The built environment helps shape our individual and collective identities. Preservation of place and adaptive reuse of buildings celebrate the dynamic of the future and addresses the lessons of the past. They celebrate diversity, recognizing the value of old and new, of
modernity and tradition. Successful revitalization demonstrates that forms, materials, and building techniques used in the past are still valid when properly adapted to contemporary needs and demands. This most basic sense of historic preservation applies directly to
sustainable development and addresses our social responsibility to maintain historical and cultural values.
The rehabilitation of Redfield Stables into a sustainable art exhibit, live performance, and social event space will bring to the stables new purpose yet emphasize its character-defining features. A literature review of sustainable development, historic preservation,
and barn restoration publications combined with an examination of the requirements of event design informs the rehabilitation of the stables. Other important methods of research are interviews with architects, historians, and academics who are relevant to
and progressive in all these fields of research and participation at conferences where the
foremost technologies and design solutions are being presented. An understanding of the
stables’ history defines its requirements of architecture and design, beginning with the use
of symmetry and mathematics as the basis for its program. Creative techniques to achieve
maximum flexibility for the division of spaces will be complemented by the incorporation of
environmentally-innovative but historically consistent materials. Special attention is given to defining features that support social sustainability and encourage community. Flexibility and adaptive qualities are also important elements of its sustainable revitalization.
As the work presented in this thesis will show, the preservation of architecture, sustainable design, and event design span a wide range of disciplines, but they all have one very important thing in common: they all tell a story. All spaces interpret some time or place,
and the tangible aspects of the historic character of a stable—its setting, form, materials, door and window openings, large interior space, structural framework, and decorative features—define its past, its story, its cultural and historical significance. The reuse of an historic building should generate excitement and spark dialogue and curiosity. The newly revitalized spaces of Redfield Stables transform the stories of its past in terms of
its contemporary use as a sustainable event space, while the use of the space for cultural purposes helps to emphasize continuity. Its use as a space for sustainable events, with moneys raised going towards like-minded fundraising efforts, further promotes the value of our historic and cultural resources and the social responsibility we have to be not only environmentally and economically sustainable, but also socially sustainable. The events that take place within will promote these sustainable strategies through collaborative efforts, of balancing economic, environmental, and community objectives. In turn, these events will inspire new and engaging ideas that lead to further economic opportunity, social equity, and environmental well-being.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Masters of Arts
Corcoran College of Art + Design (Washington, D.C.)
Masters Theses from the Corcoran College of Art + Design
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