Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The way in which we approach building design is constantly being influenced by evolving economic, environmental and social parameters. These factors have implications on both pragmatic and aesthetic facets of design. The built environment is not autonomous from its immediate site or the ecologies of the region in which it is located, rather, the former must be designed to symbiotically exist within and enhance the latter. The term ecology is defined as “a branch of science that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings.” Although this typically relates to biology, the term can be expanded to include economic or social ecology. It has been proposed that architectural design can be informed through and should evolve in relation to; environmental, economic and social ecologies. This thesis will examine the relationships between these “ecologies” and how they can inform the adaptive reuse of a vacant industrial site. It will include an examination of the paradigm shift from large-scale industrial manufacturing to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) at the economic and social level. It will further discuss the evolution of environmental awareness within this shift and how these values can drive architectural design while allowing for long term flexibility in adaptive reuse.

First Advisor

Kathleen Lugosch

Second Advisor

Ray K Mann