Architecture January 13, 2012 By Nalina Moses

CaixaForum, Madrid, Spain, 2008.  By Herzog and de Meuron.

CaixaForum, Madrid, Spain, 2008. By Herzog and de Meuron.

title78 old buildings, new designs
There’s a kind of architecture that’s all about being a good neighbor, slipping into its surroundings without making a fuss. And there’s a kind of architecture that’s all about going right ahead and doing whatever it wants to do, without regard to what’s already there. The smart, contemporary addition and renovation projects highlighted in the book Old Buildings, New Designs chart a course between these two extremes. While they honor the character and proportions of the older structures they’re enhancing, they’re built with unapologetically contemporary materials and forms. Instead of a nostalgia for historic styles or a fervor for futuristic ones, they find drama in the rich, raw contrast between old and new constructions.
     Preserving and renovating old buildings has become an increasingly popular strategy. Building owners have limited funds for construction, designers are more interested in historic preservation and material conservation, and, globally, populations are migrating from rural communities to cities. So designing functional, attention-grabbing additions has become an important field of architecture and urban planning. In the projects featured in the book, sometimes a new interior is carved into the shell of existing structure, and sometimes an entirely new structure is built alongside the existing one.