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The Place of the Industrial Past: The Adaptive Reuse of the Industrial Heritage in the Engenho Central de Piracicaba, Brazil

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Adaptive reuse has emerged as an important strategy in the conservation and preservation of post-industrial buildings and landscapes. The history of the Engenho Central de Piracicaba, a former sugar factory and refinery that operated from 1881 to 1974, provides an example of the complex issues involved in adaptive reuse. Since the 1980s the site and its fate have been the subject of political controversies and stewardship debates, resulting in several rehabilitation plans by renowned Brazilian architects. Among the most recent developments have been a theatre, which opened in 2012, and a Museum of Sugar, currently under construction. Through an examination of specific design approaches suggested for the rehabilitation of the Engenho Central, this paper addresses the consequences of the disappearance of industrial buildings in general and examines the role played by architects and planners in defining the contribution of industrial heritage to contemporary (and future) urban identity.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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