Prisons are often seen as problematic for their local communities. After centuries of correctional facilities discouraging economic growth and occupying valuable real estate as a necessary component of towns and cities, many of these institutions have been relocated away from city centers and their abandoned vestiges are left as unpleasant reminders of their former use. In fact, the majority of prisons built in the United States since 1980 have been placed in non-metropolitan areas and once served as a substantial economic development strategy in depressed rural communities.  However, a new pressure is about to emerge on the US prison systems: beginning in 2010, America’s prison population declined for the first time in decades, suggesting that in the near future repurposing these structures will become a particularly relevant endeavor for both community development and economic sustainability. These abandoned shells offer architects valuable opportunities to reimagine programmatic functions and transform an otherwise problematic location into an integral neighborhood space.
Why repurpose prisons rather than starting fresh? The answer to this question lies in the inherent architectural features of the prison typology, namely the fact that these structures are built to last. People also often forget that prison buildings are not limited to low-rise secure housing units – in fact, prisons feature an array of spaces that have great potential for reuse including buildings for light industrial activity, training or office buildings, low-security housing, and large outdoor spaces. These elements offer a wide variety of real estate for new programmatic uses, and cities around the world have begun to discover their potential. What could the US learn from these examples, at home and overseas?
Page\Park Architects have been announced as winner of a competition to restore Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art (GSA). The Scottish practice, chosen ahead of four other shortlisted architects, will now develop plans to restore the building’s library and all other areas devastated by fire in May of last year.
Highlighting Page\Park’s “extensive track record in both restoring and reinvigoration major historic buildings” and previous work on the Mac, GSA director Prof Tom Inns said: “The team assembled by Page\Park Architects impressed us not only with their deep knowledge of the building, but of the wider work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh… Page\Park have ongoing relationships with key crafts specialists and artists in Scotland and wider afield, and presented exciting proposals for expanding the legacy of the restoration by working with a new generation of creative talent.”
UPDATE: Within 24-hours after the Battersea Arts Centre’s March 13th fire, the building re-opened and reconstruction efforts began. A fundraising campaign has been launched, aiming to help the rebuild the center’s Grand Hall and Lower Hall – both destroyed by the fire. Learn how you can donate, here.
A major fire has broken out at the Battersea Arts Centre. The tower of the Grade-II listed building, known as a leading independent theater and arts venue in South London, has reportedly collapsed. Thankfully no one has been injured.
Firefighters are working tirelessly to save the building. A cause is unknown, though it seems the blaze started in the building’s roof above its main hall in an area that is currently undergoing a 10-year-long, £13 million refurbishment led by Stirling Prize laureate Haworth Tompkins.
Five practices are the running to restore Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s celebrated school of art in Glasgow. UK based John McAslan + Partners (who restored Mackintosh’s last major commission), Scottish practice Page \ Park, and London and Hong-Kong based architects Purcell are all in the frame to lead the restoration of the Mackintosh Building amid a debate over how best to approach the rebuilding of the library and the areas of the building that were devastated by fire in May of last year. The selection of Avanti Architects and LDN Architects complete the rostra.
Following the unfortunate series of events that saw the Glasgow School of Art’s (GSA) iconic Mackintosh Library devastated in a fire in May of last year, a leading Scottish architect has stated that he is “seriously against the idea of remaking the library” as a replica of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s original acclaimed design. Talking to the Scottish Herald, Professor Alan Dunlop has stated that “there is actually no way you can replace it as it was [as] there was 100 years of age and patina that you would have to replicate.” Furthermore, he believes that it would not be something that “Mackintosh would do,” citing the expansion of “his work in the years between each part of the Mackintosh Building being built [in 1899 and 1909]” as justification. It is his feeling that “the former library had essentially become a museum [and] not a viable working room for students and staff.”
The Pazzi Chapel is a landmark of architecture in the city that was once the cradle of the Italian Renaissance: Florence. Located in the Santa Croce church complex (the largest Franciscan church in the world), the chapel was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi - the goldsmith-turned-architect who dedicated his life to engineering the dome of Florence’s Santa Maria del Fiore. It is “a prime example of 15th-century architectural decoration in grey pietra serena sandstone, colourful maiolica, and terracotta.”
550 years have taken their toll on this structure and its decoration. Concern for the state of the loggia of the chapel is now so great that the non-profit institution in charge of the church’s administration – the Opera di Santa Croce – have raised 50% of the funds needed to carry out a restoration, set to begin in early 2015. They are now looking to crowdfunding to source the remaining half ($95,000) and, in so doing, are inviting people from around the world to become part of the 720-year-long history of Santa Croce.
The 2014 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize has been awarded to the Finnish Committee for the restoration of Alvar Aalto’s seminal Viipuri Library in Vyborg, Russia. “Designed by Aalto and constructed between 1927 and 1935 in what was then the Finnish city of Viipuri,” stated WMF in a press release, “the library reflects the emergence of Aalto’s distinctive combination of organic form and materials with the principles of clear functionalist expression that was to become the hallmark of his architecture.”
A quote from Barry Bergdoll and more images, after the break.
Among the vast coverage of 3D printing in the media, the technology is frequently cited as the ‘future’ of production, focusing on its ability to bring new things into existence quickly and cheaply. But does 3D printing have to be all about the future? As this article originally printed by Metropolis Magazine as “3D Printing Saves a Frank Lloyd Wright Treasure“ attests, 3D printing also has something to offer to the past; specifically, to a deteriorating Frank Lloyd Wright building whose ‘textile block’ was simply too complex to restore through any other modern techniques. Read on after the break to find out how this high-tech rescue mission is being achieved.
The Glasgow School of Art have announced that they will hold two symposiums in order to discuss the restoration of the school’s library which was devastated in a fire in May of this year. The first conference, to be held in Venice’s Querini Stampalia, will act as a precursor to a second conference to be held in Glasgow in 2015. According to Professor Christopher Platt, head of the Mackintosh School of Architecture, the meetings will help to answer the question: “What should the plans be for bringing the Mackintosh building into full use once more and how should we approach the particular issue of the Macintosh library?”
How do you make a space more livable by current standards, while simultaneously upholding the original architect’s design intentions? It’s a delicate endeavor, but one that was recently accomplished by a couple of architects in Southern California. Originally published by AIArchitect as “Pacific Coast Sun Rises on Modernist House Restorations,” this article investigates the thoughtful restorations of three homes designed by the pioneering modernists Rudolph Schindler, John Lautner, and Charles and Ray Eames.
Los Angeles’ early Modernist pioneers are no longer around to oversee the restoration of homes they designed more than a half-century ago, but their landmark projects are offering a new generation of designers historic case studies in Modernist preservation that grow more and more significant with each passing day. Vintage architectural renderings and drawings, photos, and notes are all ingredients these architects use to summon the spirits of Rudolph Schindler, John Lautner, and Charles and Ray Eames, to name a few, bringing their early works of California Modernism back to life.
The post-war city centre of Rotterdam is ruled by commerce. Only five percent of the city’s inhabitants live in the centre, which is almost entirely occupied by highstreet fashion chains, fast food restaurants, and offices. After shop closing time, the shutters go down and the streets are deserted. The municipality would like to lure more inhabitants into the centre – but space for new residential buildings is scarce. So in recent years, a 1960s cinema and church had to make way for a huge new housing complex designed by Alsop Architects, and a residential tower by Wiel Arets was speedily attached to Marcel Breuer’s department store, De Bijenkorf. It was not until the municipality suggested forcing new housing high-rises into the green courtyards of the Lijnbaanhoven residential complex, designed in 1954 by Hugh Maaskant, that there were protests and the project had to be cancelled. For the time being, that is.
One densification project, however, tried not to destroy or debase the post-war building originally occupying its site. In many respects, the Karel Doorman residential high-rise could even be called the saviour of the old Ter Meulen department store. It might be rather uncommon for a valiant hero to crouch down on the shoulders of the little old lady he intends to rescue – but that’s more or less what happened here.
The Wall Street Journal recently detailed the complex history of E-1027, the house which Eileen Gray designed with her lover Jean Badovici in Southern France: from the murals which Le Corbusier painted on the walls (without Gray’s permission) to the murder that happened there in 1996 to the restoration that has been going on for over a decade (a supposed “massacre” of the original). You can read the full article here.
Miami, Florida is booming with new architectural projects by big names: everything from new condominums by BIG,to the new Miami Beach Convention Center. So why are so many big projects migrating to Miami Beach? The city is turning itself into an American cultural and civic center.
Join us after the break for more.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Historic Park Inn Hotel in Mason City, Iowa, has recently undergone an extensive $18 million restoration. The hotel, designed in 1910 for two lawyers features 42 hotel rooms, two-story banking room, basements shops below and office space above. It was the last hotel designed by FLW in the world, thus the group of preservationists who have undertaken the task of bringing it back to its original vision are very excited. Some of the distinctive elements that the renovation restored include the exterior brick and terra cotta façade and the art glass windows. This Prairie School building is now open to the public and taking reservations.