February 26, 2015 | John Berendzen | Education, Extracurricular

Used to be Something Else

Chris Montroy and I were fortunate this year to give a presentation to the Alberti Program at Washington University. This is something we’ve been doing for about the past 5 or 6 years now. The program is run by Gay Lorberbaum. (factoid – Gay was the first Design Studio Professor I had when I was an undergrad at Wash U – back in the olden days). In previous years we’ve talked about Sketching, Sustainability, Building Systems and general “This is what we are doing now” topics. This year our presentation was on “Things that used to be something else” or “UTBSE”. Architects might refer to this as “Adaptive Reuse” but we thought UTBSE was catchier.  We borrowed the thought from the authors of the website “Used to be a Pizza Hut”.  For more on that, there’s a great story on the podcast 99% Invisible.

We used several things as examples – warehouses that are now schools,

interior_entrance - edited
Former Warehouse – now a Learning and Community Center



factories that are now offices,

Former Factory – now an Office Building


or one of our current projects, a barn that’s now a conference center.  In the spirit of the day, we brought a couple of boxes of stuff from the office that the students re-purposed as models for a house they designed.

Students getting ready for the presentation


This is a wonderful program. Gay has recently expanded her reach – she’s now part of a similar program called “Building Futures”. This looks like a great program too – looking forward to what the future generation of aspiring architects creates at both these programs!

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