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Refurbishment

DET_2013_4_Cover

Almost a quarter of a century has passed since I. M. Pei completed his impressive glass pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre. This structure has long since become a symbol of the museum’s complete reorganization as well as a landmark of Paris. The scheme was followed shortly afterwards by the creation of the transparent roofs over the Cour Marly and the Cour Puget; and ­only a few months ago, the Louvre gained a ­further built attraction with the new department for Islamic art, which fits equally confidently yet circumspectly into the existing fabric. Instead of converting the Cour Visconti into an internal space, however, this project by Mario Bellini and Rudy Ricciotti leaves the surrounding baroque ­facades of the courtyard untouched. The curved, translucent roof unfolds its special qualities above all internally, where it harmonizes with the exhibits.

Whereas one of the two new exhibition levels of this scheme in Paris is nevertheless above ground level, the entire extension of the Städel Museum in Frankfurt am Main by schneider + schumacher has been set below the ground, leaving the facades of the existing building ­virtually unaffected. Here, too, a ­spectacular and technically sophisticated curved roof plays a central role.

New building in existing fabric, however, more commonly involves tasks like the extension of mass housing or office developments dating from the first decades after the war to meet modern needs – technical, functional and aesthetic. A successful scheme of this kind is the rehabilitation of Park Hill Estate in Sheffield, where Hawkins\Brown Architects are collaborating with Studio Egret West to lend new qualities to that dilapi­dated and stigmatized large-scale housing complex without destroying its original character.

Other examples in this issue show old building fabric acquiring new uses; for example, a slaughterhouse being converted into a film centre and a factory hall into a creative playground for engineers. Building in existing substance – conversion, extension, refurbishment – proves to be a multifaceted and exciting task in which the ­optimization of the energy household plays a ­decisive role, but not the only one.

DETAIL 4/2013 - Refurbishment

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