitors. Most importantly, it has catalyzed a stunning revival of the South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, region.

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MFO Park: The North Zurich Parkscape

Architects: Raderschallpartner
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Date: 2002
Photography: Michael Freisager

The park site was in use for roughly a century by the Oerlikon Machine Works (MFO). In the course of industrialisation the entire grounds were at one time filled in with construction debris, sand from the foundry and ash, and the plot had thus suffered from pollution. Together with nearby Oerliker Park, an enormous wooded area is now arising, created by the contiguous tops and trunks of countless ash trees. MFO Park responds to this in its own way with the “Park House”, a large open hall and a trellis overgrown with hundreds of blooming, aromatic climbers.

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Museum of Steel: Turning Brownfield into Greenfield

Architects: Surfacedesign Inc.
Location: Monterrey, Mexico
Date: 2007
Photography: Paúl Rivera

A team of international designers collaborated to transform a decommissioned blast furnace and a brownfield site into a modern history museum dedicated to the region’s rich history of steel production. Borrowing from materials endemic to the site, innovative landscape design weaves together with modern architecture to usher an old relic into the 21st century. Environmentally sensitive technologies – such as green roofs and a storm water collection system – offer a new approach to the landscape while respecting the original context.

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