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ArgumentNo. 2/2010

New interventions in the existing build environment


I propose here a different approach to new interventions in the existing built environment, area of current architectural practice that was and is always in focus. They talk about architecture revived, or re-architecture, or new-into-old, different names given to the same phenomenon. I say that all these approaches have something in common – they are conducted in accordance with the same process. I think this process, with its stages that I tried to detail here further - the recognition, recovery and revitalization of existing values - is the same, irrespective of the existing building, the extent of it, the reasons for intervention, the values identified and recognized in it, the methods used, the concepts and theories that are based on, the architect's personality and goals pursued by him to the final result.

The needs of the moment when the process starts require almost without exception (except for proper restoration) new architectural elements that overlap or join the existing ones. The result of such interventions is always something different, an original work which is not the sum of old and new.

Therefore, as the conceptual and practical intervention is common to all situations, so the final result can be judged - that is received, analyzed, assessed - based on a similar scheme involving three components: the existing old - how it has been processed, the importance given to it, the position gained; the new creation - the way of insertion into the existing, the attitude towards it, the position as a result; the overall result - old-new relationship, the dominant / subordinate elements, contrast, dialogue.