Designing with maritime heritage: Adaptive re-use of small-scale shipyards in northwest Europe

Jelle Hettema, Linde Egberts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to describe the different design approaches architects take towards the adaptive reuse of small-scale shipyards. Thereby giving a proposition for future projects by giving insight in how others preceded and showcasing different possibilities.

The research is based on a literary review in combination with a case study, following one main question: What architectural approaches do architects employ in redesigning nineteenth- and twentieth century dockyards in Northern Europe and how do these approaches consider the history of building and context? First, this paper researches the history of adaptive reuse. Additionally, the historical and cultural context of shipyards is researched. Finally, a case study is done linking theory with practice. Selected cases are: Kromhout shipyard in Amsterdam, Verftet Ny-Hellesund in Ny-Hellesund and the Maritime Museum in Helsingør.

Four approaches to adaptive re-use were distinguished in the cases: differentiation, continuation, cultivation and optimisation. Each has its own implications for the design and the chosen approach is ultimately related to the important heritage values of each individual shipyard. Heritage professionals proved to have a great say, in the early stages of the adaptation process, in which the adaptive reuse approach was chosen.

Research limitations/implications
This comparative research enables an in-depth analysis and comparison and thorough qualitative understanding. It however limits the insight in the representativeness of these cases.

This paper compares the adaptive reuse of small-scale shipyards in an international perspective. It offers insight into the patterns, principles and context of the architectural reuse of this underexposed industrial heritage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-143
Number of pages14
JournalCultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2019


  • Adaptive reuse
  • Architecture
  • Industrial heritage
  • Northwest Europe
  • Shipyard


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