Faced with the prospect of the gradual degradation of the buildings that are our architectural heritage, designers need to reconsider their focus on the heroic model of practice, with its emphasis on idiosyncratic form-making and new construction. Instead, they should look to “the creative possibilities of preservation,” says Françoise Bollack. Pursuing these possibilities while celebrating modernity and producing conceptually powerful work is the focus of her book Old Buildings, New Forms. In it, Bollack posits that, “an old building is not an obstacle but rather a foundation for continued action.” The author is a professor at Columbia University and a practicing architect specializing in historic preservation.
Her book groups 28 renovation projects into five types—insertions, parasites, wraps, juxtapositions, and weavings—based on their interactions with the parent structures. Each type is discussed in its historical context, and then the salient features of individual contemporary projects are presented. Some of the projects—David Chipperfield's Neues Museum in Berlin and Miralles-Tagliabue's Santa Caterina Market in Barcelona—will be familiar to readers of architectural record. But many others are modest in scale, done by lesser-known architects like Stefan Eberstadt/Urban Drift Productions and FNP Architeckten. All are emphatically modern.