5 Historic Architecture Preservation Methods

Any historic civilization’s life, culture, and heritage can be understood from the remnants of their architecture found today. The city planning and public space give an insight into the community, while the residential architecture reflects the everyday lives of the ancient people. 

Historic Architecture Preservation Methods
Historic Architecture Preservation Methods

It is imperative to preserve and maintain historic buildings with utmost care and respect. Giving the people of today a chance to see the architectural marvels of the past as they were, presents the opportunity to experience life in the past.

Benefits of Architecture Preservation

  1. Retention of the authenticity of the craftsmanship
  2. Increased market value and tourism 
  3. Existing usable space
  4. Reuse of infrastructure
  5. Energy saved 

4 Methods of Treatment and Examples

Promoting historic architecture through preservation can play a major role in the socio-economic status of a society. Some preservation projects that restored a disused historically significant building are: 

1. Preservation

It focuses on the maintenance, repair, and retention of a property’s form. It does not change the structural aspects or ornamentation of the original building, instead merely restoring them using new materials.

Royal Opera House, Mumbai, India

Preservation of Royal Opera House, Mumbai, India
Preservation of Royal Opera House, Mumbai, India

The Maharashtrian Government and conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah collaborated to restore the Royal Opera House in Mumbai.

  • A famous theatre house during the colonial era, the Royal Opera House now hosts music shows and stand-up comedy events.
  • A building with a Victorian setting and baroque features, it caters to the modern audience, after a six-year restoration project.

2. Rehabilitation

Changes and alterations are made to a building to make it evolve with the changing times. The facade, interior and even the structure is altered to make these upgrades, after which the building might even be put to a different use.

Bourse de Commerce, Paris, France  

Rehabilitation of Bourse de Commerce, Paris, France
Rehabilitation of Bourse de Commerce, Paris, France  

Tadao Ando took on the restoration project of converting an 18th Century stock exchange building in Paris into an art museum, in collaboration with other architecture firms.

  • The museum has a meditation room and a basement-level auditorium that has been integrated into the existing structural form.
  • The design utilizes murals and intricate carvings to adorn the underside of the skylight.

3. Restoration

Parts of a building that belong to a particular time are retained, and evidence of the other periods is removed.

Antwerp Port House, Antwerp, Belgium 

Restoration of Antwerp Port House, Antwerp, Belgium 
Restoration of Antwerp Port House, Antwerp, Belgium 

Restored by Zaha Hadid, the port house is now the second-largest shipping port in the Belgian region.

  • The structure was a fire station which became disused. The facade of the fire station was left untouched.
  • The renovation project proposed an extension, with a dynamic form and geometric volume.

4. Reconstruction

Lost or destroyed parts of a building are re-created to make a building whole. This enables designers to make use of present-day materials and techniques, giving it a modern touch.

Villa Heike, Berlin, Germany

Reconstruction of Villa Heike, Berlin, Germany
Reconstruction of Villa Heike, Berlin, Germany

Ville Heike was built as a factory in Berlin in 1910, by architect R.Lotts for Richard Heike.

  • At the time of construction, the building was extremely modern with a concrete skeleton and a multifunctional spatial arrangement.
  • It was used as a German security service during the Cold War and was abandoned in 1990. Parts of the building were damaged due to the war.
  • In 2019, architect Christopher Schubert reconstructed the building, and the space is now used to showcase artists’ works, in an office.

Historic architecture preservation can be done to any building from any era. Ultimately, the restoration and preservation work brings the structure and its importance to the limelight, and can even give it a new meaning and purpose.

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