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Preservation: The Latest Architecture and News

From Festivals to Schools, Cathedrals, and Bomb Sites: The Story of Mid-Century Modernism in Britain

The term “mid-century modern” conjures up images of a sharp-suited Don Draper, slender teak cabinets, and suave chairs from Scandinavia. That is, at least, one perspective of the design movement and a view more of 1950s-era Manhattan offices than anything else. But in Britain, mid-century modernism manifested as something slightly different, coming in the form of schools, cathedrals, housing, and an era-defining festival, all eloquently described and illustrated by the prolific architectural historian Elain Harwood in Mid-Century Britain: Modern Architecture 1938-1963.

Why “Use Is the Best Form of Preservation”

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

"For more than a generation, federally funded historic tax credits (HTCs) have been instrumental in incentivizing developers to revive and reuse historic buildings and keep them economically viable, rather than replace them with shiny new objects. These credits create jobs, promote responsible development, and leverage billions in private investment to enable income-generating buildings". Read the interview between Justin R. Wolf and Meghan Elliott, founding principal of New History, a firm specializing in adaptive reuse.

UNESCO Removes Liverpool’s World Heritage Status and Spares Venice of In-Danger Designation

This month, UNESCO has announced a series of decisions concerning important heritage sites, giving rise to conversations around preservation and urban development. Last week, the World Heritage Committee decided to strip Liverpool of its heritage status, as the new developments are considered detrimental to the waterfront's integrity. These projects placed the city on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2012, a designation which Venice managed to avoid earlier this week, due in great part to the recent ban on cruise ships.

Courtesy of Broadway Malyan, ©Walter Menzies. Image Courtesy of Broadway Malyan, © webbaviation.co.uk. Image Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@stijntestrake?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Stijn te Strake</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/venice?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>   © Shutterstock+ 6

Alvar Aalto’s Silo to be Transformed into Research Centre Promoting Architectural Preservation in Oulu, Finland

Skene Catling de la Peña and Factum Foundation are transforming Alvar Aalto’s iconic wood chip Silo into a research Centre promoting architectural preservation and re-use. The AALTOSIILO, a cathedral-like concrete structure “will become a point of focus for digitizing and communicating the importance of the industrial architecture of the north and – in turn - the impact industry has had on the environment”.

Construction Begins on the Glass House Project, a New Take on Historical Preservation

Menokin Foundation has begun construction on its “Glass House Project”, a new initiative in the preservation of historic landmarks. Protecting what remains from the 1769 house, the intervention will replace missing walls, floors, and sections of the roof with glass. Designed by Machado Silvetti, in collaboration with glass engineer Eckersley O’Callaghan, and landscape designer Reed Hilderbrand, the project will be developed in phases, to be completed in 2023.

Pasadena Heritage Spring Home Tour - "Wallace Neff, Master Architect"

Tour extraordinary historic homes as Pasadena Heritage presents Wallace Neff, Master Architect.

The Dr. Allan B. Kavanel House was commissioned by Dr. Kavanel from Chicago in 1921. It incorporates fine Mediterranean details that were popular during the Golden Age of Southern California architecture.

The Morse & Gates (Mrs. Ethel Guthrie) House was commissioned in 1925 by the Morse and Gates Company, a real estate, insurance and building firm. The house is a beautifully simple Spanish Colonial revival home typical of Neff's designs.

The Mr. and Mrs. Edwin D. Neff House is a Tuscan style villa designed for Neff's parents in 1927. The interior

Pasadena Architectural Legacy Walking Tours and Presentation

On December 30th, 2019, Pasadena Heritage invites you and your holiday guests to take walking tours featuring some of Pasadena’s unique architectural treasures and/or visit Pasadena Heritage’s 1893 headquarters to see a presentation featuring Pasadena’s historic architecture in the movies! Attendees have the opportunity to participate in two different walking tours and the movie presentation, each with a 10:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. start time!

Pasadena Hillcrest Neighborhood Walking Tour
Discover one of Pasadena’s most beautiful neighborhoods with the Hillcrest Walking Tour, which takes you by many grand homes in a variety of architectural styles. The Oak Knoll subdivision, of which Hillcrest

The Paris Researcher Pioneering a New Way to Recycle Building Materials

The Paris-based designer and researcher Anna Saint Pierre is rethinking architectural preservation through her Granito project, which was awarded the Best Conscious Design prize at this year’s WantedDesign Brooklyn.. Image © Anna Saint Pierre/Rimasùu
The Paris-based designer and researcher Anna Saint Pierre is rethinking architectural preservation through her Granito project, which was awarded the Best Conscious Design prize at this year’s WantedDesign Brooklyn.. Image © Anna Saint Pierre/Rimasùu

Anna Saint Pierre's Granito project is harvesting the ingredients for new architectural building blocks from demolished structures.

Rapid urban change comes and goes without many even noticing it. Entire slices of a city’s history disappear overnight: What was once a wall of hewn stone is now fritted glass and buffed metal. The building site is always, first, a demolition site.

This is the thread that runs through Granito, a project by the young French designer and doctoral researcher Anna Saint Pierre. Developed in response to a late-20th-century Paris office block due for a major retrofit, one involving disassembly, it hinges on a method of material preservation Saint Pierre calls “in situ recycling.” Her proposal posits that harvesting the individual granite panels of the building’s somber gray facade could form the basis of a circular economy. “No longer in fashion,” this glum stone—all 182 tons of it—would be dislodged, pulverized, and sorted on-site, then incorporated into terrazzo flooring in the building update.

How Can Cities Help and Be Helped by Bees

Food production is directly reliant on bees, and their disappearance could lead to catastrophic effects on humanity. There are alarming reports all over the internet about how these little insects are dying. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 75% of the world's food crops rely on bees. For example, it is only possible to have a juicy and well-developed strawberry if dozens of bees go by the flower at the right time and pollinate it. Without them, it would look more like a raisin.

Dust, Cracked Walls, and Enchanting Artwork

Magic lies in architectural ruins. Beneath the dirt and mold, fractured walls and deserted rooms still stand, preserving the remains that have lingered long after their owners' departure.

During his explorations of abandoned places across Europe, photographer Romain Veillon stumbled upon enchanting frescoes and paintings that were left to fade in the parlors of the aristocrats. Veillon became keen on finding more of these imaginary museums across the continent, and to his chance, managed to discover many in France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, and Portugal.

Before their art is forgotten and their houses quietly rust away, Veillon captured the murals found in these haute bourgeoisie family houses, which illustrate stories of the cities they lay in and the people they once belonged to.

© Romain Veillon© Romain Veillon© Romain Veillon© Romain Veillon+ 37

The Beauty in the Imperfections of Ruins in Architecture

© Erica Overmeer© Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill© Philip Vile© Erich Spahn+ 17

If walls could speak, they would have the most stories to tell - stories of antiquity, war, scandal, and reconciliation. Approaches to preservation are as varied as the architects behind them, but many take on the challenge with flair and restraint in equal measure. It is common to see preservation that combines ancient structure with contemporary features, creating beautiful combinations of old and new.

Take a look at some architectures from our projects database that highlight the beauty in the imperfections of ruins and great combinations of used and new materials.

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Will Snøhetta's Redesign Calm the Outcry From Its Original Controversial Proposal?

Labeled as "vandalism" and "murder" of an icon of postmodernism, Oslo-based firm Snøhetta's redesign proposal for Phillip Johnson and John Burgee's AT&T Headquarters was received with instantaneous backlash across the architectural community last year. Architect Robert A. M. Stern, marched alongside a protest outside 550 Madison Avenue, and even critic Norman Foster, who never claimed to have any sympathy for the postmodern movement, still vocalized his sentiments that "[the building] is an important part of our heritage and should be respected as such."

A rejection of the bland and cold functionality of Midtown's crystal skyscrapers, the AT&T building was intended to encourage a more playful approach architecture in the corporate world; the crazy socks beneath a three-piece suit. It was not without controversy. Upon its completion, the building was derided for its decorative and outsized pediment and occasionally dark interior spaces. Indeed, the building's arched entry spaces were among the only architectural elements to be met with praise from both critics and the public. 

Courtesy of LMNB & SnøhettaCourtesy of LMNB & SnøhettaCourtesy of LMNB & SnøhettaCourtesy of LMNB & Snøhetta+ 6

Pasadena Heritage Craftsman Weekend

In its 27th year, Pasadena Heritage will present the Annual Craftsman Weekend on November 9-11, 2018. The Weekend will feature house tours of notable Craftsman properties, along with bus and walking tours of the surrounding neighborhoods. Other events scheduled include a Show and Sale with exhibitors of antique and contemporary furniture and decorative arts, a silent auction, workshops and presentations. In addition, Pasadena Heritage will be offering exclusive receptions at historic locations throughout the weekend.

Buddhist Monasteries and Spain's Islamic Palace-City Among 19 New Sites Added to UNESCO's World Heritage List

© Council for Inscription of Buddhist Mountain
© Council for Inscription of Buddhist Mountain

After carefully deliberating in their annual session, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee selected 19 new sites to inscribe on the World Heritage List in the city of Manama in Bahrain. Featuring 13 cultural sites such as Buddhist mountain monasteries in Korea, the industrial city of Ivrea in Italy, and the Caliphate city of Medina Azahara in Spain, alongside three natural sites and three mixed sites (classified as both cultural and natural heritage), the list now aggregates to 1092 sites in 167 countries.

From the historical Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul to the contemporary city of Brasilia orchestrated by Oscar Niemeyer, the World Heritage List has continuously exhibited varied examples of architecture and urban planning from different eras and movements from around the world. Amongst the new additions, there are several sites of religious importance, city organization, and natural conservation.

© Madinat al-Zahra Archaeological Site (CAMaZ)/M. Pijuán© IPOGEA© DAI/Göbekli Tepe Project© Förderverein Welterbe an Saale und Unstrut/Guido Siebert+ 15

Markham Place Neighborhood Walking Tour

The Governor Markham Landmark District is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the City of Pasadena, and residences included in the District parallel Pasadena’s growth from incorporation as a city in 1886. Ninety-four percent of the homes were constructed between 1891 and 1933. This area became an official Landmark District in 2005 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012, nominated by Pasadena Heritage.

Mexico City's Controversial Airport Project Could Be a Preservation Site for a Collection of Modernist Murals

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "How a Small Mexico City Exhibition Fueled a Debate About Preservation and Power."

It’s a slate-gray day in Mexico City’s Colonia Narvarte neighborhood and mounting gusts signal imminent rain. Centro SCOP, a sprawling bureaucratic complex, rises sharply against this bleak backdrop. The building is a masterful, if not intimidating, example of Mexican Modernism, an H-shaped assemblage of muscular concrete volumes designed by architect Carlos Lazo, covered in an acre-and-a-half of vibrant mosaic murals.

At its peak, the building accommodated more than 3,000 workers for the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT). Today, save a security guard in its gatehouse, it is empty.

As part of the Archivo exhibition, FR-EE has proposed relocating Centro SCOP's murals to the airport it is co-designing with Foster + Partners. Image Courtesy of FR-EE Fernando Romero Enterprises/ Archivo Diseño y ArquitecturaAn artist's rendering of Centro SCOP. Image Courtesy of Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT)/ Archivo Diseño y ArquitecturaAn image of Centro SCOP, shortly after it opened in the mid 1950s. Image Courtesy of personal archive of Carlos Lazo Barreiro / Archivo General de la Nación/ Archivo Diseño y ArquitecturaJuan O'Gorman's "Canto a La Patria (Parte 1)" (left) and "Independencia y Progreso" (right). Image Courtesy of Pablo López Luz/ Archivo Diseño y Arquitectura+ 26

Nominations Now Open for the 2018 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize

Nominations are now open for the 2018 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the prize recognizes architects or designers that have demonstrated innovative solutions to preserve or save threatened modern architecture.

Society of Architectural Historians Announces 2018 Publication Award Recipients

Get ready to add to your reading and watch lists because the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) just announced the 2018 award recipients for the SAH Publication, Film and Video Awards. Winners received their awards at SAH’s 71st Annual International Conference awards ceremony on April 20th in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The list of SAH Award recipients represents some of the best media in architectural, urban, and landscape history, as well as historic preservation scholarship and architectural exhibition catalogs. Nominations for the 2019 awards will be accepted by SAH on June 1st of this year.

See the list of this year's SAH Award recipients below.