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Live, work, play: Office building conversion practices for downtown revitalization

February 27, 2024

By Jesper Dalskov, Eduardo Garcia and Brian O'Donnell

Office to residential reuse to create affordable housing? In Work Design magazine, our experts share 8 considerations for reimagining these spaces.

Downtown business districts in North America no longer get the 9-to-5 traffic they once did. The emergence of hybrid and remote work, aging 20th century office building stock, and relocation of previously stalwart tenants to newer confines has resulted in an activity drain in central business districts. Many older office buildings are experiencing declining occupancy. This leaves building owners with the question of what to do with an excess of available space — and city planners and developers looking for solutions to invigorate these districts.

Meanwhile, housing affordability is a persistent issue, especially in urban cores. There is, however, a popular desire to experience authentic places with history and culture that these districts can tap into.

Can we repurpose these buildings to serve the city’s changing needs? Under the right conditions, yes. The answer lies in thoughtful and creative adaptive reuse.

Read the full article in Work Design magazine.

  • Jesper Dalskov

    As the residential market leader in our Chicago studio, Jesper has more than 15 years of residential, mixed-use, higher-education and hospitality design and architecture experience.

    Contact Jesper
  • Eduardo Garcia

    Eduardo integrates architecture with public art, urban design, and economic development. The Brackenridge High School renovation is one of his most rewarding projects as it exhibits his values of education, culture, and community.

    Contact Eduardo
  • Brian O'Donnell

    Brian is a senior architect who focuses on the commercial market sector. He helps clients realize their vision and goals by designing sustainable projects for permanency that enhance health and well-being of people in the community.

    Contact Brian
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