Why Warehouses are still relevant in the urban landscape

by Valentina Ieva
25 Love 19216 Visits

The 'warehouse' is a commercial building for the storage of goods. Its layout is mostly related to the Industrial Revolution period, when warehouses were very relevant in the urban landscape. These buildings were usually rectangular, built in red bricks, with a double pitched roof and located near railways or rivers, in order to receive goods.

Over the years warehouse typology has changed: several renovation interventions have turned old buildings into apartments, restaurants, shops, lofts and headquarters. But their layout is still recognizable.

The warehouse typology offers several opportunities to modern architecture, both in conversions and new projects, thanks to adaptabily and versatility. The free design of plan, the wide interiors and the large windows are reinterpreted and readapted for home life, work spaces and free time.

I've put together a selection of ten of these architectures. Are warehouses still relevant in the urban landscape? 

The Botín Foundation has established its new offices in Madrid by choosing a 1920s industrial building by the architect Gonzalo Aguado. In the conversion by MVN Arquitectos, the original facades are subject to conservation control so the materials and finishes are therefore protected and cannot be altered.

In Belgium the architect Julie D'Aubioul has created a living solution and work space for a young couple in an abandoned factory, renamed into Factory Life. While in Anversa the existing warehouse Kendall - Antwerp was transformed for SD Worx into a contemporary office building.

An old industrial warehouse of 1100 m2, at one of the most beautiful spots along the Amsterdam waterfronts, was transformed by CUBE architecten and SOLUZ Architecten to an attractive café and the biggest fish restaurant of Europe: the Cafe restaurant Stork.

A disused warehouse is home to the new Pinterest HQ in San Francisco, designed by First Office architects in collaboration with All of the above.

In London FORM design architecture has refitted this Bermondsey Warehouse Loft in an industrial building that was once used as a tin and zinc factory (Winner, ‘Best Home Interior Design’, Don’t Move, Improve! Awards 2013).

Casa dos cubos is the extreme proposal of Embaixada for a former cereal warehouse in the small town of Tomar, in Portugal.

House in Yoro is the reinterpretation by Airhouse Design Office: a luxurious home that made effective use of existing features while also avoiding excessive expense.

Finally, among the Italian proposals, there are a pavilion by act romegialli, the Padiglione Canottieri Moto Guzzi and the Technopole for industrial research: requalification of Shed #19 in the old “Officine Reggiane” area by andrea oliva. In the first case the architecture was built up warehouse-like, even if it do not have a storage function. In the second one the memory of labour sounds, smells, machines, process waste and people were an essential part of converted building.


    • Valentina Ieva

      Valentina Ieva


      Bari / Italy

      Laureata in Ingegneria edile-architettura, giornalista per professione, web writer per diletto. Amante di architettura, design, fotografia e libri di carta. Dipendente dai social, Instagram e InstaStories su tutti. Affamata di vita, viaggi e storie da scoprire. Qualunque forma d'arte mi affascina da sempre e non posso pensare una vita senza: emozioni forti, immaginazione, buona musica, cucina pugliese, sole e gatti. Per dirla con le parole di Battiato, non potrei vivere senza: ‘un soffio al)

    Botín Foundation 119

    Botín Foundation

    Madrid / Spain / 2012

    Factory Life 60

    Factory Life

    Waarschoot / Belgium / 2012

    Kendall - Antwerp 47

    Kendall - Antwerp

    Antwerp / Belgium / 2010

    Cafe restaurant Stork 312

    Cafe restaurant Stork

    Amsterdam / Netherlands / 2011

    Pinterest HQ 59

    Pinterest HQ

    San Francisco / United States / 2013

    Bermondsey Warehouse Loft 147

    Bermondsey Warehouse Loft

    London / United Kingdom / 2014

    Casa dos cubos 28

    Casa dos cubos

    Tomar / Portugal / 2006

    House in Yoro 60

    House in Yoro

    Yoro District / Japan / 2012

    Padiglione Canottieri Moto Guzzi 64

    Padiglione Canottieri Moto Guzzi

    Mandello Lario / Italy / 2011

    Technopole for industrial research 108

    Technopole for industrial research

    Reggio Emilia / Italy / 2014