For over 30 years, Deborah Berke Partners has been a leader in transforming old buildings for new futures. Transform: The Architecture of Adaptation will explore and document the ecological and urban imperative to revive and adapt existing built fabric, and it will demonstrate innovative and timeless tools and methods for creating successful new architecture out of old structures and found conditions. The book will be illustrated primarily, but not exclusively, with projects by Deborah Berke Partners, including academic buildings, boutique hotels, and community and cultural centers. Essays by Deborah Berke, Noah Biklen, Arthi Krishnamoorthy, and Alan Brake introduce each chapter. It will also include contributions by critics, planners, and artists with a shared interest in creating a sustainable, equitable, and enriching urban environment. Contributors include artist Titus Kaphar, urban history scholar Karen Seto, environmenal design leaders Atelier Ten, and photographer Christopher Payne.
The term “adaptive reuse” is bland and imprecise. It implies a lack of rigor, as if old buildings were discarded objects that can easily be repurposed, like a turning an old milk crate into a bookshelf. Buildings—good ones, bad ones, whether designed by a famous architect, or without an author—are complex things, with histories, with impacts on their surroundings, with relations to people and places. They do not all deserve to be saved, but many do. Sometimes an unremarkable building can be transformed into something better than it ever was. Even good buildings by noted architects can be improved upon, especially if their use has changed or if their context has been significantly altered.
In much of the country, particularly small to mid-sized, post-industrial cities, opportunities abound for the creative reuse of existing buildings. Deborah Berke Partners approaches these buildings—old warehouses, office buildings, even a historic sanatorium designed by H. H. Richardson—as material resources and as the foundation of sustainable urban redevelopment. These projects have impacts that extend far beyond their walls—this work is part of an urgent rethinking of American urbanism.
In July 2016, Deborah became the first woman dean of the Yale School of Architecture, where she has been a professor since 1987. Deborah continues Yale’s long tradition of distinguished practitioners who have served as Dean, including Robert A.M. Stern, Cesar Pelli, and Paul Rudolph. With a passion for both the teaching and practice of architecture, she continues to direct the firm’s creative work.
Deborah is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, a Trustee and Vice President of the Urban Design Forum, a James Howell Foundation Board Member, a member of the Yaddo Board of Directors, and a member of the Pritzker Prize jury. Over the past two decades, Deborah has also served as trustee and vice president of desigNYC, founding trustee of New York City’s Design Trust for Public Space, trustee of the National Building Museum, Chair of the Board of Advisors for the Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University, trustee of the Brearley School, and a vice president of the AIA New York Chapter. She is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (B.F.A. and B. Architecture) and The City University of New York (M. Urban Planning in Urban Design). In 2005, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design.
‘In her new book, architect Deborah Berke builds a case for giving old buildings new life.’ – Bloomberg CityLab
‘A new tome that outlines the New York studio's extensive experience and sustainable approach around adaptive reuse.’ – Wallpaper
‘A manifesto and survey of contemporary practice by one of the leading offices in this domain.’ – Aspire Design + Home
‘Beautifully presented and accompanied by abundant photographs and plan diagrams, the entry masterfully explores Berke’s modernist inclinations, her minimalist style, and her firm’s savvy handling of spaces and materials. Architectural students and practitioners will find much to appreciate.’ – Publishers Weekly