How can modern design and historic architecture complement and give meaning to one another? How can new architecture not only be modern and acknowledge its historic context but go beyond that to reveal the underlying principles in both old and new design? Increasingly, architects around the world have explored new ways of utilizing modern architecture and design principles in carefully conceived additions to historic buildings, districts and landscapes. In the best examples, architects have created a dialogue between past and present. For these designers, historic architecture is seen as a resource, as a cultural “found object” that can be mined for meaning, as well as providing a rich counterpoint to modern design elements. This dialogue between past and present has extremely important implications for modern design theory, the evolution of historic preservation and for environmental sustainability. Adapting, engaging with, adding to, modernizing and re-defining existing buildings is one of the most effective tools in working towards a sustainable built environment.
This evolving attitude also is contributing to new developments in the interpretation of architectural preservation standards in the U.S., in Europe and elsewhere. Seeing historic architectural fabric as a cultural resource (a resource that can be juxtaposed with modern design to shed light on both historic and modern) is an important development for world culture and for the continued vitality and retention of historic buildings and historic districts.
This paper and presentation is based on my own research and writing following a series of exhibits produced for the American Institute of Architects (Seattle Chapter), with case study projects from architects in several countries that illustrate emerging ideas in this important segment of contemporary design theory and practice.
|Keywords:||Modern Architecture in Historical Context, Additions to Historic Architecture|
Architect, Stephen Day Architecture, Seattle, Seattle, USA
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