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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



A significant portion of a building’s carbon emission comes from the materials used to construct it, primarily through fabrication and assembly. According to the World Green Building Council, this is called embodied carbon, and it makes up to 49% of the total emissions from global construction. Thus, new energy-efficient buildings can take from 10-80 years of time to offset just the carbon used in construction. Combined with such amounts of construction and demolition waste, new construction can be viewed as a wasteful or even destructive practice. Adaptive reuse presents a promising alternative method for creating new space, without the emissions and waste that would be generated by building something new. This thesis identifies challenges in the adaptability of existing buildings and provides instances which show why reuse and mixed-use spaces are significant. A literature review will be used to provide the concepts and strategies of sustainability. ix Case studies will help identify the real world issues and how they are addressed in different ways to show various functional spaces. Adaptive reuse is also being explored as a means to fulfill the socio-cultural, economic and environmental sustainability goals while keeping the character of the city intact.


First Advisor

Ray K Mann