September 18, 2012

Contemporary Architecture Built within Historic Contexts

The situation of a building in a particular location can add more to its architectural design than the brick and mortar that keep it standing. So is the case for contemporary buildings that are designed and situated to complement historical landmarks. In the spirit of conservation architects design wonders around the integrity of pre-existing structures, and the end result is juxtaposition of age and stature - the new and bold standing with the vintage and adored.

Buildings evolve and so do the needs of the populace living in the communities the historical buildings grace. It is unrealistic to think that every building will remain standing just because it is aesthetically pleasing. Community needs come first, and while in some cases the historical or cultural value overpower any desire to revamp the existing building, in other situations it is possible to compromise by adding a contemporary structure to a historical edifice.

Renovation and Preservation Unite
While preservationists might still claim that adding contemporary structures is altering the integrity of a historical building, others find that by adding a contemporary structure alongside a historical site without compromising the historical significance you might in fact be preserving the building further—as future generations are then less likely to address the matter themselves.

There are plenty of examples world wide of contemporary structures being added to historical sites. Here are just a few examples of this phenomenon:

The Morgan Museum and Library in New York City 
This museum has long been part of New York City and is adored as a favorite spot by architecture and book lovers alike. However, in the 1990s the library was evidently overflowing, and the only way to continue the library’s development of collections was to expand, but in a city like New York and with a historical building that is difficult to do. The renovated library is a sight to see, with a massive contemporary structure standing in front of the historical library. To view the Morgan Museum and Library and witness its renovation, visit their website here: http://www.themorgan.org/about/historyMore.asp?id=27

The Greek Museum at the Acropolis
This is one of the most famed contemporary renovations, as it sits at the foot of the Acropolis, a historical site that was treated with absolute integrity during the entire renovation process. Designed by the architect Bernard Tschumi, this museum is equipped with contemporary luxuries to accommodate for classes, lectures and tours that the Acropolis would not otherwise be able to offer.
MAXXI - National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome, Italy
Another example of this trend, the museum of art is as contemporary a building you will ever see yet it is nestled within one of the most persevered cities on Earth. There are no pillars on this building as so many other Roman structures feature, but instead the National Museum of 21st Century Arts features glass, molded concrete and swift curves. You can view this stunning contemporary architecture by visiting this website: http://www.yatzer.com/MAXXI-National-Museum-of-XXI-Century-Arts-by-Zaha-Hadid


Author Bio: Heather Smith is passionate about thought leadership, writing and is an ex-nanny. Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to become a nanny by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at] gmail.com.

5 comments:

  1. I have always thought that placing contemporary buildings next to historic ones tended to ruin the scenery so to speak.

    However, when I look at these I feel I should change my standing on this: Good contemporary architecture that is designed to look good next to old buildings really does lift landscape. It's a shame that lot of the contemporary "efforts" result in big grey and dull concrete walls though.

    Suzanne @ Rapid Racking.

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    1. I would argue that the problem is in the US people are too afraid to try new things so they stick with the safest route - hire less inspiring architects who make "traditional" looking buildings that really become dated and tacky very quickly. If you look at the contemporary architecture in places such as Paris, London, or Berlin you will see many more fantastic examples of contemporary architecture that compliments their historic contexts.

      I also think too many people mix up Modern architecture with Contemporary architecture. They are not the same. Modern architecture did have a lot of blank concrete walls or glass boxes. Contemporary architecture has a wide range of materials, styles, and forms that don't adhere to a specific ideology or aesthetic. Hire a great architect and you will get a great building that will enhance surrounding context.

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  2. It's true that new structures have the ability to be garish and disrespectful of their context. However, as older buildings decay, and the needs of the community change, new architecture can breathe life and purpose into a setting in which it was waning. Really nice post.

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  3. This is great topic to discuss or debate, thank for rising this post.

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  4. I always agree for this post in which the historical landmark build by using Concrete Mortar that is best material for building project..It is unrealistic think that every building will remain standing just because it is aesthetically pleasing..

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