New? Who Knew?

The Louvre – Paris, France
We all know what building this is … The Louvre, in Paris. For those of us who have been there, we adore it, and for those of you who haven’t, you’re dying to go. Although I would love to chat about art and Paris – today I hit you with a little preservation theory. Extremely modern additions to historic buildings, specifically public buildings. 

Akademia Park Officium – Hungary
Some of these buildings may challenge your aesthetic. On the outset you may have preferred an addition or renovation that was in keeping with the building’s original character, but upon closer inspection you may begin to feel differently. Although often bold and extremely modern, these contemporary additions don’t feel as though they are stealing the limelight from the historic building. 
Space Asia Hub – Singapore
On the contrary, the contrast between the two structures often allows the original historic fabric to shine and feel even more special. Older public buildings tend to have an excess of architectural detail, and set against the backdrop of a glass and steel cube, those details really pop. 

Boston Public Library – Hyde Park Branch
Without delving too far into preservation theory on a Friday morning, these contemporary additions to historic buildings place huge emphasis on the idea that we should not falsify history. An addition such as the ones pictured here makes it very clear to the visitor/viewer which part of the building is old, and which part of the building is new; whereas in an addition which utilized classical building technique, the relative age of the two structures would not be apparent to the passerby. 

Morgan Library – NYC 
Typically more popular in Europe where historic architecture is plenty, and modern design aesthetic abounds, these projects are finally becoming more popular in the US, such as at the Morgan Library here in NYC. 

Morgan Library – NYC 
So for all of you out there who thought preservationists only cared about the old buildings themselves, its about how we move forward with the use of these historic buildings for the future that really counts. 

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  • Thanks for this one Olivia! And you might be surprised to learn I’m not such a hardliner on this anymore myself… Nate