mending a whisper: Adaptive Reuse of a 19th Century Sugar Refinery in Puerto Rico
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Within the island of Puerto Rico one can come upon remnants of any sort. Rather than a single individual narrating its history, the land itself serves as witness and raconteur of events. Introduced into the island by the Spaniards during colonization, the sugar industry became the driving force for the overall economy until mid 20th century. The desire to modernize brought not only a better way of life to its citizens but also a move from an agricultural-based economy to a more industrialized one focused on the manufacturing of goods. Once production was brought to a halt, the agrarian way of life was put aside along with the cities that served as headquarters.
Today, a great amount of these factories still stand although in terrible disrepair. What remains lingers in time and place and has stayed as a vague memory to those whose lives were touched by that epoch. This thesis proposes to adaptively reuse one of these structures and convert it into a public park and interactive museum. This project intends to revive a locale by giving it new purpose, immortalize the memory of a given period, and to educate on what once was, what is and what could be of this significant part of our culture and history.