Abstract Embracing time in architecture meansembracing change. Every building on this planet, even the ones that have lastedover the centuries and decades, the ones that have been affected by unavoidabledecay of the materials and everyday use, and the ones that have outlived theirusefulness, are not fixed. They are not just objects that wererooted to a single moment in time, they are bound to change – they are mutable.
Many buildings have more than onebeginning and not necessarily a single or even definitive end. Our history forms basis for the future generation.Architecturally traditional spaces are still striving due to the successful,continuous pressure of integrity of the old, while using contemporary designswithin. There are no reason why new meanings cannot become integrated into newforms that merge into a shifting urban space. Introduction “I recognize a shape, a space, an organization becauseI’ve seen it before.
It’s in my repertoire, my history or part of a collectiverecollection. Alternately, a space or shape is unrecognizable. I haven’t seenit.
It’s new to me. It’s outside the collective memory. A dialect existsbetween what is previously recognized, and the intention to redefine theboundaries of the recognizable. In other words, how does what is not yethistory become history or how is not yet history become history or how is theconception of form re-formed? “(E.
O. Moss ‘Buildings and Projects 3’, Rizzoli,New York 2002, p.11) In the wonderfullyrule-free world of interior design and architecture, where designers andarchitects strive to transition any boundaries and create original and uniquespaces, where concept holds a valuable place, spaces are redesigned with newforms, masking what was and giving them a brand new purpose. Historical settingsconnect us directly with time and the past: the layering of styles and thejuxtaposition of different uses and activities – commonplace and ceremonial,utilitarian and symbolic – place us comfortably in the continuum of livesthrough centuries. Signs and traces of age,use and wear strengthen this experience; an ancient paved street, polished to aclear shine by centuries of walking; stone steps carved by millions of feet; ora patented bronze door pull, polished by thousands of hands, turning it into awarm gesture of welcome.
Thearchitecture of our time creates settings for the eye that seem to originate ina single moment and give rise to an experience of temporality and leaving theroot of it far behind. Forgetting about the true beauty these walls and ceilingbehold. Some may say old buildings are a burden to our beautiful mother Earth.On the contrary, buildings have moods and personalities, they play importantsocial roles in their surroundings, which all can be altered and adaptedthrough time to its new purpose, but the value it holds may never be forgotten.We tend to desire experiences that mark and measure the course of time andconvince us of its availability. Old or historic buildingsare not obstacles, they are foundation for the continuous action, they are ahead start to the future’s architectural generation, that can be turned andtransformed into creative possibilities of preservation.
In the variety ofmaterials and forms, there exists freedom in which things get to discover theirown identity and purpose. Through this writtenthesis I will intend to explore possible reconfigurations of history’sartifacts, leading themselves to a dialogue between the past and present asapplied to conceptual palimpsest. I will explore how designs can me manifestedthrough juxtaposed simplistic forms and elaborated by detail drenched withmeaning. I will be comparing and emphasizing the aspects that can add dynamicsto a space through the analysis of chosen case studies: Carlo Scarpa,Castelvecchio, Verona; What is juxtaposition? The definition of the word juxtaposition is simply twothings being placed together in order to achieve a contrasting effect,specifically in ways that make each stand out more. We can juxtapose almosteverything: art, film, photography but most importantly architecture, and thisis going to be my main focus for the project. In architecture,juxtaposition means combining elements that naturally would never occur inorder to create a strong visual impact to the surrounding area and public eye. Juxtapositioncan be used in many different ways; it can be used to mix conflicting designsin the same room or space, or on a much bigger scale to respectfully modernizea historic building, without losing its true value.
In my opinionjuxtaposition in architecture is a more successful way of designing complexspaces that use form and contradiction. There are many ways to createjuxtaposition in architecture, but most of them rely on simultaneousmanipulation of different elements such as materials, textures, shapes andforms all depending on what kind of result are you trying to achieve. Juxtaposition inliterature is purely a device used by writers to help them portray theircharacters or subjects they choose to talk about in great detail to createsuspense and achieve a rhetorical effect. As human-beings, we comprehend onething easier by comparing it to the other. The comparison drawn adds more colour and vividness, controlling thepace of the writing, providing a logical connection between the two. Juxtaposition insists onautonomy.1 Case Study ICarlo Scarpa, Castelvecchio, Italy “Anything and everything is available for conversion – there is nobuilding that is priori unfit for conversion. The future in planning anddesigning lies above all in the area of the existing mass product.
” (GraemeBrooker and Sally Stone, Readings Interior Architecture and Principles ofRemodeling existing buildings, London, RIBA Enterprise, 2004, p. 102) Carlo Scarpa is an Italianarchitect, designer and sculptor (1906-19780) who had a vision of a deliberate juxtapositionof the past set against the backdrop of the present. He understands thatthe past is still not dead and in fact, we must engage and intertwine with itmore in this present day. Castelvecchio is amedieval fortress. One of the most interesting museums in Europe, known notjust for interesting exhibitions, but also for the historical and architecturalvalue of the building. In 1957 Carlo Scarpa started the great renovation that lateron attracted people from all around the world. Students travel thousands ofmiles from across the world to analyze and study this beautiful masterpiece,and learn about architectural solutions applied by Carlo Scarpa.
‘The architect usesmethods of juxtaposition and interpretation to regulate interior-exteriorrelationships and to articulate transitions as inside-outside, man-nature,private-public, element-context.’ 2He also mixes traditionalmaterials and forms with contemporary ones.Scarpa’s work was influenced by FrankLloyd Wright and the traditional Japan’s architecture, however his forms owedmuch to the abstraction of contemporary art and the artisan techniques ofcraftsmen with whom he’s done a collaboration.The Castelvecchio project went farbeyond the norm for the period. Carlo Scarpa refused to have any limitations tothe certain point.
His idea was to expose the historical strata of the complex,to show different stages and periods of the buildings, as well as structural alterations.’Scarpa was more interested in historical transparency than in the theory ofrestoration;’ 3 Thevariety and richness in the design that he created was significant, however therefurbishment of the existing structure placed restrains on his inventive andingenious imagination. As a consequence, this is where Scarpa turned hisimagination towards a playful, yet creative juxtaposition of old and new; ofwhat was and what’s there yet to be. He created an architectural language,instead of pursuing the exoticism of his preferred forms, he revealed both: theprocess of construction and the historical layering of the original structure. Scarpa developed his own technique ofdisplaying furniture, plinths and other objects, by taking notice of wall openings,old and new surfaces and reconstructed areas, and related it all to theexisting context of the museum. He also introduced a vocabulary,which was reused in series of intervention across the great fortress ofCastelvecchio in Verona, between 1957 and 1974. One of Carlos Scarpa’s methodswas to reveal the acquisition of materials, by revealing the layers of the pastand making it conceptually present.
In a larger order of architecturaland urban expression, The Castelvecchio fortress, now a museum, with Scarpa’sinnovative ideas attempts nothing less than the revelation of a structure of ahistoric phenomenon – peeling back the onion-skin like layers one by one. Inthis way, he reveals the inherent discontinuity of time of Verona’s past.Carlos Scarpa uses juxtaposition toset up dialectical relationships between distinct and evidently unassociatedelements as seen previously in his work. Each and every element in his projectis outbalanced by the presence of something that contradicts it in everypossible way. With confidence and assertive gesture, he reveals and unveilscontext of the exquisite historical fragments without denying the contemporaryones. Scarpa re-establishes value andimportance of historical continuity and he shows that it is inevitable for thepast itself to play a fundamental role in todays’ architecture, since theartifacts aimed at the future had been proven to be unsuccessful.
Carlos Scarpahad a precious skill in articulation of detail. His work stands out for beingexpressionate of its elements, commanding visitors’ of the museum attention. Scarpaprovides a specific method of rearticulating the existing space to provide acritical route for the visitors. The arrangement and grouping of exhibits andlighting assert this path. Moreover, he allowed the components of the originalbuilding to activate the sequence of spaces. Carlo Scarpa’s idea was to createnew forms in a way that brought attention to the existing structure, withoutimpinging on its historic and artistic value. His desire was for the oldfragment to maintain its own identity and its own history – in this way tensionbetween the new and old is increased. Scarpas’ aim for this project was to create amemorable experience from the juxtaposition of past and present, without resortto historicism, while respecting the legacy and integrity of the building,other spaces as well as the objects that were being exhibited for many years.
Hebalances three approaches in re-designing the Castelvecchio: his interpretationof the history of the castle, highlighting the architectural value of its originalcomponents, and satisfying the new requirements of the museum.Castelvecchio is the greatest exampleof how Scarpa’s architecture is purely based on juxtaposition. Scarpa hasproven many times, that such an intervention of abandoned form is not only worthybut also attainable and this entices me to elaborate more on another not onlyinteresting but very relevant topic: adaptive reuse. Case StudyIIDavindChipperfield, Neues Museum, Berlin “We shape our buildings; thereafter, our buildingsshape us.
” (WinstonChurchill) The astonishing Neues Museum wasbuilt in 1843 and 1855, was closed at the beginning of World War II in 1939 andwas terribly damaged during the bombing of Berlin. Neues Museum was designed bythe famous English architect David Chipperfield, who have gone way beyondanyone’s’ expectations. This museum plays a very important role in the historyof construction and technology including great iron structures. It is one ofthe very first museum when in the process of construction steam engine wasused.
The museum was the first three – storey museum ever built. The Neues Museum is the last existingexample of interior layout of this period in Germany. Utterly ‘incriminating’ project,powerfully controlled, entirely jaw-dropping, incorporating the most staggeringand moving project ever – the Neues Museum is a great example of distinctionbetween old and new, where the two have merged together in a rather dominantand vibrant manner. David Chipperfield gives context and meaning to everylittle fragment of the museum.
The biggest issue the architect had to face waswhat would such combination of historicism and contemporary mean to the publicand how will it be perceived. The Neues Museum was a case of a compromise betweenhistoric and contemporary. Many parts of the museum were significantlydamaged: intricate plaster, distressed but recognizable classical columns,fresco and other decorations that simply could not be replicated. Some parts ofthe museum have suffered more than the others – where they had to be completelyreconstructed – the central stairwell, which was the heart of building, also knownas the ‘Egyptian Courtyard’, got completely ruined after the attack, howevernot everything got completely destroyed.
1850’s was known for its’ over the tophigh colour interiors. Moreover, after the bombing and the erosion over theyears caused by climate changes, these colours in the Neues Museum have neverlooked truer than today. Essentially they’ve become rather more acceptable tocontemporary.After the bombing, the mostrichly-decorated spaces in the museum have been completely destroyed, leavingraw surfaces of brickwork and other materials left unadorned. David Chipperfield, through thisproject re-established form and figure, only by using plainer forms juxtaposingthem to the existing ones. He refurbishes space by space, room by room andsurface by surface accordingly to the different conditions and damages it wasaffected by. Chipperfield had to think carefully and make drastic decisionswhen and where the new work/design should announce its newest and when to mergehistory with presents and future.
In certain areas, where exhibits are placedand play the most important part, and are the center of the attention, thebackdrop – architecture – becomes less dominant. Today, all these disfigurements whichwere left behind World War II, have turned into perfectly harmoniousarchitecture with the great help of David Chipperfiel. His aim was to maintainthe spirit of the museum’s ruins. The restoration of the museum was driven bythe idea of existing spatial context and materiality being emphasized, wherethe contemporary reflects the lost, without imitating it. Greatest example is as mentioned previously’the heart of the building’ – the stairwell, was formed using the same concreteelements, repeating the original idea, without replicating it now sitsbeautifully within the majestic hall. The whole process can be described asmultidisciplinary cooperation between repairing, converting, restoring andrecreating all of its elements.
To preserve the character of decay in suchfixed environment that museum was demanding, was almost seemingly absurd. Thereare many rooms in the museum where you canunashamedly notice the raw brickwork that was only covered with a very thinkskin – like layer of slurry, harmonizing the colour palette of the differentmaterials. Every gap in the building was filled in without interfering orcompeting with the existing structure in terms of brightness, lighting and thedifferent surfaces. Against the rawstructures, now sit new architectural interventions: stairways, pillars,railings and the list goes on. There is a clear juxtaposition, bold and cold,with no historical reference to the original building. The incorporation ofnearly all available damaged material, with the simple addition of contemporaryelements – a single continuous structure became the preferred path ofChipperfield’s concept.
These interventions sit beautifully within the space,almost making you wonder what was there before and making question as youtransition from one space to another. Chipperfield’s work here in the NeuesMuseum has a significant emotional impact –allowing the building express itstruest colours of the worst times in its history, revealing vulnerability andsusceptibility, thus the museum still standing tall, proud and stature – acknowledgingthe past and only looking forward. The Neues Museum had gained morearchitectural value and potential to it after being bombed by the allies, thanfirstly being built in 1843. Museum’s history is revealed through severaldifferent layers of its own, where ‘parts have been repaired, others replacedwith copies, and new ones invented, always remaining faithful to the aestheticunity of the building.’ 4 David Chipperfieldexquisitely exposes factors by which the museum was affected throughoutcenturies: the subsequent usage, bombing, erosion and decay and celebrates itwith its brand new revival. Through this project he reveals the beauty andfluidity of the damaged Neues Museum.
David Chipperfield perfectly mastersthe layering of both the past and the contemporary, that makes all the visitorsaware of its history, and that first of all, it is always a reinterpretationthrough contemporary eyes, inflicted by current agendas. The traces of the pastand new elements that have been merged within, are constant reminders, thatbringing the past closer, makes the visitors of the museum become the activeparticipants. In the Neues Museum history has never been stilled or buried,it’s been revived and now is more alive than ever. Case StudyIIII.M. Pei’sGrand Louvre, Paris The site of the Louvre was a dungeon andfortress, which was later on transformed into a palace. In 1793, Louis XVIturned Louvre into a museum.
In 1981, after the election of thenew French president, F. Mitterand, he launched a campaign to renovate all thecultural institutions in France and one of the most important and biggestprojects was the renovation of the Grand Louvre. The great honor went toChinese American Architect I. M. Pei.
The aim for the project was to alleviatethe congestion of the daily visitors, and increase museum’s capacity. Architectproposed something that was very unusual and rare for that time – a glasspyramid made of hundreds of individual panels. Yet again, we have one of thegreatest examples of juxtaposition – clear distinct between historical andcontemporary. Due to enormous amounts of visitors,the museum started to face a series of problems. The capacity of the entrancesto the museum could not keep up with the numbers of the visitors on everydaybasis, requiring a brand new grand entrance to the museum. The pyramid itselfsuggests a futuristic character.
Transparency of the glass panels allowsnatural lighting, through the panels directly into the lobby. At first, manypeople felt like I.M. Pei’s design would be misunderstood by the visitors andwould clash with the original French Renaissance architecture. The critics havereferred to it as an ‘alien’ form. However, as the years went by, Pei’s designhad modernized and eventually became a big part of Paris.
The convenience of the main entranceprovides not only that, but also separates central lobby space from thegalleries. Architects’ design also features a brand new underground system forthe museum and the galleries that has storage, preservation laboratories and alsois a connecting threshold between the wings of the museum. Moreover, Pei notonly juxtaposes the exterior of the pyramid but also the interior, and forms heproduces within the lobby area.
As you enter the pyramid there are two differenttypes of stair: left one – swirly, shaped in a very flowy form, and the rightone straight and heavy looking. This project had allowed the museumexpand on its exhibitions and bring new collections to the visitors from allaround the world. For the architect, this wasn’t just another project, thus thepyramid had a symbolic, historical and figural meaning and to him.The reason for chosen materials wasthat, the architect wanted the pyramid to blend within its surroundings andbecome part of it. The glass itself was clear, so when you looked through it,the glass wouldn’t alter the viewers’ perceptions of the outside or theexisting building.The glass pyramid is a structurallystable form, constructed from a steel frame and glass panels it represents abreakthrough in the architectural traditions, looking towards the future. The large scale of Grand Louvre, andthe juxtaposition of it historical nature, the French Renaissance architecture,in the comparison to the modern structure, creates a respectful andcomplimentary effect, enhancing the beauty of historic and modern.
This kind ofarchitecture is the entire opposite to the one already existing, it stands out andto some seem distant, unapproachable and remote. The pyramid is made of glass panelsin the shape of diamonds and triangles. The geometrical forms used by thearchitect, create an appearance of cut jewels. ‘It is a kind of architecturethat exists on a different plane entirely from the varied and complex wings ofthe Louvre that would surround it, and it stands aloof from these buildings.’ 5 France is one of the architecturallyrichest countries in the world. Having to design a contemporary structure in acontextually rich environment, that would strive is challenging, but I. M.
Peihad achieved great success through this project. He has made a clear point that’modern architecture had nothing to offer to the architecture of the past – thatis has no desire to engage itself in a dialogue with the architecture ofdifferent times.’ 6 Havingto blend two different architectures is a big challenge to any architect.
Thereare many factors and elements that must be considered before taking any actions;cultural, personal, and ceremonial, and that’s only very few important ones.