Adaptive Re-use in Custer City, Oklahoma

re-use = recycle

adaptive = unique & creative

Adaptive re-use is the re-purposing of an existing building for a new use other than its original intended purpose.  This term generally implies re-use of old or abandoned buildings, and often within areas or communities that are experiencing a downtrend in building, or the communities and areas themselves are abandoned or neglected.  Adaptive re-use is oftentimes associated with infill (either urban or suburban), urban sprawl (prevention), and historic preservation.  All of the above terms are integral to shifting, and sometimes controversial, community planning styles and their merits are much debated.  

Despite sometimes being emotionally and politically charged terms, Adaptive Re-use is at its core - the ultimate in recycling.  By re-use of a building and space we are extending the lifecycle of that building and the materials and resources that the building embodies.

The challenges that recycling a building create tend to lead directly to the features that make the new spaces and new use unique, exciting, and beautiful.  The process of adapting a building from its original program to a new use, requires utilizing shapes, spaces, volume, and materials that one would not typically experience in projects designed and built using current traditional methods and materials associated with such uses.

Small downtown Custer City, Oklahoma, current population under 400 people is your quintessential small-town, USA. In this Custer City, Oklahoma adaptive re-use we have taken a building that was originally a typical brick and mortar, downtown main street retail store and designed a loft style one bedroom residence.  Retail stores of this type are narrow, long and linear, open access at front and back with no openings to either side, single story and with relatively high ceilings.  One challenge of this project was to bring natural light into the interior, and to connect the exterior uncovered patios with the living spaces.  To accomplish this, the rooms are designed around a corridor of light from the front entry to the rear patio creating a view through the space and a feeling of openness. Further, by maximizing window and doors in the front opening, and an open design layout for Living Room, Kitchen and Dining we are able to take full advantage of natural light into these spaces.  Additionally, to enhance the draw through the spaces, we created a direct view from the front entrance through to the back access.  This viewpoint serves as circulation the primary circulation hall.  To avoid enhancing the hall appearance we have created intermediary spaces along the hall that open up into usable spaces such as utility/mud room.

By preserving and exposing the original brick walls, there is an honesty in materials that provides a backdrop of rich color, texture, and character to the otherwise refined finishes and interior environment, while at the same time respecting the buildings retail past.