12/12/2011 09:06 EST | Updated 02/11/2012 05:12 EST

Creative Spaces: New Lives for Abandoned Buildings

Matturick, Flickr

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.