Reclaiming Lost Space
OUR NATION’S POPULATION IS AGING, and so are our
nation’s buildings. Recent studies by U.S. government agencies
have found that more than 40 percent of owner-occupied homes
were built before 1969, and half of all commercial buildings were
built prior to 1980. Products of the post-WWII boom, they were
designed for a younger country that was experiencing unprecedented economic expansion and transitioning from a rural to a
suburban lifestyle. These buildings—which are energy inefficient
and ill-suited for today’s smaller households and technology needs,
as well as fraught with accessibility and safety issues for the elderly
and persons with disabilities—are ripe for renovation and adaptive reuse, presenting a major opportunity for interior designers.
Much has changed since these older structures were built. We
have become more conscientious about our use of resources and how
that affects the natural environment. We now are aware of how the
physical environment impacts health and well-being and contributes
to the increasing incidence of mental and physical illness and disability.
We have undergone a technological revolution that has transformed
how we design, use, and interact with built space. Our building stock
needs to be brought up to date to keep pace with these changes.
Construction costs continue to increase, as available sites are
becoming scarcer. In some areas of the country, supply cannot
keep up with demand; in others, buildings stand vacant, deteriorating from neglect and disuse. The sensible, sustainable choice
is to upgrade and repurpose the buildings we have. In addition to
updating their appearance and functionality, we need to incorporate solutions that use what we now know about making interior
environments more sustainable, accessible, and healthy.
Interior designers are best qualified to undertake this work. You
have the skills and creativity to transform existing interior spaces,
adapting them to changing needs (see “What’s Old Is New Again,”
p. 26). You understand the connection between sustainability and
health and well-being, and have the knowledge to design solutions
and specify products and materials that will satisfy both requirements. You know how to integrate principles of universal design
and wellness to produce safe and welcoming environments for all.
This issue of ASID ICON is dedicated to examining these developments. We foresee increasing demand for interior design services
in the years ahead, as efforts grow to renew and repurpose existing
building stock. Our cover story looks at some recent adaptive reuse
projects. We weigh the pros and cons of specifying natural versus
chemically based products—finding the right product can be more
complex than you realize. Did you know that natural is not always
the green choice? We also take a look at textile certifications and
what each certification’s criteria are, so designers can better understand what information these evaluations provide.
Last, but certainly not least, the 2016 ASID National Award
winners and this year’s inductees into the College of Fellows are
featured in this issue.
And don’t miss our next issue. We will feature our new ASID
offices and show how we have incorporated the design principles
and best practices we have been talking about into our own work
In closing, I want to remind you that our request for proposals is
still open. We are seeking to identify new and unique presentations
for curricula at national programs and events. Presentations should
address research-driven topics that align with our strategic content
areas: leadership, impact of design, business of design, and practice
of design. The deadline to submit is July 1, 2016. Learn more and
submit your proposal today at http://presentationrfp.asid.org/.
Randy W. Fiser