Sensitive approach to existing building stock usually leads to renovations that are often accompanied by a change of use and extensions to the original structure. But what if the original building fabric is such that renovation is not possible? Can a respectful approach lead to a considerate and sensible reconstruction? For instance, a new building that takes up certain structures and principles of its predecessor, complements them and applies them to a new concept? What architectural aspects are important for buildings that are seen as an interpretation of pre-existing buildings, which blend into the local architectural tradition without denying their contemporary character?
We asked these questions while selecting projects for our December issue, and so decided to include not only refurbishments but also two new buildings in the Documentation section. When it comes to reconstruction, we believe it makes little sense to approach it like a Disneyland production. But the case was different with Daniel Zamarbide and Leopold Banchini’s townhouse in Lisbon. The new building that the two architects designed on its predecessor’s footprint shows its history in the facade and integrates well into the historic neighbourhood, as if the building had always been there.
The other projects documented in this issue, compiled by our editor Barbara Zettel, include learning centres, universities and market halls. Another important focus is the renovation of residential buildings whose inhabitants can look forward to a secure future, as with the careful intervention by A2M in Brussels. Andreas Putz in his essay (p. 30) explains various strategies for renovating social housing estates. Heide Wessely’s Technology feature describes the elaborate process of refurbishing the terraced homes in the Olympic Village in Munich. The buildings from the 1970s are being adapted to today’s standards by bogevischs buero. Given their monument status, the technical solutions required to structurally upgrade the buildings were sometimes quite complex.