Figural Identity in Adaptive Re-use: Preserved, New & Hybrid – pub. 2016
Marie S.A. Sorensen’s article, Figural Itentity in Adaptive Re-use: Preserved, New and Hybrid was published in Int|AR Journal – Interventions and Adaptive Reuse, Volume 07, Art in Context, by Rhode Island School of Design in 2016. The article is available on Academia.edu and Researchgate.net.
The preservation community is aghast at certain adaptive re-use projects that appear to mar historic structures of debatable ‘significance’ – but shouldn’t be. This analysis sets standards by which existing buildings altered in adaptive re-use can be classified as works of art. Detailed description of aesthetic quality in adaptive re-use projects diverging from a pure preservation approach creates a basis for judging and approving such non-standard development projects. The architects cited – Richard Meier and Herzog and de Meueron – are confirmed in critical discourse as avant-garde, and have been long discussed as ‘artists.’ By comparison, examples are given of artists enacting formal and informal artistic works on buildings and sites from the 1970s through present day. In all four projects discussed, the historic architectural vocabulary of the building or complex is not obscured in the renovation. Rather, the historic building is engaged in a formal dialogue with inserted new elements that rely on that building and its character for their voice.