Repurposed with Purpose

By Charlene Pepiot

As time marches forward, some remnants of the past are bound to be left behind. Print newspapers become online exclusives, or telephone booths are ignored in favour of mobile phones. As industries adapt to the new social and technological landscape, many of the structures they once operated in are left behind. Rather than be abandoned or demolished though, people have stepped in to fill the void by repurposing structures in creative ways you may not think to do. Read more in Repurposed with Purpose to find out how!

Church to Skate Park

If you can’t run in church, why not skate? That’s what the so-called Church-Brigade thought about the abandoned church of Santa Barabra in Asturias, Spain. Originally designed by architect Manuel del Busto in 1912, the church lay abandoned and crumbling for years until a group of enterprising individuals, Red Bull, and online fundraising converted the building into a skate park. Dubbed the “Chaos Temple,” the walls and ceiling boast vibrant geometric rainbow art of people and plants commissioned from Okuda San Miguel. The entire building radiates creativity and energy from top to bottom. 

Skaters who frequent the church have said it rains a lot in town, so being able to skate indoors is quite literally a blessing.

Grocery store to library

Here is some food for thought; what happens when your library is being renovated and you need space to temporarily store your books and staff? The Carmel Clay Public Library in Indiana found its answer in the vacant Merchant’s Square supermarket. The supermarket was centrally located and had plenty of shelf space as well as public parking. Freezers and refrigerated walls were used to house books while their children’s collection rested where the wine section used to be. Not only did the public get a kick out of the setup, but it also enabled the library to operate with little disruption during renovations. 

London telephone boxes into…anything, really

Mobile phones have rendered the iconic red telephone boxes in the U.K largely irrelevant, but many have adapted to provide services for the modern-day. Multiple telephone boxes have been changed into potentially life-saving deliberators. The idea is credited to the Community HeartBeat Trust charity which partnered with BT to help communities transform the structures. Local libraries have also used the boxes for book exchanges while others have become coffee shops, cellphone repair sites, and even a single-person dance club complete with a disco ball! The only limit truly is your imagination.

Victorian Toilets to Coffee Shop.

A toilet may not seem like the most scenic place to drink your morning coffee, but The Attendant makes it work in west London. After 50 years of inactivity, the Victorian men’s public toilet was converted into a speciality coffee & brunch cafe. The original Doulton & Co porcelain urinals, Victorian floor tiles and cast iron exterior remain, though the place has been modernized (and sanitized) for its present clientele. If you’re in London, it’s a great place to…go. 

Tube Station to Bat Sanctuary 

Who says only humans can benefit from repurposing? The now disused Highgate tube station in London stemmed from a bold idea to better connect north London by train, but World War 2 forced funds to be spent elsewhere and the London Underground’s arrival in 1941 left this Highgate space disused. The tracks were lifted and the tunnels were mostly boarded up with bricks. Though the tube stop never serviced humans, today it is a protected bat habitat for species like the Daubenton, Natterer, brown long-eared and Pipistrelle. The station contains special ‘bat bricks’ for the animals to sleep and is cared for by Transport for London and the London Bat Group.

Though these structures were left empty and void of their purpose, some truly inventive minds have managed to keep them relevant and enjoyable for man and beast alike.

If you enjoyed reading Repurposed with Purpose, be sure to check out Silence isn’t “Silent” here.

.Cent magazine, London Be inspired;Get Involved