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Creative Spaces: New Lives for Abandoned Buildings

Posted: 12/12/2011 9:06 am

My husband, Richard Florida and I were recently in Maastricht, The Netherlands to attend a conference on sustainable buildings and adaptive resuse. The region is awash in abandoned buildings, including manufacturing plants, schools and churches. Some of them were victims of the financial crisis; others could no longer justify their high operating costs. Many of these buildings still had beauty and economic value; all that was missing was a savvy developer to repurpose them into adaptable new forms. One of them -- an abandoned monastery that had served time as a government office building -- had found new life as a five-star hotel.

How can a building be retrofitted for an entirely different form and purpose and still keep its authenticity, history and functionality? This Creative Spaces series features some of most inspired repurposed buildings we've seen, in Maastricht and elsewhere. With the help of my colleague at the Creative Class Group, Steven Pedigo, we've assembled this slide show.

Kruisherenhotel, Maastricht, The Netherlands
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Built in the 14th century as a monastery for the Crutched Friars, the complex, which includes a Gothic church, enjoyed a brief second life as a government office building before it was abandoned in 1979. Late in 2000, it was thoroughly renovated and repurposed as a luxurious, five-star hotel. The old monastery houses most of the guestrooms, while the Renaissance-style concierge building and a newly-built annex accommodate the remaining spaces. The former church now contains a stunning reception area, conference rooms, a library, a boutique and a coffee bar.

Photo Credit: Holly Hayes, Flickr
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