Adaptive Reuse
JRM1 01 - 12 - 2010

My understanding and interpretation of the Great Mosque at Cordoba has completely changed after visiting and analyzing it. Since the visit I have been thinking about and interpreting the apparent "identity crisis" the mosque/cathedral seems to have. I was not at all disappointed with the mosque portion of the building, but the cathedral portion really put me off for awhile. I could not decide whether it was an embodiment of the domination of one people over another, or if it was an honest cultural shift. Rather than trying to decide whether an architectural motive was "pure" or "impure", I tried to stay impartial in an attempt to comprehend the building. Though it may change later, I am currently thinking of the building as an "open building". It originally had a very open floor plan and--whether intended or not--it made the building very conducive to re-use. I have been skeptical of the idea of designing for a building's second life, because I sometimes feel that the result is an architectural futon (a sub-par couch and a sub-par bed). But not only did the Mosque serve as an open building, the original building was an architectural masterpiece, not just a bland, functionally mediocre shell. Though possibly controversial, its reuse is effective and the building serves as its own rich architectural and cultural timeline. Adaptive reuse is a major part of my home town project, so I will certainly be analyzing the qualities of the Great Mosque and exploring how they can be applied to the big box stores and strip malls of the suburban architectural landscape.

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