What is the Role of the Old?

April 30, 2014

A very small percentage of existing buildings are designated as having historical significance, limiting whether they can be demolished or how they can be added to or renovated. The vast majority of buildings are unprotected and it is for their owners and architects to decide how they should be treated.  With the cost of a new building often being less than renovating an existing one, why would an owner choose to renovate? 


Renovating is the original “green” strategy, conserving resources, namely the building’s embodied energy and materials.


Renovating also offers the owner and the architect the opportunity to evocatively blend the past and the present in a single composition. By combining old and new elements, often in interesting and expressive juxtapositions, one can create a building that has a greater visual richness, being neither historically moribund nor superficially contemporary.


The renovation of this rare nineteenth century stone barn highlights the massive stone walls and silo while removing the clutter of stalls and other 19th century modifications to create a dynamic, light-filled space suitable for Society meetings and programs and town functions.

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