Archives and historic buildings : a perfect match or a disaster waiting to happen? /

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Davis, Jane
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Middle Tennessee State University
The reuse of buildings and adaptation of an existing structure to a new purpose is not uncommon. A warehouse is converted to trendy loft apartments, a former school becomes offices for school administrators, a church becomes a theater; these are all fairly common reuses of existing buildings. While the idea of adaptive reuse seems simple, the decision to adapt a building to a new use that is far different from the original intended use can be quite complex. If the new use design has specific architectural requirements, a number of factors can influence the adaptive reuse of the building. Buildings to house archives have very specific architectural requirements and needs but in many communities, archives are housed in historic buildings adapted for this purpose. How does a community make the decision to reuse a historic building as an archival building? How does an archival facility differ from other adaptive reuse projects? Are certain building types better suited for reuse as an archive? What organizational structures best support an effective adaptive reuse of a historic building as an archive? What role does an archive in a historic building play in its communities? By examining case studies of communities that have dealt with issue of adaptive reuse of historic buildings for archives, we can hopefully answer these questions and set forth a discussion of best practices to guide future projects.
Adviser: Carroll Van West.