UnDoing Buildings: Adaptive Reuse and Cultural Memory, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

UnDoing Buildings

Adaptive Reuse and Cultural Memory, 1st Edition

By Sally Stone


264 pages

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Paperback: 9781138226630
pub: 2019-07-04
Available for pre-order
Hardback: 9781138226616
pub: 2019-07-04
Available for pre-order

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UnDoing Buildings: Adaptive Reuse and Cultural Memory discusses one of the greatest challenges for twenty-first century society: what is to be done with the huge stock of existing buildings that have outlived the function for which they were built. Their worth is well recognised and the importance of retaining them has been long debated, but if they are to be saved, what is to be done with these redundant buildings?

This book argues that the remodelling of these is a healthy, and environmentally friendly approach. Issues of heritage, conservation, sustainability and smartness are at the forefront of many discussions about architecture today and adaptive reuse offers the opportunity to reinforce the particular character of an area using up-to-date digital and construction techniques for a contemporary population. Issues of collective memory and identity combined with ideas of tradition, history and culture mean that it is possible to retain a sense of continuity with the past as a way of creating the future.

UnDoing Buildings: Adaptive Reuse and Cultural Memory has an international perspective and will be of interest to upper level students and professionals working on the fields of Interior Design, Interior Architecture, Architecture, Conservation, Urban Design, and Development.


"Probably the most comprehensive book in the field today, Stone's narrative allows the reader to go inside a building's life, connecting architectural theory with contemporary art, and environmental science to interrogate its layers of history, and changes over time."

Markus Berger, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director, Department of Interior Architecture, Rhode Island School of Design

"An invaluable reference book, ‘Undoing Buildings’ illuminates the myriad attitudes and strategies brought to existing buildings and their accumulated meanings in the manner of preparatory literature for a studio or workshop, in which precedents and their attendant histories and thought are exposed to both enlighten and empower the participant."

Mark Pimlott, TU Delft, Netherlands

Author of Without and within, and The Public Interior as Idea and Project

"The 21st century is the era of the circular economy. This book is an authoritative and compelling guide to understanding the ideas and values of these approaches to the built environment. It is an essential read for those who want a comprehensive introduction to the fundamental thinking behind building re-use and the formation of the architectured and designed interior"

Professor Graeme Brooker: Chair of Interior Design, Royal College of Art, London

"Sally Stone’s book is an important contribution to the emerging discipline of adaptive reuse and its growing theoretical framework. Her attractive discourse considers the built environment as a palimpsest not frozen in the past, but as a possibilty for future programs."

Prof. Koenraad Van Cleempoel, Faculty of Architecture & Arts, Hasselt University

“This book provides, aside from an intelligent and inspirational state of the art of an interiorist’s approach towards existing buildings, a provocative expansion of the existing body of theory on adaptive reuse. Stone’s coherent and captious picture will greatly help students and academics interested in the past and future of our built environment.”

Inge Somers, University of Antwerp – Faculty of Design Sciences – Interior architecture program

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Foreword: Ed Hollis

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Reading and Recognition: Landmarks of Memory

Chapter 3: The Perception of the Past: The Task of the Translator

Chapter 4: Site Specific Art: Unintentional Monuments

Chapter 5: The Problem of Obsolete Buildings: A Society can only Support So Many Museums

Chapter 6: Memory and Anticipation: The Existing Building and the Expectations of the New Users

Chapter 7: Conservation: A Future Orientated Movement Focussing on the Past

Chapter 8: Sustainable Adaptation

Chapter 9: Spatial Agency or Taking Action

Chapter 10: Smartness and the Impact of the Digital

Chapter 11: On Taking Away

Chapter 12: On Making Additions: Assemblage, Memory and the Recovery of Wholeness

Chapter 13: Itinerant Elements

Chapter 14: Nearness and Thinking About Details

Further Reading

About the Author

Sally Stone lives in the north of England. She has been designing, formulating ideas and writing about building reuse for thirty years. Sally is a Reader at the Manchester School of Architecture where she leaders the Master of Architecture programme.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Historic Preservation / General