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The Plan[t] to Feed the City

Author: Matteo Robiglio
Excerpt from the book RE-USA: 20 American Stories of Adaptive Reuse
Project: The Plant (renewal of the Peer Foods factory)
Place: Chicago, USA
Photography: Matteo Robiglio

The conveyor rails once used to move slaughtered hogs are still hanging from the ceiling in the former Peer Foods factory – one of the last meatpacking plants to close in Chicago. It shut its doors in 2007. It was by observing something similar that Henry Ford, as he states in his 1922 autobiography My Life and Work, understood the potential of employing moving conveyor system and fixed work stations in manufacturing. If you could disassemble a hog this way, you could reverse the process and assemble a car.

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Sands Bethworks: Transforming USA’s Largest Brownfield

Landscape Architects: SWA Group
Location: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
Date: 2008
Photography: Tom Fox / SWA

The former home of Bethlehem Steel, site of the EPA’s largest brownfield conversion plan in the nation, required further consideration to improve soil pH levels and storm water runoff in preparation for its new mixed-use tenants. Its redesign honors our country’s industrial heritage through preservation and adaptive reuse and provides a healthy, appealing environment for visitors. Most importantly, it has catalyzed a stunning revival of the South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, region.

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Museum of Steel: Turning Brownfield into Greenfield

Architects: Surfacedesign Inc.
Location: Monterrey, Mexico
Date: 2007
Photography: Paúl Rivera

A team of international designers collaborated to transform a decommissioned blast furnace and a brownfield site into a modern history museum dedicated to the region’s rich history of steel production. Borrowing from materials endemic to the site, innovative landscape design weaves together with modern architecture to usher an old relic into the 21st century. Environmentally sensitive technologies – such as green roofs and a storm water collection system – offer a new approach to the landscape while respecting the original context.

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