Adaptive Reuse of Buildings for Visual Arts Centres

Abstract
Visual arts centres have developed worldwide to bridge the gap between the exhibition functions of a museum or art gallery and the
research, education and collaboration that goes into the production of the various expressions of the visual arts. The visual arts scene
within Kenya has seen unprecedented growth over the last decade or so, with Nairobi being the nexus of various interactions and
exchanges in the art community. Unfortunately, most of the visual arts centres within the city are housed in spaces that weren’t initially
designed to host exhibition and exhibition-related programs.
This study set out to investigate these adaptive reuse visual arts centres in a bid to explore the viability of re-purposed spaces for
arts centre programs. The objectives were to establish what adaptive reuse is and to investigate the functions of visual arts centres;
to examine the interior design and building technological strategies that have been applied to adaptive reuse visual arts centres in
Kenya; and to suggest interventions that can be incorporated into local adaptive reuse visual arts centres to alleviate their current
states.
The review of relevant literature on the adaptive reuse of buildings for visual arts centres brought to light three main aspects: building
technology, interior design and various aspects on adaptive reuse. The parameters that were drawn from the summary of the
literature review outlined the spatial requirements as well as building technological and interior design strategies for adaptive reuse
visual arts centres.
During the field work of this study, primary data was collected from two renowned visual arts centres in Kenya: the GoDown Arts
Centre and Kuona Trust Centre. This data was then analysed against the building technology and interior design research variables
established in the literature review. And based on a comparative analysis of the selected case studies, this study concludes that a gap
exists between the established standards for adaptive reuse of buildings for visual arts centres and what these two cases presented.
To bridge this gap, building technology and interior design strategies that could alleviate the current state of adaptive reuse visual
arts centres were recommended.

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