Adaptive Infrastructures for Alternative Futures

Department of Interior Architecture, Adaptive Reuse | Rhode Island School of Design | Graduate Thesis Book | Published 2018

This short book is an attempt to situate Adaptive Reuse practices within conversations of transitional economies and alternative institutions that typically fall outside of the purview of mainstream architectural theory. Why you may ask, would an architecture student want to compose a study of adaptive reuse as an intervention into large-scale infrastructures of agribusiness and economics? For two main reasons – One, because I feel that adaptive reuse architecture if taken out of its usual confines, can be a viable option for repurposing large scale repeatable built forms on the landscape into adaptable infrastructure for more promising futures. And two, because adaptive reuse also has a social and organizational component that involves transitions between old economic strategies and new possibilities. Strategic design is one term for this use of organizational practices that I will employ throughout this text. The narrative of this book will begin with a research problem told through the architectural history of centralized animal feedlots. It will then move into a test case with Farm Sanctuary as an opportunity to experiment with design-thinking as an intervention into large-scale agricultural infrastructures. The goal is to speculate an extension of Farm Sanctuary’s capacities to adapt an existing dairy farm into a farm sanctuary of its own. The overarching theme of this endeavor is to attach adaptive reuse strategies to alternative modes of economic re-development.