As RECORD enters its 133rd year of publication, in a media landscape vastly changed even in just the last decade, and I take on the role of editor in chief, the opportunities to present and discuss architecture are boundless. With RECORD’s expanding platforms, we aim to be a vital resource for everyone in the profession, from leaders to those new to it.
For students of architecture, there are no limits to what you can design. Studio is an opportunity to stretch your imagination as far as it can go, where the suspension of disbelief allows us to imagine how both the discipline and the profession may go beyond their conventional limits. More often than not, projects are imagined from scratch, the site a blank canvas upon which to build whatever novel form you desire.
The impression from early on is that this kind of design is infinitely more satisfying than, say, intervening in an existing building. In my own experience practicing architecture, it was the years I spent on the restoration of an early Modern landmark—tracking masonry details, terra-cotta samples, and casement-window dimensions to closely approximate its original 1940 appearance—that perhaps drove me to seek an alternative career in journalism. But preservation can be much more than replicating the look of something old or updating building details to today’s standards. And the imperative to preserve old structures has only grown as we recognize the role the built environment plays in exacerbating the climate crisis.
In this our annual issue on Renovation, Restoration, and Adaptive Reuse, we investigate projects that take preservation to another level, literally. In San Francisco, Perkins&Will raises a vast pier structure, built to fabricate ship hulls during World War II, and now converted to retail, offices, and makerspaces, 10 feet off the ground to respond to sea-level-rise projections. In Sydney, 3XN adds several floors to an existing building and expands floor plates, transforming an outmoded tower into desirable office space that incorporates 65 percent of the original structure and offers spectacular views of the city’s harbor. Elsewhere, O’Neill McVoy Architects crafts a topographical playground inside a former power station for the new Bronx Children’s Museum, and KAAN Architecten adds a sharp contemporary touch to a classic Beaux-Arts museum building in Antwerp.
Preservation and history go hand in hand. As attitudes about preservation evolve, so too do thoughts about history. And while the architectural canon may change, the idea that students should be grounded in an awareness of the past needs to be reaffirmed.
The history of built works of architecture of course depends on the people who designed and documented them. In this issue, we pay tribute to several who died as the new year was beginning. One, Arata Isozaki, 91, was a Pritzker Prize–winning architect known throughout the world. Another, Renée Gailhoustet, 93, a pioneering female architect who built social housing, was little known outside of France but deserves recognition. We also remember photographer Cervin Robinson, 94, whose images brilliantly captured architecture’s historic legacy.
As we look at architecture through a new lens, RECORD shall continue being an advocate for the profession, a source of discovery and inspiration, a platform for debate, and a showcase for talents both well-known and little known. Plus, we want to provide a welcome break during those long hours in studio—for seasoned architects and students alike. The possibilities are infinite.
Editor in Chief