Reflecting on Heritage


Linda de Groot, Yves Heddema, Stefanie Li, Enrico Mancadori, Erwin Muhlstaff, Sophie Peters, Anwar Bahir Saifullah, Martha Seitanidou, Olga Pershina


Seminar, February - April, 2018, Tutor: Dhr. M. W. Musch


We all know an old building in our neighbourhood. One that has been decaying for some time and desperately needs attention. Now imagine an architect’s view of this building, when it was built there was put a lot of care and thought in it. This can not be lost, not under your watch. However the building is no longer fit to work or live in, not in its state of decay, but also not in the changed world, higher isolation demands, desired integrated technology, changed environment and so on.


How to deal with this dilemma, the problem of heritage in architecture? This is the question which forms the core of the seminar “Reflecting on heritage”. In order to gain an insight in the possible answers to this question we have analysed renovation projects by known architects. To get an image of the possible “right” and “wrong” in renovation a number of texts are read. These texts include the words of Violet le Duc, John Ruskin, Alois Riegl, Camillo Boito and Françoise Chaoy.


The analysis consist of a brief contextual analysis, to get an insight in the social, economical and political backgrounds of the projects. This analysis is complemented by a morphological change of the building, containing the main elements of the intervention. The purpose of the intervention will be explained in the architect’s intention. At the end the project will be summarized and linked to historical texts on renovation architecture.


In dialogue with the past


Neues Museum Berlin

By Sophie Peters


One of the notable aspects of the Neues Museum is that the building has lived through different stages, all with their own glory. Before the ill-fated bombing, the building was an impressive and pompous symbol of progressiveness and pride for knowledge and art. After the bombing, the Neues Museum had been left untouched in a damaged condition for decades. While being unprotected from the elements, the building matured as a ruin. This state showed a completely different symbolic: the power and destructiveness of war and the beauty of nature swallowing weak and injured elements. According to Ruskin, there are qualities in destructed ruins since the buildings stay true to themselves and their destiny. Ruskin advocated for preservation without restoration, with only adding the bare minimum of support to prevent the building from collapsing and to preserve it. Therefore, according to Ruskin, the Neues Museum had been in a perfect condition before the intervention. With the completion of the volume, Chipperfield introduced the building to a new stage. This intervention created a new wholeness using modern techniques and materials, which is a more preferable option for restoration according to Violet-le-Duc.

Duplicate image architecture


FRAC Museum - Dunkerque-France

By Erwin Muhlstaff


The architect treated the existing shipyard with respect, this is for the most obvious choices, since there are no permanently visible traces of the added building. Something is added in a way, that the original building remains in its original state and is not touched. A copy is made of a mirror image of the original shape. There is something added that also can be remove later again. The new roof construction has been laid on the original concrete structure. In the new part, there is a concrete center core, that is separate from the facades. In other words the same core could also fit in its original building without this affecting the character of the building. There is no difference from both inside or outside and it will still be possible, to view the inside and roof construction of multiple eye points. This made it possible for these details to remain visible. The visitors can still experience, the same original appearance from 1955.


The color diagram shows that three steps which been taken to redevelopment the shipyard. The part that was built in 1949 had as purpose, a workplace and storage. The new part is a copy of the original dimensions, that was designed in 2011 and completed in 2013. The third part is the pedestrians walk bridge.

Art and Architecture emsenbling the fragments


Fondazione Prada

By Martha Seitanidou


The project cannot be characterized as preservation or new architecture. These two conditions that are usually separated are in a state of permanent interaction. The result is an ensemble of fragments that comprise the image of the complex. The variation of proportions and volumes creates an instability which causes a tension inside the complex.  


What is more, the project has connotations with modern art and fashion. The choice to cover an existing building with gold leaf and can be seen as a reference to the relation to the superficial character of fashion. There is an analogy between the way cloths dress human body and the way the new material covers the existing building. 


Another factor in the analysis of this project is the investigation on the connection between the literature of restoration and the intervention in Fondazione Prada. According to Boito, after the restoration of the building there should be a visible distinction between the old and new part. The reason is that the observer should not be deceived. In the case of Fondazione Prada the newly added buildings are easily recognizable. The golden tower however misleads since it is not a completely new construction but an old building with a new thin external layer. 

The discrete charm of five buildings' industrial profiles


Newport Street Gallery

By Enrico Mancadori


The project cannot be qualified just as a renovation of a listed building. Not even as a conversion, as a matter of fact the addition of two new buildings on the side of the project puts in the centre of attention the dialogue between the old and the new. The new buildings are trying to cope with the old warehouses’ materiality of brick masonry, which simple appearance makes the exploited London attitude of creating a street profile only with the presence of simple shapes on the external façade. 


The distinctive façade in brick has a design which is about adding a special character able to stimulate the curiosity even from the railway line. From the street therefore the series of these five buildings is jointed together by the forthright brick treatment which also expresses the individuality of each façade. The usage of familiar industrial elements is evident in the “saw-tooth” roof of the entrance building, in the sky windows with steel frames, in the use of burgundy bricks which recall expressively the backstage of the city of London.


The big spaces of the previous workshops are now separated by the creation of new floors, which make the feeling of each exposition space more liveable and detached from the rest. The internal space is pure in its white surface able to create a serene sequence of gallery gently connected staircases and bridge-like pathways. The simple circulation creates a logical route that connects the different levels, generating a continuous feeling of discovery and curiosity developed with the fine level of playfulness of the different spaces. 

The new layer of completeness


Thalia Theater

By Anwar Bahir Saifullah


“The new construction would preserve the existing, but we thought it would be senseless to mimic the original materials. We used a deactivated concrete that would provide the strength we needed and has a tactile quality, but would not appear too new.” - Barbas Lopes


The architect’s concept of the restoration is to express a clear relationship between the new and old part of Teatro Thalia. The ruins of the old building’s wall are seen as an autonomous entity that separated with the new terracotta concrete structure which is preserved and protected it from the outside. 


“The lower wing was about the urban condition,”


“We wanted the glazing to be reflective, acting like a chameleon and drawing the context on to the facade.” - Barbas Lopes


The new wing building, with its glass facade, is intended to establish a relationship between the building and the surrounding. The one way mirror glass allow people inside the building see what happens on the street, while the glass facade mirrors the activities of Laranjeiras road. 

Carved out, lifted and filled


CaixaForum Madrid

By Yves Heddema


The project embraces the industrial history and showcases it in a manner perfectly suited for the cultural quarters. The finished building raises questions of identity, unity and contradiction and structural possibilities. This invites not only art-lovers to the building and the area, but all inhabitants of Madrid.


The first two aspects have been explained in the project description and the context. The latter however is an issue that originated when the architect tried to create a covered public space by lifting the building. The building only seems to rest on three points. These three points carry the weight of the four floors above, the existing brick façade and the new metal façade. This could be done because the architect had to design a completely new structure for the building, since the existing one was demolished. 


Another aspect contributing to this issue is the way the existing brick façade is carried. This construction seems very slim from the outside and is covered by a metal plate from the “inside”. Because the construction is that slim the old façade seems to float where it was once carried by a stone wall.

Old building for new art & new building for old documents


Cultural Centre & Municipal archive in Toledo 

by Olga Pershina


The transformation that affects the old church of St. Mark in Toledo restores an urban balance through the attainment of a new architectural unity. Intervention express close look at the place, its earlier existences and its memory. Noticeable to mention, that in the new building of archive architect implemented a patio, which is typical fo historical part of the city, where complex is located. The volumetric rhythm of the buildings supports an existing relief and structure of the city.


Architect makes an effort to merge old and new buildings. Elements of  Archive embraces the elevations of the Cultural Center. Entrances to the buildings located next to each other and designed in the same way.  


Materials, used for the new building provides a difference of style between the new and the old buildings. The architect uses elements of thick steel sheets, wood, toned concrete, pigmentation of the cement derived from the traditional block material of the existing building.

Distinguishing Architectural Tectonics of Different Periods


Museo di Castelvecchio 

by Stefani Li


Museo di Castelvecchio is a site where architecture from multiple historical periods meet.  The building itself is an exhibit of the history of Verona. Rather than a complete restoration, the interventions are alterations and additions to Avena's version in 1926.  The main interventions were executed on the Napoleon wing which sits on eastern side of the complex. Smaller interventions were made on the interior of the complex.


Step 1: Removal of Napoleon stairs and the north-western end of the Napoleon wing attached to it

Step 2: Cutting out battlements on either end of the northern wall of the Napoleon wing

Step 3: Excavating the Scaligeri moats and redesigning the garden

Step 4: Reconstructing the north western end and creating bridge to connect first floor of Napoleon wing to the Reggia residence through the tower