The program encouraged the creative use of existing resources in new, out-of-the box ways that will benefit the environment, the community, and architectural heritage of a neighborhood or region. USE what you have! When you've been given or handed down a resource, its important to use its embodied energy (the materials- such as brick and wood; the time and effort spent by original contractors, artisans, and administrators to build and use the structure; and the money spent to fund the project initially and maintain it over the years). Examples of successful adaptive reuse projects are cropping up daily- particularly in city centers where space is limited and the building stock already exists. Through photos and narratives, we learned about projects ranging from art studios and maker spaces to restaurants, residential housing,and commercial offices. The possibilities truly are endless!
After the talks, the group headed to Hilltop School for a walk-through.
For some of us, it was our first opportunity to tour the building. Talk about a mixed bag of emotions! For those of us not from the area, touring Hilltop was enlightening on many levels- the architecture is a prime example of early-20th century Neoclassicism adapted to a large-scale educational building. Also, the building is not in the terrible condition I had imagined; rather, the deferred maintenance is showing, but is at a stage where it could be turned around as long as it is addressed now instead of 10 years down the line. Finally, the building shows the evolution of the education system and how certain rooms and elements were used on a daily basis- the chalkboards, the built-in-bookcases, the winding staircase, the more modern shop and garage, and the FABULOUS gymnasium! Talk about intact and great for community gatherings.