From the tower to the square : Transforming Post-Industrial Historical sites into community Cores

What does it take to revive a building? Why do we need continuity? How do we preserve sense of place? And How can we make more sustainable?


Pohjan Sali


Start: 16.06.2022
End: 16.06.2022


The rehabilitation of a building is a structural and material endeavour but making it communal is a social and political challenge. In this workshop, we have explored the technologies, practices and challenges of Adaptive Reuse. Through four case studies, 4 panellists have discussed barriers to best practice and the meaning of palimpsest in transforming post-industrial sites into community cores.

The panel was moderated by Maroun C. Tabbal, a Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Architect, teaching Technology innovation Research at the Centre for Architectural Education at University College Cork.

  • Charlotte Skene Catling, Architect and co-founder at Skene Catling De la Peña architects.

  • Lisa Methling, City of Bochum

  • Chloé Beaufays from City of Liège

  • Dr. sc. Irena Matković, Assistant head of Strategy, city of Zagreb

The pannelists present their cases shortly, namely the Aalto Silo (Oulu), the House of Knowledge (Bochum), the Val Benoît (reconversion of an emblematic site in Liège) and the ProGIreg project (Productive Green Infrastructure Regeneration in Zagreb). Three of these infrastructures are concretely implemented, while the House of Knowledge's opening is planned for 2026.

The location of these buildings are strategic (The Silo's location, just below the Artic Circle and proposed content, can draw attention on the climate change, the House of Knowledge is located in the middle of Bochum'city center), the Val Benoît is located among the (future) tramway line, right by the river, easily accessible by train or by road, etc.

Through these examples, the following points were higlighted :

  • Sustainability, climate change (the Silo's location, just below the Artic Circle and proposed content, can draw attention on it) and the mix between science and art have a role to play.
  • The lack of transformation practice and insuffisent research on models of transformation.
  • The link between these building and universities (ULiège in the Val Benoît case and UniverCity in Bochum's one) in the urban factory,
  • The well-discussed and thin border between the decision to destroy a building and the desire to keep it (and assuming the - high- costs inherent in its reassignment) and to integrate the city's global strategy. Futhermore, the complexity of the procedure of rehabilitation were highlighted (particularly regarding post-industrial sites protected as cultural heritage).


UNIC CityLabs | Post-Industrial Cities


Social inclusion | Higher Education | Post-industrial Cities

Type of Case




Organizing unic universities

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