Editor's letter

New life for old infrastructure

From innovative technology allowing green space to flourish underground to the planned ecological restoration of the Los Angeles River, adaptive reuse projects are becoming part of a movement to build more sustainably


Read on turning pages | Download PDF | sign up to CLAD

In cities across the globe, changing technologies and ways of travelling and working are leading to abandoned and obsolete public infrastructure. Railway lines, roads, waterways, ports, underground stations and more lie empty and abandoned.

Meanwhile, we are running out of space in our towns and cities to develop new parks and leisure spaces. And of course there’s an urgent need to design and build in a more sustainable way. It’s essential we reuse existing materials and structures as much as we can, rather than dismantling them and sending their components to landfill.

These factors are leading to a range of imaginative projects that see old infrastructure used in new and surprising ways.

We all know about the High Line and the way it has transformed New York, of course. While it’s probably the best known example of the adaptive reuse of infrastructure, there are many other incredible projects taking shape across the world.

On p76, we interview Alice Shay. Shay works within BuroHappold’s Cities Practice team, and leads the firm’s work on ‘stranded assets’ projects.

In New York, BuroHappold is working with the New York State Canal Corporation and New York Power Authority to imagine a new future for the Erie Canal. Once a key generator of wealth for Upstate New York, it now has huge potential for tourism and recreational use.

A competition resulted in shortlisted proposals that are currently being explored, including freezing part of the canal to be used as a skating rink in winter, running a brewing festival to celebrate the heritage of the region and attract people to the area, and the development of a canalside pocket neighbourhood.

Meanwhile, James Ramsey and Dan Barasch’s Lowline project is taking shape in New York; they are using innovative technology in the shape of remote skylights to concentrate sunlight and filter it underground through fibre optic helio tubes to turn an abandoned subway into a new underground park.

In the interview on p76, Shay says, “Not all towns want a High Line,” and a park is not always going to be the answer. For some cities, these stranded assets could be used for ecological restoration or to mitigate the effects of climate change. The Los Angeles River project aims to revitalise an 11 mile section of Los Angeles’ concrete encased river by stripping out the concrete bed and creating a green corridor where wildlife can flourish.

As Alice Shay says in our interview, “Infrastructure is the manifestation of our collective investment in the functioning of our urban places.”

It’s important we don’t allow that investment to go to waste.

In Paris, various proposals have been suggested to transform up to 16 disused metro stations. Proposals include the creation of

These projects all work best when the local community is involved. Local people often know best what they want and need.

As Alice Shay says in the interview: The circular economy of our infrastructure is a big challenge and an opportunity. It is essential that we, as designers and urban strategists, work towards ensuring that our collective investment in infrastructure allows us to live sustainably and equitably together in our cities.

Magali Robathan, managing editor, CLAD

company profile
Company profile: Matrix Fitness
Unrelenting drive to be the best at what we do underpins activity throughout our vertically integrated business life cycle.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
Mahdavi designed pastel interiors for the recently opened Laduree store and cafe in Tokyo
After working for Christian Liaigre in Paris, Mahdavi launched her practice in 1999
"I never thought it was a talent. I just did it very naturally, without thinking"

The ‘queen of colour’ on her nomadic childhood, being fearless and choosing the exact right shade of pink for the Sketch Gallery restaurant

CLAD people: Jean Nouvel
Jean Nouvel Architect
"It has spaces inside that exist nowhere else"

On the National Museum of Qatar

Cucinelli set up a cashmere dying business in 1978. It has now become a billion dollar empire based in Solomeo
"It would be great if today’s men left as a legacy for the future some architectural and humanistic monuments for the next hundred, three hundred, one thousand years"

BrunelloCucinelli has madehisfortune from cashmere and has used hiswealthto restoreandrevive theItalian hamlet he callshome. Wefindout more

features
A large mural behind the bar acts as a focal point for the room
Fu has a masters in architecture from Cambridge University
"I wanted to go deeper than the stereotypical concept of lanterns, junks and temples"

Drawing on his childhood memories for the St Regis Hong Kong

Wellness: Hidden treasure
"True luxury is about preserving the soul of an incredible destination"

KimMegsonvisitstheaward-winning ChabléYucatánResort&Spa

cladkit product news
Paul Kelley pushes 'technical boundaries' with modular furniture cube system
The system is designed to enable users to create multifunctional, adaptable pieces, where they are in complete control of the design and function of their furniture
Lauren Heath-Jones
British designer Paul Kelley has created a modular magnetic cube furniture system that enables users to create multifunctional, adaptable pieces, ...
Tom Dixon Studio to relaunch iconic Pylon chair
Pylon was first designed more than 20 years ago
Lauren Heath-Jones
Originally conceived in his metal workshop in the early 90's, the Pylon chair was Dixon's attempt to create the world's ...
Crown overhaul changing rooms at Saunton Sands spa
Crown Sports Lockers installed rain of Nebraska Oak clothes lockers with RFID Digilocks in the changing rooms
Lauren Heath-Jones
Saunton Sands Hotel in Devon, UK, has completed a £2m expansion of its spa and wellness facilities. The upgrade included ...
cladkit product news
Mater partners with Ditzel family to create eco-friendly furniture using reclaimed plastic
The furniture uses plastic from recycled fishing nets
Lauren Heath-Jones
Mater, an ethical design brand based in Denmark, has launched a furniture collection made from plastic reclaimed from the ocean. ...
Alusid's Sequel collection combines craftsmanship and sustainability says founder
The Sequel collection is billed as the 'most waste-efficient and sustainable' on the market
Lauren Heath-Jones
Alusid, a creator of eco-friendly surfaces, has partnered with Parkside to launch the Sequel range, the brand's first collection of ...
Duravit launches Tempano shower trays
The Tempano trays feature a state-of-the-art design that combines a linear slope with a high drainage rate
Lauren Heath-Jones
Duravit, a Germany-based bathroom fixtures company, has launched Tempano, a series of easy-to-install shower trays for the home. Available in ...
cladkit product news
Baux creates plant-based acoustic panels
Baux has worked with scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology to create Baux Acoustic Pulp, a plant-derived acoustic solution
Lauren Heath-Jones
Baux, an acoustic products brand based in Sweden, has developed a line of biodegradable acoustic panels, using a plant-based material ...
BD Barcelona Design reveals Cristallo by the late Alessandro Mendini
Cristallo was the last design from acclaimed designer and architect Alessandro Mendini
Lauren Heath-Jones
Design Studio BD Barcelona Design has released Cristallo, a limited-edition cabinet designed by the late architect and designer Alessandro Mendini, ...
Volvo partners with Reef Lab Designs to encourage ocean biodiversity
The tiles are made from marine-grade concrete and recycled plastic fibres
Lauren Heath-Jones
Car manufacturer Volvo has partnered with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and Reef Design Lab to create an environmentally-friendly ...