Re-Source Architectural Experiments in Radical Re-Use and Regenerative Buildings


Portman Visiting Critic: Alan Organschi

Instructors: Jude LeBlanc; Heather Ligler; Charles Rudolph; David Yocum (Coordinator)

The 2020 Portman Prize Studio explores regenerative building, an approach to the conception, design development, and technical specification of architecture that seeks to radically reduce its consumption of raw material and non-renewable energy resources throughout the building lifecycle and reshape design practice to ameliorate the current degradation of global environmental health.

Drawing on theories and systems of circular economic material and energy flow as well as their own process of research, analysis, and visualization, students will explore the architectural ramifications of tapping unconventional material flows, drawing on post-consumer and industrial waste streams and on biologically renewable material supply chains as a means to reconstitute the building lifecycle.

Through the initial analysis and subsequent reconfiguration of an existing urban building, students will experiment with the properties and capacities of both renewable and reused material and their application to new hybridized forms of building assembly and urban social space.

Communia Library

Paola L. Santiago

Instructor: Jude LeBlanc

The proposal serves as an exploration of the H.L. Green building’s existing form and material composition, circulation in the intersection, and promotion of a micro lung area on-site to revitalize the sense of community in the block.

The new form consists of removing 50% of the existing building looking towards MLK Drive to promote greener areas and new communal opportunities, except for two new volumes that will be composed of existing elements on-site.

Volumetric Composition

The design devices an accessible space that allows 24/7 circulation. Two public floor levels connect Peachtree Street to Broad Street with a series of ramps, stairs, and public amphitheater, all created with existing materials from the HL. Green Building. Both circulation experiences are open and lead towards a small plaza with programmatic elements on the lower floor.

Circulation System

Furthermore, the project serves as a small lung area in the congested urban composition of Downtown Atlanta. Four distinct gardens are distributed throughout the building, one being the sunken garden at the children’s library, the main garden space with the largest trees on-site, balcony garden, and a living/edible library garden on the upper the floor.

Garden Distribution

Recycled Modulation - Ci-Devant H.L. Green

Ashley Baldwin

Instructor: Heather Ligler

This proposal involves an investigation of materiality, usage, space, community, construction process and impact on carbon. This building speculates on how an unconventional, multi-generational neighborhood can be activated in the current decomposition and recomposition of the site. The positive impacts of this recomposition should inspire future cycles of redevelopment.

Recycled Modulation - Ci-Devant H.L. Green concept involves taking the old building materials and recycling them into modular components which makes up the façade. Now, the new building is an exposition of what stood before. This exposition of the old H.L. Green works wonderfully with the art gallery, as the art gallery showcases H.L. Green as well as other art pieces and installations.

This proposal also involves a big urban move. A Large mass is taken away from the Broad street side. In its place, a large community plaza is implemented to draw a crowd from the artsy Broad Street.

Light as an Organiser

Aishwarya Somasundaram

Instructor : David Yocum

This project is about the use of light as an organising element to plan the community spaces around it and help in the adaptive reuse of the HL green building. With the help of the floating heavy timber light-wells, attached to the floor plates, light travels from the outside to the basement providing abundance of natural daylight. This has a surreal effect that perpetually changes material into immaterial, dark into light, light into space with the movement of the sun. These light wells also consist of stairs winding through them and act as major circulation through the building. The third floor consists of hostel rooms with individual garden spaces. This project is about sensing of spaces with respect to light while keeping in mind the carbon footprint.


Sofia Stafford

Instructor: Heather Ligler

This partial demolition in the center of Atlanta of exposes the bones of the old H.L. Green building by punching a hole through its height and slicing a wall down its length. In shedding away a core, some diaphragm, , walls, and framing, the building is able to proudly accomodate a new function.


Savanna Jones

Instructor: Jude LeBlanc

Crossway is a mixed use building consisting of a library, auditorium, gallery, and a garden. The goal of this project is to bring people into the site and expose them to the varying programs through visual and physical connections.

ALTernative ATLanta

Tiffany Bouquet

Instructor: Heather Ligler


Prerana Kamat

Instructor: Jude LeBlanc

The main objective of the project is to reuse and refurbish the H.L.Green Building into a new Public library by retaining the existing brick clad shell and by adding new CLT structure on top. The project aims to establish an architectural dialogue between the old parts and the new elements, while also solving the problems of daylighting and transparency of the existing structure.

Taylor Marshall

Instructor: Jude LeBlanc


Caroline Kasmiskie

Instructor: Charles Rudolph

Through the renovation of the H.L. Green building into a Library, the main library area is in this "Tree House" like volume inserted into the existing building. The pairing of existing and new structure was a focus of the design. Through the process, materials were reused to create a positive overall environmental impact.

The 45

Emma Ressler

Instructor: Jude LeBlanc

The dynamic relationship between virtual and actual can be seen in libraries due in their varied program accommodations- from the diversity of printed material themselves (novels, nonfiction, newspapers, etc.) to the additional library components such as lecture halls, gardens, media rooms, and galleries. This project was formed around studying the blurred relationship between the virtual and the actual as seen in the past with visual illusion and in the present with the rising influence of media.

This project includes a main reading room, a children’s library, an art gallery, a level allotted to book stacks, offices, a lecture hall, a rooftop garden and event space, and an exterior court on Peachtree Street. Two 45 degree angled smart mirrors backed with screens are inserted into the building creating a periscope affect- visually connecting the urban street to the roof garden and vice versa, while also physically shaping the project. Screens are added to the backs of the mirrors to be able to switch from the mirror affect and project any image or video instead. Additional screens are placed in key programmatic spaces, including the entire ceiling of the lecture hall- providing an additional visual tool for whatever material is being presented, and in the main reading room on the back of one of the large mirrors.


Robb Conklin

Instructor: Charles Rudolph

Sudege, translated as burnt in Lithuanian, looks to Atlanta’s past in order to help guide its future. Starting with the bones of the former HL Green building that stood on the site since the 1950s, the reuse of the masonry façade acts as a plinth for the new CLT structure to emerge. The CLT towers cladded in reclaimed wood with a shou sugi ban finish, is meant to recall the burning of Atlanta under General Sherman with the towers rising from its ashes.


Kiran Balakrishna

Instructor: David Yocum

The project deals with the revitalization of the existing building with a new fabric of urban program creating a sense of community but keeping in check it's carbon emission in the process. The main concept of this design is to create an open and free-flowing circulation inside it's rigid existing facade by introducing an open courtyard. In addition to forming a space for social interaction, the open courtyard space thus formed intertwines various programs creating a seamless visual and physical connections between the exterior and interior spaces.

Artistic Growth

Alexandra Watson

Instructor: Heather Ligler

Artistic Growth is a mixed use building containing a public gallery, restaurant, artist studio and artist residence. The buildings objective is to maintain and reuse existing material on site all while uplifting the building into the 21st century. With a grounded, existing brick base the building grows up out of its current life into a new one with exterior mural walls and newly introduced modular living units punching through the art work.

Tower of Reuse

Violet Bernard

Instructor: David Yocum

The “Tower of Reuse” focuses on three ideas: community engagement, material reuse, and forward thinking. The tower form originated from the need to open the site up more. This action provides the community with a space to eat, relax, and converse in the day and with a concert venue at night. Raising the tower opens up the site even more. The space it creates performs as both an entry portal and as a market area that would supply nourishments for not only the programs on the site but also the community. The tower is made from the deconstructed and reassembled materials of the existing building. It utilizes the existing steel and rearranges it into a frame system that allows for 10’x10’ wall and floor panels constructed from existing materials. Using a panelized system allows for wall panels and floor panels to change configurations and adapt to whatever future use the community needs.

Material Building (verb); a case study on perpetual material re-creation

Bryce Truitt

Instructor: David Yocum

Building artifacts, at a range of scales, are merely momentary bodily-projected assemblies in a greater flow of materials and ideas. Natural processes of articulation, not unlike natural sedimentation and cementation along a river bed, provide trans-formative affordances upon which cultural agency extracts and composes the built environment (i.e. sand, shale, iron, etc.). In the reconstitution of the H.L. Green building, demolition is acknowledged as a cultural extension of natural material genesis. Debris is perpetually re-evaluated for new affordances as building materials and tools throughout various scales and ultimately ‘states’ of transformation. Building demolition, when observed as an extension of natural processes, becomes merely another stage of perpetual reconstruction.

Debris Operation Sequence
Study Model

A modulated debris pile-cast slab (endogenously composed of recycled aggregate itself) and the respective debris removal, provide an appropriable place of public performance. Cut and fill of the existing ground plane creates an ongoing material transformation in the place of performance filled with small recycled aggregate and residually provides an endogenously leveling earthen floor material for an interior food market. Previously used mass timber form-work becomes structural partitions in small spaces of transient domesticity. Remaining rubbled debris takes on a ‘final’ act of displacement to compose a rooftop space of contemplation, of forthcoming material states reminiscent of aggregate production facility bays.

Space of Public & Material Performance
Spaces of Rest


Manushi Sheth

Instructor: Charles Rudolph

A surgical incision into the existing building, this project aims to maximise the materiality of the building by retaining the framework and facade of the building while carving out parts of the floor and facade to introduce courtyards and openings respectively. Thus, activating the building from the inside whilst adding light to the newly activated spaces. Introduction of a new material, timber, threads the program together by tying the seams between the old and the new. Hence, terminating the journey into a monumental reading hall, the alien insertion onto the historically stripped departmental store turned library and art house.

Rooftop Garden

Rachael Carstens

Instructor: Jude LeBlanc

Rooftop Garden is a project which addresses carbon, program, and energy concerns. This design takes nearly full use of the existing building to allow for minimum carbon waste while also addressing curb appeal. The main operation performed on this building is to remove the roof and drop in a new glass and roof structure, in response establishing three distinct landscapes and allowing ideal amounts of light to penetrate the building. The goal of this project is to maximize the visual output while maintaining minimum energy usage and waste, all while establishing an inviting and inspirational community space.

Transversing Planes and Culture

Samantha Phelan

Instructor: Heather Ligler

This building is a combination of adaptive re-use and new sustainable building. The bottom is used as a gallery space, where as the tower is home to a new community. This tower is a co-living and co-working space using CLT and timber construction. This project intends to help revive and add density to the downtown neighborhood.


Carly Langsdorf

Instructor: Heather Ligler

The overall aim of the design is to revitalize the existing site conditions, which are very static and dark, by introducing dynamic movement of both people and light. This is accomplished through overlapping gallery walkways which were cut out of the existing floor plates and the introduction of skylights at the existing roof level. The coworking floor serves as a transparent gap in the design, marking the transition from old to new, achieving the effect of the new timber construction floating lightly above the existing structure.

Light Box

Sharod Bryant

Instructor: Charles Rudolph

This project introduces a library into the existing building that adds a reading room that floats above. The existing building is carved out to introduce more light into the interior spaces while visually connecting the floors together. The reading room elevates the reader, giving warm light and views out to the city all around. This box above is carried by a timber structure that runs down and integrates with the existing steel structure.


Christopher Tromp

Instructor: David Yocum

This project focuses on a strict reuse strategy of the material contained within the existing H.L. Green building. Through two main moves: one that carves significant voids into the original massing, the second which elevates the roof, the building revitalizes this historic building and embraces the phenomenological properties of reclaimed material. Through the creation of rubblized brick, concrete, and cmu vaults to cover the rooftop performance space and a new façade system that consists of concrete floor slabs and the vault formwork, novel spaces for community re-creation and engagement are reintroduced to the site.


Michael Matty

Instructor: David Yocum

Brownstone is an adaptive re-use of the HL Green Building by elegantly opening up the facade and introducing the "suspension" of time and space. The form is both suspended from the ground plane on broad street and partition wall. The program of the building introduce spaces to recreate in the form of a dance club, micro-hotel and a bizarre marketplace which all serve as places for the "suspension of time."


Jacqueline Restrepo

Instructor: Jude LeBlanc

This project focuses on providing natural light into the building through a processional garden. The Ascending Greenhouse cuts into the existing structure to create a stand alone building within the density of Atlanta. The greenhouse provides a dramatic connection with nature and the community by creating the main library programming throughout each floor.


Jiahao Lyu

Instructor: David Yocum

This proposal offers a new adaptive re-use strategy of existing HL greens building. Renovation programs includes a dancing club on the basement, a courtyard with vegetation surrounded by a coffee shop and a convenience store on the ground floor, a reading room on the second floor, a daycare center on the third floor, and 13 housing units are located on the third and fourth floor. These programs are designed and arranged in order to asset the neighborhood better. By creating a large number of opening on the existing wall, helps the natural light shine into the room. At the same time, it builds the bridge between internal and external, which revitalizes the community while preserving the historical story of the building. The new wall with gravel bricks stacked into the courtyard, its mixed facade tells its own story of changes.


Jane Rodrigues

Instructor : Charles Rudolph

The design of this public library, evolves from the initial concept of reviving the existing site by activating the MLK drive through the introduction of a contrived entrance. In stark contrast to the existing architecture, the overall program stimulates a social atmosphere and a sense of openness through visual connectivity and the provision of abundant daylight within the building. This is enabled by big formal moves of creating a central void and introducing a design element - A BOOKCASE - that becomes the spine of circulation, connectivity and activity in this void and for this project. It also symbolises the rise of something new from the old and showcases the old (books and bricks) in all its glory.

The building is zoned vertically in terms of its primary activities, with community spaces in the basement. The central skylight provides favoured diffused light and illuminates the art gallery in the basement. The facade of the existing building is retained as much as possible with the new alien object emerging from the rustic bricks like a halo of wisdom. The proposed library would therefore be identified with this new “glow”, make a statement to the neighborhood and be something the community as a whole associates with.


Yuanwei Guo

Instructor: Heather Ligler

The project is a compound functional building, consisting of commercial spaces, micro-shared living units and galleries. My idea is to provide outdoor galleries for residents living in micro-units, make my gallery more open, and finally activate the community. Therefore, there is a large CLT structure slope in the upper space of the gallery, and some small platforms are placed on this slope for outdoor exhibitions, which connects the gallery and the living unit well. Moreover, in the context of the community, it provides residents with an outdoor activity space.


Ameya Yawalkar

Instructor: David Yocum

Reuse of materials for the existing building is a major step for sustainable resilience of any adaptive reuse project. However, a very crucial aspect which is often neglected and is need of an hour is adaptivity in program. Are there ways in which a building can sustain longer by accommodating the constantly changing needs of the urban flux?. This project proposal investigates this question, where the architectural configuration of the proposed building accommodates the programmatic spaces which are beyond speculation and generate avenues for “community recreation”.

Union + Metamorphosis

Mori Haynes

Instructor: Heather Ligler

Union + Metamorphosis is an alternative, multi-generational neighborhood. This project aims to inspire future cycles of re-development, through an adaptive reuse process, while providing a co-housing and co-working environment that can connect to its broader community through providing an inviting set of multi-use spaces that stimulate the surrounding area, through it’s visible gallery spaces, 24-hour eatery, and connection from MLK and Peachtree to Broad. The original lunch counter in the old HL Green building, historically a space of separation, due to segregation before the civil rights moment, can now be a place of connection through locally grown food, an approachable eatery, and a place of creative expression, habitation and community growth.

The winged glulam roof extends down to provide shading to the glass façade and touches the ground at the street level allowing for a covered pedestrian walkway. The primary deconstruction of this project is of the old brick façade that has been cut away and reused as interior partition walls. Below ground features two large collaborative workshop spaces for resident working artists and a central courtyard that receives natural light from a continuous light core that carries up through the building to the rooftop gardens. At the second level artists’ housing lines the façade of the building and at the rooftop separate community green spaces and farm to table gardens serve both the tenants and the diner chefs.


Vinita Kuhikar

Instructor: Charles Rudolph

Inspired by the bridges connecting buildings constructed in 1950's in downtown Atlanta, to avoid pedestrian traffic on the road. These tube like bridges became the relief and transition spaces for people to gather and formed a connection with the outside world. The project introduce tubes which act as light and space activators that are piercing through the existing building, which apart from bringing in light within the space also hold the main functions of the library and the rest of the existing structure is catering to these functions .

Broad Street

The Urban Room

Niket Joshi

Instructor: David Yocum

After a built structure become disused and abandoned, the building usually undergoes demolition and a new built form comes into life. This project, however, investigates a rather new practice in architecture called adaptive reuse.

Although used as an office and a retail space for several years, the ground datum of the former H.L. Green building is transformed into a rich multi-functional urban environment composed of large performing space, an open flea market, an event space along with contemplation and housing on subsequent floors. The project attempts to create a tension between old vs new. Materials with minimum carbon impact are utilized along with salvaged materials from the site itself. The central space thereby created in a space comprised of all elements present in an urban setting and thereby the project is appropriately termed as "Urban Room".

Polarity || Varun Sethi || Instructor: Charles Rudolph || The project introduces geometries that misalign and align with several grids, from structural to the urban, to create contradiction and resolution across scales.


Kunal Chhatlani

Instructor: Charles Rudolph

The project transforms the existing building into a library for the community by inserting a wooden box which houses the circulation, book-stacks and Garden. Maintaining the existing structural system the new insertion brings in light and acts as a transition between the formal and informal zones in the building. The formal side of the building keeps the entire building facade intact serving as a memory of the old whereas the informal side of the building resembles the ruin that remains by performing stereotomic traits on the brick facade.


Simran Bajaj

Instructor: W. Jude LeBlanc

The design proposal offers a solution to the existing concerns of natural lighting and transforms the introverted nature of the building. It portrays a transition from old to new, keeping in mind the material accountability and energy consumed. The project is zoned such that the quieter reading spaces are on the upper levels while the collaborative spaces such as the gallery and auditorium are on the lower levels, thus weaving them into the urban fabric. The big idea was to create an urban green zone in the densely populated site of Downtown Atlanta that interacts with the users in the library and the pedestrians traversing about the city. Each floor extends out into an “urban connector” that creates opportunities of interaction and is visually and spatially connected to the different levels. The urban stair, which is a part of the library in the upper levels, drops into the garden to further emphasize the flow of spaces and porosity of the design.

ATL-SG Atlanta Tower Labyrinth and Secret Gardens

Ishwar D. Ramnarine

Instructor: Charles Rudolph

The project presents itself as a contextual intervention addressing the physical and metaphysical aspects of a phenomenological spatial experience through the initiation of a dialogue between the Earth Realm and the Divine. This is embodied in the extremities of the library, engaging both the underground and the sky, yet consisting of whimsical and poetic moments to address the artist and youth embodied within everyone. From the ruinous labyrinth and secret gardens to the maze-like interior organization, observation and reading pods, and its underground relationship to the metro system, ATL-SG is a place for everyone to experience the adventure of a book both textually and contextually.

MLK Jr. street

Akhilesh Dhurkunde

Instructor: Charles Rudolph

The project deals with the architectonic idea of space and light within the vertically stacked mass of the material. The spherical lenses intersect as well as cut the vertical surface of the structure to create sense-making spaces. The lenses bring the dramatic light into the structure at a certain period. Programatically, the ground level act as an intersection space to let people celebrate the architecture of the building. The material proposed for the structure helps in defining the form while maintaining the overall sustainability aspect. Reusing or inserting the material but keeping embodied carbon as the key aspect behind the project.

Adaptive Reuse: A Branch Library for Atlanta

Hafsa Siap

Instructor: W. Jude LeBlanc

The aim is to keep the structure of the H.L. Green Building mostly intact and transform it into a new library space by creating a light box. The project consists of four major elements: a stand-alone reading room, an art gallery related to the street, a lecture hall, and an internal street serving as a connection hub for each space.


Quynh Pham

Instructor: Heather Ligler

The proposed design aims to reengage the H.L. Green Building with the surrounding context in hopes of catalyzing greater activity along the streets. The design intends to literally and figuratively invert the existing building by bringing exterior materials indoor and replacing opaque walls with translucent ones to allow activity to be oriented both inwards and outwards. The design also blurs the lines between indoors and outdoors and public and private, so that instead of existing in isolation, they can instead embrace one another in a harmonious coexistence. The overall objective is that through the physical architectural moves, the design will achieve sustainability that is both environmental and social.


Kristy Cho

Instructor: Heather Ligler

The existing materiality and structure are reassembled using the earliest available incarnation of the site, the Sanborn Map from 1886, to organize the new grid. The order of operations includes disassembling the components strategically, slicing slabs into panels for reuse, shopping from remaining structural elements to assemble simple frame, and promote easy disassembly for future use. The revised parti also increases connections with the street by creating enticing entrances on each façade.

New Memory

Elliot Park

Instructor: Heather Ligler

The project suggests a new possibility of adaptive re-usage of H.L. Green Building, with programs of multi-gallery and micro-housing units. The building remains the exterior wall of the existing building to keep the communities' memory; however, it also provides a new spatial experience by a layer of the exterior, semi-exterior, and interior spaces. Further, the re-usage of existing material, such as bricks, concrete, and structures, and employment of CLT will significantly lower the impact of carbon emissions in the process of construction.

Breaking The Block

Dylan Bonsignore

Instructor: Jude LeBlanc

The existing H. L. Green building is essentially a brick block, with little natural light in its interior and disconnection from its surrounding context. The studio’s objective was to design an adaptive re-use library, maintaining existing materials, and introducing new sustainable strategies. The project focuses on Breaking the Block, to allow sufficient light in as well as to promote social relationships between floor levels and to its surrounding site context. The design maintains most of the existing structure and provides the library programs’ visual connections amongst each of the levels. By removing a portion of the roof and introducing a CLT skylight/roof auditorium seating, the light quality is enhanced and a function of the roof is generated. By removing the lower half of the existing brick wall, along MLK St., and introducing glazing also allows another indirect light source as well as expresses an extension of the sidewalk into the library’s design.

The Developer

RayVonn Whitehead

Instructor: Heather Ligler

The scheme seeks to utilize the existing H.L. Green building footprint to incorporate a new program. This goal is achieved by removing portions of the structure to introduce light and green elements. These areas highlighted on the 2D floor plans are strategically placed throughout the structure to maximize the sustainable approach to the project.

Inhabiting Debris

Katie Massa

Instructor: David Yocum

Inhabiting Debris, is an adaptive reuse project that becomes a receptacle for material when the pre-existing HL Green building is demolished. The demolished bricks become four portals that intersect each face of the building. These portals act sequencially and guide users on a journey through the building from the most public program to the most private. The remaining debris is used in a gabion structure that clads the form of the building. The thick gabion wall is carved into to create windows that allow light into the space but keeps its monolitic rubble appearance from the exterior.

The Box

Sharvari Tamhane

Instructor: Charles Rudolph

The H.L Green Building, a deco-modern masonry-clad structure has been a historic Five-and-Dime store for years. This scheme aims to provide a new identity to the building and thus to the community. The key move in the design was to open up the structure by providing a community space- an amphitheater, to engage the public. The old and the new structures are seamlessly connected by glass walkways also serving as informal reading spaces. The design retains the existing brick masonry for a part of the building and a new material - mass timber, is introduced for the library box.

Eyes On The Library

Grace Lee

Instructor: Jude LeBlanc

The proposed library re-imagines this intersection of Broad street and M.L.K. Jr. Drive to be a prominent promenade of south downtown of Atlanta. The program includes an arts venue to enrich the historic and artistic fabric of this neighborhood. It not only invites the users to look in but also to flow in and interact with the library to serve and thrive in its community.


Himanshi Chrangoo

Instructor: Charles Rudolph

The tower of reading represents the act of breaking down a building to its material state and building up from the gathered components. It is a library with a masonry base in which various public community spaces reside. The perimeter wall carefully wraps around the corner site to address concerns of neighborhood scale and street activity. It also serves to retain the memory of the HL Green building that previously occupied the site. An unimposing and floating tower structure provides refuge between the earth and the sky and houses the poetic functions of reading.


Amy Stone | Section: David Yocum

  • Proposes inflating the scale of the existing building, creating a large urban frame in which hangs a mosaic of reused materials
  • A large performance space spans the block, lifting for a sunken food hall beneath, with housing units on Broad
  • Steel is recycled in the large frame - brick, cmu, and concrete compose the a rubble-like facade