Theory
KES 04 - 06 - 2010

Restoration and Adaptive Re-Use Recently, we have experienced many modern projects that have been redeveloped from historical design. As some have been restored to conserve their original function, others have been adapted toward future use. Why preserve the core of our past? For one, this method is more sustainable as we are focusing on the "smart growth concept". This sustainable development works with buildings at the center of the city, instead of starting new construction on open, green sites. We are trying to make use of the space that we have already built on that has unfortunately become unused or functionless. Also, adaptive re-use allows for future design to continue its motion while still retaining the history. It is a way for cultures to hold onto their traditions and values. Restoration has been a design preservation method that we have run across quite a few times on more of the important landmarks. The Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany was a great restoration that we visited while on our journey. Originally opening in the late nineteenth century, it housed the parliament of the German Empire until 1933. Unfortunately, it caught fire and was severely damaged by air raids in the mid-1900's. It was basically a ruin at that point. Reichstag was attempted to be fully restored later by Norman Foster in 1990 after debate of tearing it down all together. The exterior walls are basically the only original pieces left, but its finish in 1999 became to be a success. Foster's design of the cupola, the glass dome on the rooftop, has become the main attraction and drawn many tourists into the walls of the Reichstag (shown in the top half of lower image). One example of adaptive re-use that we have encountered is Gasometer in Vienna, Austria. Gasometer began as four gas tanks used throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The town eventually switched from town gas to natural gas, causing the gas tanks to become unused and later shut down. Four architects were chosen to redesign these tanks to become functional once again. Starting at ground floor and moving up, Gasometer now includes; commercial shopping, working offices, and residential apartments (section shown in upper image). The brick exterior walls were preserved and the structures still appear as gas tanks from the exterior. This adaptation has allowed the public to experience some historical value of Vienna while continuing to function in their everyday lives. One of the world's most commonly known examples of adaptive re-use is London's Tate Modern. This museum of international modern art was once the Bankside Power Station. It closed in 1981 and was eventually redesigned by Herzog & de Meuron. The Turbine Hall was still intact and acted as the main entrance to the gallery (shown in bottom half of lower image). You definitely still experience the industrial feel of the power plant with the brick exterior and exposed, steel structure on the interior. With the adaptation, glass walls and wooden floors were added for more appropriate gallery spaces. Their intentions were to accept the massive, industrial building as it was and enhance it, rather than eliminate it. This sustainable development has accepted double the amount of visitors as they expected already. It seems as though people are visiting for both the modern art exhibits and also the fascinating reformation of the building.

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