Adaptive Reuse of a Turn-of the-Century Military Fort Bridges Past and Future

October 13, 2021 - by commARCH
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Adaptive Reuse of a Turn-of the-Century Military Fort Bridges Past and Future

Where did it happen?
Washington D.C.

Who was Involved?
Seattle-based architecture firm Signal Architecture + Research and the military.

Image Credits: Arthur Ross


When did this happen?
June 2021

Why is it important?
Seattle-based architectural firm Signal Architecture + Research has undertaken a project with the military to rehabilitate idle military installations and structures. After nearly seven years of master planning and design, the first phase at Fort Worden is already complete. The rehabilitation and the adaptive reuse of three historic warehouse buildings in Makers Square which will now function as a center for arts and education serve as the focus of this phase.

What are the key aspects?
The vision of Signal Architecture + Research is to rehabilitate the old military buildings in order to preserve their history and enhance their utility. Building on the idea that a well-loved building is a preserved building, this approach expands historic rehabilitation beyond just appearance to function. Preserving the past of these historic structures means celebrating the markings of time and work in an interior character that inspires the artists and makers who will occupy these spaces.

Image Credits: Arthur Ross


The design team repurposed existing materials wherever possible to preserve  historic character. The refurbishment of the structures embraced the combination of new and salvaged materials to create a fusion of history and futurity.