Creative Reuse and Reusing Creatively - Webber + Studio

You may have noticed by now that we are attempting to spin a yarn by way of these newsletters. Our story began with our studio’s mission and vision. More recently we’ve focused on elements of our consistent process, like establishing a programhow we handle site constraints, and the anatomy of a site visit. We’ll continue to navigate this arc in coming newsletters, ultimately taking you on a journey through our firm’s design values, commitment to unique outcomes, and laser focus on the evolution of architecture and how our firm intends to respond to an increasingly impactful industry. We hope you enjoy this next chapter in our story.

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In a world preoccupied by the perceived superiority of all things new and improved, tearing down what’s old and replacing it with something shiny and new is tempting for a lot of reasons. There is an inherent ease in having a blank slate from which to design, especially if a property is problematic or perhaps aesthetically unbefitting a designer’s vision. Furthermore, and particularly in Austin, many a historic building has been razed in the name of progress. The problem with this approach is that what it offers in the way of ease and stylistic dominance, it lacks in vision. Gone is the opportunity for imaginative design and innovative solutions specifically tailored to adapt to what currently exists and how to thoughtfully marry the past with the future. Put simply, it is both a dereliction of our creative duty and, given the built environment’s impact on climate change, environmentally irresponsible to simply demolish an otherwise perfectly adaptable structure in the name of simplicity or, even worse, ego. In doing so, we are robbing ourselves of the chance to leverage the value of existing materials and spent time, to capitalize on our talents as designers to come up with inventive solutions, and to reconcile the inexorable economic and environmental implications of our work.

We’ve said before that we view problems as opportunities. It is empowering to be challenged to design efficiently and resourcefully, to work with, not simply in spite of, existing conditions, and to salvage and adapt rather than discard. This is a power which we do not wield lightly, for it feeds our studio’s vision to create architecture that is wholly unique, both at a glance and in its relationship to its history, its surroundings, and its inhabitants.