Evaluating Adaptive Reuse Potential of Abandoned Factories in India

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The deindustrialization of colonial India had a significant impact on the development of socio-spatial frameworks for modern cities in India. The industrial buildings lost their original functions and it is often impossible to restore older buildings, even being sympathetic to history. Now these industrial buildings stand as an iconic backdrop to the urban fabric. Adaptive reuse is an alternate program to give life to obsolete structures by retaining their integrity while providing for contemporary needs. This research is an attempt to evaluate the adaptive-reuse potential of abandoned roof tile factories along the Malabar coast in India. The first tile factory (1865) established by Basel Missionaries of Germany in Mangalore, marked the beginning of one of the region’s largest industries that produced Mangalore tiles. These clay roof tiles later defined the language of pitched roof structures throughout the southwest coast of India. By the end of the twentieth century, the tile industry had declined drastically, resulting in the closure of many factories. The aim is to investigate and analyze the adaptive reuse potential of abandoned industrial buildings and understand perspectives on repurposing them. Through primary and secondary researches, a total of 106 factories were investigated and it has been established that almost 90 percent of the extant tile factories have the potential to be reused, focusing on both tangible and intangible aspects. Though this research is focused on the geographical region of Malabar and the roof tile industry, the methodology can be upscaled and implemented pan-India, concentrating on industrial heritage buildings.