Cascade Alliance

Adaptive Reuse


This affordable housing project in Marquette Michigan – a century-old former orphanage saved and converted to 56 apartments for those who were homeless deserves a shout-out. At the Cascade Alliance we mostly focus on reuse at the level of individual items – whether it’s clothing or furniture or a salvaged mahogany fireplace. But we also excel at adaptive reuse, taking a building adapted for one purpose and giving it a new lease on life with a new purpose. Founding Cascade Alliance member St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County has been doing this for decades. We’ve even saved and moved buildings slated for demolition, preserving their embodied value while ensuring our community has an ongoing supply of housing for those with modest wages.

Our two most recent projects: We purchased a local church and converted it into a unique shelter for homeless teens, one that will provide up to two years of housing for youth who commit to remaining in high school. That project, thanks to generous community donations, will open later this month. The next church conversion will provide shelter for homeless families at night. The work on that project has only just begun.

Whether you are working on adaptive reuse at the building level or the “stuff” level, we salute you and we’d love to have you share your stories with us in our comments section so we can highlight great projects around the country.

Retaining the embodied energy of materials, whether clothing, furniture, vehicles or buildings, benefits everyone.