Evaluating Partial Reuse of Historical Buildings as Commercial Interiors: A Case Study in Florence

By Nilufer Saglar Onay.

Published by The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 11, 2014 $US5.00

Re-use of historical interiors as retail space is an important design issue that has to be evaluated from different points of view. While preserving the heritage significance of these interiors, it is also important to create up-to-date commercial spaces. Historic cities and all their components including buildings and their interiors are living structures, and they need to be used for some socially useful purpose. If they are abandoned without a use, they become frozen in time. Reuse is the way to make them a part of our lives. Florence, the starting point of Renaissance still reflects the real spirit of the era with many of its architectural structures. In this study, selected ground floor interiors used for commercial activities in the old market place of Florence were evaluated in order to draw attention to the tension created between the existing historic environment and contemporary additions while adapting interiors to new uses. Therefore, the study mainly aims to discuss the effect of additions on the existing spatial envelope. As consumer goods, display attitudes and marketing techniques change related to short-term trends, spatial changes become almost inevitable. Of course the space cannot be left untouched, but all the adaptation problems can be solved in a way that we can still read the overall spatial character. The heritage values of historic buildings and interiors need to be preserved but without ignoring all the technological advancements that help us to create a better environment. While creating re-use proposals for interiors, preserving historical values and creating effective retail spaces are not contradicting approaches. They are both to be maintained throughout design.

Keywords: Partial Reuse, Antique Spaces, Commercial Interiors

The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design, Volume 7, Issue 3, April 2014, pp.11-26. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 11, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.841MB)).

Prof. Nilufer Saglar Onay

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey

Nilüfer Saglar Onay is an assistant professor at Instanbul Technical University in the faculty of architecture, where she also received her B.Sc.(1999), M.Sc. (2001), and PhD(2010). She has been a visiting scholar at SUPSI, Switzerland, in 2008 and at UNIFI, Florence, in 2010 and 2011. She has contributed several architectural projects and restoration projects in Istanbul. Her main research areas are public interior spaces, spatial evaluation models and adaptive re-use. She speaks Turkish, English, and Italian.