“The greenest building is the one that is already built." (Carl Elefante, FAIA)
The world’s urban population will double by 2050, and cities need to come up with sustainable ways to accommodate this mass movement. We often see projects being built as quickly as possible to support growth, however, rapid growth often leads to cities and buildings that lack originality.
A smarter and more sustainable solution is to increase the density of existing centers, as well as to recover existing structures through refurbishment and repurposing. But, turning something old into something new is a challenging process — it requires a bold vision and a rigorous commitment to design.
Refurbishment projects carry a heavy responsibility — you must uphold the original structure’s identity, tradition, and history, while at the same time experiment and advance architecture. These projects also deal with technical complexities by updating structures and services to today’s standards and reinterpreting long forgotten buildings and materials with today’s technology.
After the Notre Dame Cathedral fire, we witnessed an outpouring of sadness, solidarity, and anger in response to the tragedy. The iconic structure held such a significant place in the world’s heart, and the loss of the majority of its roof and spire sparked a strong architectural response. From its historical importance to diverse solutions for rebuilding, the fire has ignited a debate in old versus new, whether to preserve the original structure or to create a new Notre Dame with different programs and uses.
With this in mind, our focus for this month is Refurbishment. We will highlight the projects and the architects who revive cities, reinterpret our symbolic structures, continue architectural traditions, and make architectural advancements.
Our Refurbishment section is part of a wider initiative in partnership with MINI Clubman. Here, we publish exclusive content, including interviews with the architects behind successful refurbishment projects and curated photo galleries. We have also recently launched our 2019 Refurbishment in Architecture Awards. With this award, we hope to bring exposure to the best new practices in refurbishment around the world.
This month, we will reward and highlight the architects and initiatives that are paving our future through our past. You can see all our produced content for Use and Reuse here.