Reuse in architecture: materials, spaces, ideas
A common practice for ages, yet mostly disregarded during Modernism, re-use of materials, building parts and spaces is staging a come-back. The reasons for a renewed interest in the already existing lie not only in the growing awareness of the scarcity of resources and environmental impact of construction, but also in the desire to avoid unnecessary demolition and the resulting erasure of cultural past. Moreover, because technologically over-determined architecture has an ever shorter life cycle, we have become more conscious of the need to explore ways in which new technologies could be used so as to allow greater flexibility and adaptive use in the future.
In this talk, we will look at a variety of ways in which building parts (spolia) have been reused throughout history, be it for economic, political or cultural reasons. We will also discuss historical and contemporary architecture in terms of its evolving uses and changing functions, and look at multiple types of adaptive reuse, including those showing environmental advantage compared with the construction of new “green” buildings. While our examples come from all over the world, we will focus on Basel, its historical and contemporary building culture, and research on the re-use currently done in Switzerland.
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