The architectural history of Mexico bears with it a wealth of symbolism that gives insight into the different time periods that have played host to contemporary cultural movements throughout the country's history.
Today, it's common to hear well-known architects calling for, not the creation of new spaces, but for the restoration of already existing ones. This stance insists that it is one's duty as an architect to rescue a site's memory by bringing it into the here and now.
As philosopher Jean Paul-Sartre put it, "what is important is not what happens to us, but what we do with what happens to us." In keeping with Sartre's phrase, we have compiled a list of 6 restoration projects that aim to rescue sites and show the interconnectedness of different time periods in Mexican history.
In his book The Right to the City (1968), Henri Lefebvre talks about ending the creation of spaces managed by the logic of profit, to launch a plan of "self-managed territory" that does not leave aside the "historical heritage," nor allow the decomposition of space, but instead works for the restitution of urban centers as places of creation.
Globalization has produced cities without limits whose focus has been on the immediate benefit, directly attacking the preservation of cultural heritage, among other things.
Zaha Hadid Architects have released images of their proposed redevelopment of the historic Mercury House, situated in the tourism and entertainment center of Paceville on Malta’s east coast. An extensive renovation to the existing structure will see the integration of residential apartments, a boutique hotel, and a range of public spaces and amenities.
The boldest addition to the derelict heritage site will be a 31-story tower, rotating as it rises in response to different functional programs. The resulting form seeks to instill “a sense of dynamism within its silhouette that changes when viewed from different directions around Paceville."
MVRDV has unveiled its vision for transforming the Communist-era “Tirana Pyramid” in Albania into a center for technology, art, and culture. Under the plans, the abandoned structure will be revitalized as a multifunctional technology education center for Tirana’s youth, with the existing dark interior becoming open, bright, and green.
The Tirana Pyramid was opened in 1988 as the Enver Hoxta Museum, designed in honor of Albania’s former communist leader. Since then, the building has transitioned into a NATO base during the Balkan Wars, a nightclub, and an event space. Though now in decay, the building remains a popular spot for young people keen to climb on its roof. As a nod to this unique appropriation, MVRDV has made the roof officially available for all visitors.
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.
When architects were asked to re-imagine Chicago’s neglected buildings for an exhibition, Dirk Lohan designed a revitalization plan for Louis Sullivan'sPilgrim Baptist Church. Soon Sullivan’s landmark building will become the nation’s first National Museum of Gospel Music, complete with a cafe, retail store, event space, research and listening library, and a 350-seat auditorium.
Herzog & de Meuron has released images of their proposed scheme for the redevelopment of an old brewery site on the banks of the Moscow River. The Badaevskiy Brewery project will see the transformation of a largely abandoned cluster of historic, industrial buildings, a delicate restoration project contrasting with the contemporary addition of a residential “Horizontal Skyscraper.” With this bold addition elevated on tall, slender stilts, a new ground-level public park is created to strengthen ties between the brewery site and adjacent river.
I have a distinct memory from my days as an architecture student at the University of California Berkeley in the late ‘80s. During an architectural survey class taught by Spiro Kostof, Louis I Kahn’s Yale University Art Gallery popped up in the slideshow. “Nice building,” I thought, “but what’s with those windows?”
Fifteen years later at Polshek Partnership (now Ennead Architects), I would become the project architect for the construction phase overseeing the rehabilitation of that classic building—the most challenging aspect of which was to replace “those windows.” I came to understand, intimately, how the double-paned window wall had failed almost as soon as construction was complete. Condensation accumulated between the panes, creating the foggy effect that marred my first impression of this groundbreaking building.
The Eppstein House, one of Wright’s Usonian designs built in 1953, has been restored to its original beauty by owners Marika Broere and Tony Hillebrandt and is now accepting visitors for a limited time through Airbnb. Located in Galesburg, Michigan, the house was originally designed as part of a planned Usonian community intended to contain 21 homes, though just four ended up being built.
A Spanish tourist has been killed by a piece of falling masonry in the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, Italy. As reported by The Guardian, the 52-year old victim was hit by "a piece of decorative stone that fell from a height of 20 metres (66 ft) as he visited the religious building with his wife." Reports suggest that the fragment was around 15cm by 15cm (6 by 6 inches) in size; according to Yahoo, the fragment "had supported a beam in the right transept of the Basilica."
Following the incident, the attraction has been closed to visitors indefinitely.
https://www.archdaily.com/881997/falling-masonry-kills-tourist-in-florences-deteriorating-basilica-di-santa-croceAD Editorial Team
Broken gargoyles and fallen balustrades replaced by plastic pipes and wooden planks. Flying buttresses darkened by pollution and eroded by rainwater. Pinnacles propped up by beams and held together with straps.
According to the Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris, the iconic Parisian cathedral is in "desperate need of attention." Perhaps more concerningly, the holy site and French national monument is also in "a worrisome state of preservation." Built of limestone—a material notoriously susceptible to erosion—the building is in an accelerating state of wear-and-tear, demanding renewed funding efforts and expertise to secure its immediate and long-term future. From the lead roof to the stone buttresses, the world-renowned gargoyles to the stained glass windows, every inch of the structure requires differing levels of attention.
https://www.archdaily.com/881238/iconic-and-revered-notre-dame-de-paris-faces-an-uncertain-futureAD Editorial Team
Kleinewelt Architekten in partnership with Citizenstudio / Gorozhane Group, created a re-design proposal for the Northern River Boat Station Park, also known as the Park of Five Seas, in Moscow. Built in the 1930’s, the current park is supposed to act as the city’s gateway to the five seas: the White, Baltic, Black, Azov, and Caspian Sea. However, the park is removed from city life and separates Moscow from it’s historic waterways.
As Mies van der Rohe’s adopted city, Chicago and its surrounding area are home to more of the Modernist architect’s projects than anywhere else in the world, from Crown Hall to Federal Center to the Farnsworth House. Perhaps for that very reason, the McCormick House, located in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst, is one of the lesser known projects in the architect's’ oeuvre – despite being one of just three single-family homes in the United States completed by Mies.
This article is part of our series "Material in Focus", where we ask architects to share with us their creative process through the choice of materials that define important parts of the construction of their buildings.
Alagoas House used neutral colors and furnishings in order to let local craftsmanship stand out. Some of the strategies that guided the projects included using works by regional artists and decorating with repurposed everyday objects. We spoke with architect João Duayer of Tavares Duayer Arquitetura to learn more about the choice of materials and the determining role that they played in his concept for this project.
https://www.archdaily.com/873160/restoration-using-simple-regional-techniques-enhances-local-cultureEquipe ArchDaily Brasil
The object of this architectural restoration is the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Vistabella, the work of Catalan architect Josep Maria Jujol (16 September 1879 – 1 May 1949). The original design dates from 1917 with the construction completed in 1923. The building is a magnificent and personal work of Catalan architecture.
The simplicity of the materials used—basically brick, mortar, and stone—contrasts with the spectacular formal richness of the structural solutions: columns, arches, and vaults that generate a complex, rich, and surreal interior space typical of the mysticism of Jujol.
Antoni Gaudí’s first ever house, Casa Vicens, is set to open to the public this autumn following a major restoration effort. Located in the Barcelona neighborhood of Gràcia, the house was originally built for broker Manuel Vicens from 1883 to 1885 – helping to define Gaudí’s signature style and helping to usher in the era of Art Nouveau architecture in Catalonia.