Out With The Old, In With The New: 40+ Stunning Building Transformations
A well-constructed building can stand the test of time. This is the reason why architects and engineers are so expensive. They make art that can tower over humanity thousands of years after its construction. However, nothing lasts forever — that also applies to the purpose of the buildings.
Unlike inanimate buildings and structures that cannot breathe or move, humanity is constantly changing. This is why we recycle things to avoid waste and give things a new purpose. The law of recycling does not only apply to small things like plastic bottles or old tires, however. It can also apply to large-scale objects like buildings. For this listicle, we have compiled 40 amazing recycled buildings that reveal how new life can be breathed into old things.
The Castle, The Prison, And The Hotel
If chameleons could turn into buildings, this building would probably be it. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” they say. This building adapted accordingly, despite being built in Oxford. The Malmaison Oxford has an interesting history of housing all sorts of people for the last three centuries.
It began as a majestic castle in 1701. However, Queen Victoria later ordered the castle to be transformed into a prison in 1888. After housing criminals for more than a century, it was bought by the Malmaison company in 1996. Not so fun fact: the crypt under the castle was once used as a morgue.
Brooklyn Paramount Theater
This is perhaps the most underrated place in New York. It’s almost as if this theater popped out of The Greatest Showman. We wouldn’t be too surprised if the song “Never Enough” started playing here without warning. The amount of musical history this stage has is incredible.
The theater is credited for practicing the earliest version of American Rock n Roll. The theater also started the Brooklyn Jazz. Sadly, they stopped performing in the 60s. Later it became a gym. Personally, it wouldn’t matter if someone put LeBron and Micheal Jordan on the same court. We’d just stare at the beautiful ceiling.
18th Century Converted Manor
Do not let this loaf of fluffy potato distract you from the majesty that is this 18th-century Manor. Just to give you a vague idea of how old this Manor is — it was constructed two centuries before the sinking of the Titanic.
Those Christmas lights truly make you wonder how many generations have celebrated the holidays in these halls. The rococo patterns on the doorframe were stamped down back when it was popular 300 years ago. We wouldn’t be too surprised if this cat spent all 9 of its lives in this Manor.
The Church Brewery
You don’t have to be a Christian to know the story of how Jesus turned water into wine. In case you haven’t heard the tale, the story goes like this: Young Jesus and his mom attended a wedding, and the wine ran out during the reception. Jesus then turned water into wine.
This brewery probably took inspiration from this story and started brewing alcoholic beverages in a Cathedral. The only difference is they make beer instead of wine. We are glad they did not change the former decor. We’d hate to see those gorgeous Corinthian columns go away.
When Boekhandel Dominicanen was made eight hundred years ago, the creators must have had us in mind. Otherwise, why do we find this place so visually perfect? This church/bookstore is where the history of divinity and education melts together in perfect harmony.
Some may consider this to be ironic, as the Catholic church has long been suspected of suppressing the spread of education and enlightenment. However, someone once said that knowledgeable men are the closest thing to God. Therefore, to us, this renovation makes perfect sense.
Pro tip: if you wish to see amazing historical renovations, please visit Europe. You will encounter a multitude of ancient locations that are causally mixed with modern elements. Look at this several hundred-year-old well that is nonchalantly sitting at a cafe.
It’s not surprising to see this well nearly unblemished since it was a secure hiding spot during the war. Can you imagine how many generations drank from this well? You can no longer drink from it, unfortunately. However, you have a can cappuccino while gazing at it.
Grand Avenue Mall
Have you ever walked through the mall and wondered what it would be like if you lived there? It is natural to think like that. Real estate is expensive these days. Any semblance of wide space sends us into a dreamy stupor.
Milwaukee made our dreams come true. The Avenue Mall was the go-to place for the locals for decades. Sadly, it shut down. However, they transformed the stores into individual apartments. Perhaps, this way, we can finally live our fantasy of living in a mall.
A bathhouse offers you a shower experience that your average bathroom cannot. A regular bathhouse usually has amenities such as saunas and thermal pools. They also have communal baths where you can soak in a pool with a bunch of strangers.
We do not know about you; however, for introverts such as ourselves, bathing with others is our biggest nightmare. This Chicago bathhouse offered a solution. Just buy it and enjoy it in solitude. You might never face water shortage if you make this place your home.
This one is not a happy renovation. It’s like someone took Starry Nights by Van Gogh and dipped it in swamp water. Detroit’s Michigan theater was home to thousands of performances since the Roaring 20s. It was even featured in an Eminem music video.
However, now it’s the oddest and saddest parking lot in the world. The ornate roof hovering over the parking space feels more like death and less like art. The stage that displayed generations of art now only offers safety from carjackers.
Phone Booth/ Fish Tank
You do not realize what you have until it’s taken away from you. That is how we feel about phone booths. They were a menace back in the day. You had to constantly push more coins in to talk a minute more.
They were also dirty enough to give you a skin disease. Due to mobile phone availability, phone booths are no longer used. Yet there was a beauty about them that we miss. Perhaps it’s nostalgia (or Stockholm syndrome). We’re glad to see an aquarium version of our old friend.
Fish Tank 2.0
There is something wonderful about giving something past its expiry a new purpose (this does not apply to food). This old well finally dried up after quenching thirst for decades. Since it cannot provide water anymore, it must have felt like a fish out of water.
This pub solved this issue by pouring fish and water into the old well. Since it cannot serve humanity, it could be a home for fishies. However, we are cracking up as we imagine a drunk visitor of the pub being confused as to why fish are swimming under their feet.
Bank of Pinball
This generation of kids who play Fortnite, Among Us, and League of Legends will never understand the joy of playing pinball in an old-school arcade. It’s an experience that a phone or a computer cannot offer. The adrenaline somehow feels different.
Sadly, they are outdated – just like this former bank. Therefore, these two old souls combined and created something even more beautiful. There is something very poetic about it. We recommend you drop the console for a moment and visit an old-school arcade.
La Piscine Museum
The French literally built a museum on top of an old swimming pool, and they did nothing to hide it. After all, “La Piscine” (the museum’s name) literally translates to “swimming pool.” Before, you could go there and swim in chlorine-infested water.
However, now you can go there and drown in the beauty of art. Perhaps, the marble statues of the Greek gods are a homage to the chiseled athletes who swam in these waters. Speaking of water, how are they preventing mold even though the old pool is flowing under the wooden floor?
Whoever came up with the idea should be awarded. They should also join the Riverdale writing crew because they desperately need a sense of humor without being cringy. This person unabashedly dropped the biggest marketing strategy of the century. They didn’t even need to advertise anything with this.
This location was once the entrance to the NYC subway. They can no longer help you travel miles but can offer you a foot-long sandwich. However, we’re not too thrilled about eating here since NYC subways are notorious for their giant rats.
Phone Booth Flower
We have already talked about the nostalgia (or PTSD) of the old-school phone booths. They were just like your best friends — it’s a bit nasty; however, they’ll stay by your side when you need them the most (in exchange for money).
However, there is nothing nasty about this phone booth. This red beauty from Baths of England used to be used to give calls to loved ones when people were on the go. Now it’s littered with gorgeous clusters of petunia and mesmerizing those who visit.
Warning: you might want to look away if you have Trypophobia. This looks like the inside of a computer when you first look at it. However, chances are that you will zoom in to investigate the door in detail only to encounter numerous holes that’ll send an unpleasant tingle down your spine.
This was originally the entrance to a laboratory. For some unknown reason, the lab was later shut down (we cannot confirm or deny whether this was a meth lab or not). Therefore, the entrance was jammed with hollow branches and wood to accommodate native insects.
Vermont Converted Barn
As adults, we have all considered leaving the cities and moving to a barn in the countryside. However, living in a barn does not necessarily mean sleeping on top of dry hay. You could also make it aesthetically pleasing like this.
This home looks less like a barn and more like something that came out of Pinterest. Although due to the cracks in the wood walls, we’re concerned about how they will heat this place in the winter. It should be noted that Vermont, where this is located, is the seventh coldest state in the US.
We have stated this before: go tour Europe if you want to see some cool historic buildings. However, this feels sacrilegious. This obscene mixture of Renaissance theater and Walmart probably angered some Gods. It’s like putting Adele and Lil Pump on the same stage.
While we’re thankful the supermarket owner preserved the antique heritage of the old theater, we wish they had opted for some other business in this location. A bookstore or a music store would have been nice. We never knew the combination of Italian fresco and root beer created such a devastating combination.
Phone Booth Cafe
As we said before, the days of phone booths are long gone. Due to the spread of affordable smartphones, even those of us with limited budgets can buy some sort of mobile device. Therefore, phone booths are things of the past.
Humanity may no longer require phone booths. However, they will probably never run out of their need for caffeine. The coffee industry has no sign of collapsing, as the demands are high as ever. Therefore, this old booth was converted into a mini cafe.
Silos are a must-have when it comes to large-scale manufacturing. They are safe storage for essential materials. The average silo can store up to 100 tons of product and can be as tall as 10 to 90 meters tall. So, very very tall.
Therefore, yes, there is a lot of space in it. So much so that several families can fit in one silo and live comfortably. We bet the sound of rain in these silos is intense and soothing. The only downside is that there is no corner for you to cry in.
Church Of Sushi
In many cultures, religion does not carry the significance it used to. Perhaps it is due to modern living or to younger generations being concerned with pressing issues like world hunger. Either way, this present generation does not seem to be as connected to the divine as the generation before them.
This is why more and more religious institutions are closing down. Thankfully, large spaces like these are being utilized. For example, this former church is now a sushi spot. After eating one of their Maki, you can exclaim, “Oh cod” instead of “Oh God.”
Are we even surprised at this point? This world is infested with McDonald’s restaurants. You cannot walk a few blocks without encountering Ronald Mcdonald and his creepy smile. No wonder they are the largest fast-food franchise in the entire world.
They even have locations in spaceships. What makes you think wooden barns will be safe? Well, Mcdonald’s did promise to serve their customers the freshest beef patties. Maybe that is why they moved their restaurant to where cows are raised.
We are so glad to be born in a time when vehicles exist. Firstly, cars are amazing because they take us from one place to another. However, they’re more beneficial for our kids because they won’t have to listen to long-winded stories about how we got to school. Unlike our grandparents, we didn’t cross mountains (barefoot) to attend algebra class.
This bus had a long run, both literally and figuratively. Logically, she should have ended up in a junkyard — waiting to be looted for parts by scavengers. However, someone made an outdoor restaurant using the discarded chassis of the bus.
Orchestra from a Gas Holder
In this listicle, we have seen several majestic theaters and halls being converted into mundane things like supermarkets or parking spaces. It broke our hearts and scarred our souls because seeing the death of art and life is always tragic.
However, we are happy to report that this time, the opposite happened. This giant gas holder was converted into an opera hall. It always feels good to see art being born from lifeless materials. We bet the echo inside the opera hall will be perfect for the audience.
DC History Center
It seems we spoke too soon. For every time an artistic, historical building is given its rightful honor, ten more seem to die, and it is absolutely heartbreaking. We are romantic at heart. It hurts us to see technology take over the art.
The ground floor of the DC History Center used to be a Carnegie Library. Now it’s an Apple store. Worst of all, these apples aren’t edible. Sure, you read books from your iPad. However, nothing will ever replace the coarse feeling of paper between your fingers.
We have many questions regarding this, and we demand answers. How is this even an Airbnb? This is a mansion! If this is just the gym, we wonder what the rest of the Airbnb looks like. They probably serve caviar and champagne for dinner.
Do you know how it is considered sacrilege not to play music while you are working out? We’re not kidding. You can check the gym bible. While you are exercising in this gym, you are probably legally obligated to play opera music.
You don’t have to be religious to be concerned with how many churches are dropping like flies. There is just so much charm to behold in a religious building. Ironically, most of the former churches are renovated into complete contrasts of their spiritual and holy nature.
The Wetherspoons company is a chain of pubs that like taking over old buildings to create recreational spots. This particular church location has an underground crypt. The Wetherspoons had the bright idea to place the bathrooms in there so that drunk customers could meet ghosts.
Church Lecture Hall
You know what? We are not mad at this. This makes a lot of sense. Churches are large enough to fit a lot of students. If our college had rooms this big, we might have gotten a seat in our favorite teacher’s class.
It’s just changing from one preacher to another. Priests preach about God; your teacher preached about chemistry. You call the priest’ father’; however, teachers call your father when you fail a test. The only difference is that church does not give you homework; your school does.
There are undeniably many traumas involved with the flak towers from WWII. However, there is no doubt that they are also one of the biggest architectural marvels. Just so you know, these towers were specially designed to resist air raids.
The Nazis used solid steel and concrete to build these towers. Therefore, they are nearly impossible to demolish without leveling the surrounding area. If life gives you a lemon, you make lemonade with it. Vienna, therefore, covered the stigma of these durable buildings by making aquatic parks in them.
Speaking of indestructible materials, it would be a shame if we did not talk about bank vaults. The makers of these vaults are not Nazis (or maybe they are. We can neither deny nor confirm this), but they know how to make durable constructions.
So durable that it could not be taken apart when the bank was demolished. When Dunkin’ Donuts moved in, they had to improvise. The mighty vault became a bathroom for patrons whose tummies do not agree with all that coffee.
The hotel industry will never fail to amuse us. They could paint a chunk of dry wood gold and still know how to sell it at a high price. No wonder this sector of business studies is an individual major of its own.
For example, this used to be a prison. It housed high-ranking inmates until 2007. Now it’s housing the rich who want to experience something different. Personally, you could not pay us to live in this place for one measly night. Who knows what kind of criminal lived in our room?
Mary Magdalene Church
Well, well, well. Would you look at that? It seems yet another church has fallen victim to the increasing atheism and agnosticism in the world. Even this 150-year-old could not win the race of time. Now it’s a rope course.
To be specific, this is a dragon-themed rope course. So, the company just swapped the divine for the supernatural. Well, dragons aren’t the worst thing to believe in. They are massive and can breathe fire; what more can you ask for?
Christians are not the only ones suffering, it seems. Even those of the Jewish faith are losing their territory as days pass. It is kind of tragic how, once upon a time, religions were warring against each other, but now all of them are losing the race to modern renovations.
This synagogue from Trnava, Slovakia, has been transformed into a chic cafe. Formerly, it used to be a place where Judaism was preached. Now you can walk in there with your MacBook and work on startup while eating some croissants.
Religion says we should be good humans and strive to reach the heavens in the afterlife. This church got a little too impatient and found its way to reach the heavens while still on Earth. We wonder if the old priest is the climbing instructor.
The congregation had to find a way to meet their maker. Therefore, this climbing facility was created. Look, they’ll have to climb a long, long time to reach the heavens. Or, they could just fall when they reach the top of the climbing wall.
Water may be life; however, education provides meaning to life. Therefore, the Spanish combined the two elements together and created one of the most beautiful libraries at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. Had we not been so broke, we would have flown to Barcelona immediately.
The location of this library is an old water reserve. It was commissioned by Master Josep Fontser è in 1874. Just a few decades ago, everything in this library was underwater. After it dried up, it was converted into a library for college students.
Waterstones Book Shop
There is something ominous about seeing a religious institution die out. You keep wondering if its destruction angered any higher power. Perhaps the most sacrilegious thing about this is when the artistic value of a church or a synagogue is diminished along with the arrival of new things.
However, we are happy to report that this synagogue from Bradford, West Yorkshire retained its original beauty while welcoming new guests. It became a beautiful bookshop and a cafe. We have a feeling Netflix will shoot the next season of Wednesday here.
As certified exhausted adults, we plan on one day slapping our resignation letter in our boss’ face and moving to a barn in the countryside. It should also be noted that we are huge fans of Gothic art and architecture.
Therefore, you can imagine how pleased we are to know that a barn with a Gothic arch exists. We would have moved there immediately had it not been for these pesky pub owners. We cannot even go there to visit since it’s teeming with patrons and we don’t like people.
This is perhaps the perfect home for Gordon Ramsey. Nobody in the culinary industry loves olive oil as much as this man does. When he says “a drop of olive oil,” he means a gallon of olive oil. He’d be pleased to know he could actually live in old olive oil mills.
As much as we love old factories becoming domestic places, this interior is not it. It’s just too white and plain. The homeowner probably wears sunglasses indoors due to so much brightness. Imagine dropping a glass of red wine in here. We’d be walking on eggshells if we lived there.
Silo Home 2.0
It seems turning silos into livable homes is the new trend in the architectural world, and we are here for it! It is a very cool way to utilize abandoned items and reduce waste. In this day in age of sustainability, it is very important to do that.
However, this old grain silo is giving us the jitters. It reminds us of the tin foil we wrapped our turkey in last Thanksgiving. If we lived in this silo home, we suspect we would probably end up overcooked like our Thanksgiving turkey.
Recreational vehicles are perfect for you if you are tired of your boring life. You can still feel the comfort of your home while traveling wherever you want (according to Breaking Bad, it could also be a portable meth lab).
This RV owner is living their life to the fullest, and we are unabashedly jealous of them. They travel full-time while working remotely. It’s amazing how organized their home is while still being on the road. Meanwhile, we haven’t moped our floor in a week.
Something bizarre is going on in the hotel industry, and we would love to know what that is. As much as we are happy to see that crime rates are dropping and prisons are no longer required, we just want to know why these are being turned into hotels.
This is the third prison hotel in this listicle. The good thing about this is that even the most innocent fellow, whose biggest crime was double-dipping their fries, could stay here for one night and brag to their friends about living in prison.