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4 Old Buildings Transformed into Modern Edifices
September 9, 2021 at 6:30 PM
by Sidhanth Thomas

From the quintessential classic, Old Buildings, New Designs: Architectural Transformation, written by Charles Bloszie, we know that quite often, architects are hired to design new work for existing structures. Whether for reasons of preservation, sustainability, or cost-effectiveness, the movement to reuse buildings presents a variety of design challenges and opportunities. As structures age, receive new occupants and see a revolution in design styles around them, the need for them to be renovated and have life anew be breathed into them grows exponentially.

In this article, we’ll be looking at mesmerizing examples of structures built anew by architects from all over the world, keeping their emblematic soul intact while giving them a fresh face according to the wishes of their clients.

  1. Monastero Arx Vivendi Hotel

Originally a monastery in Arco, near lake Garda, this stunning but rustic complex was transformed into a hotel by the Italian Studio, Network of Architecture which was able to work closely with the Trento Office of Cultural Heritage to change up the interiors of half of the nearly 400-year-old structure. Adding in a wellness area complimented by multiple glazed spas, the retrofit wanted to keep as many endemic features unchanged as possible, to afford a level of originality to the sublime building.

Image Credits: Dezeen

"The majesty and rigor of the architecture, the long corridors, the vaulted ceilings, all of these features combine to give these spaces a real olde-worlde feel," - Francesco Padovan, Project Architect.

The project made sure to retain the local aesthetic by using wrought iron, stone, and wooden fittings in different rooms, being lit up by light fixtures as minimal as possible.

2. Apple Tower Theater

Built by the British firm, Foster + Partners, Apple Tower Theater is a new Apple store opened by renovating the historic movie theater in downtown Los Angeles. First designed by S Charles Lee in the mesmerizing baroque style, the iconic structure had been closed to the public in 1988, being abandoned ever since.

Image Credits: Dezeen

Inside, one can find a majestic grand entry hall complete with marble columns and a brilliant red carpet. The actual store is spread out across the building, with other arterial rooms such as the Forum, a massive retail space with most displays. The firm outdid itself by completing restoration work on the stained glass windows and a fresco of a cloudy blue sky, stretching across the space. Working with the technology company and the City of Los Angeles, Foster + Partners completed the wonderful project, most recently also renovating and converting the Palazzo Marignoli into an Apple store.

3. Hotel Dar-Es-Salam

Once a home built in the 1940s, now run as a stunning Art Deco hotel, this structure near Srinagar is an amalgamation of Kashmiri craftsmanship. All across the refurbished hotel, one can spot rooms replete with Persian carpets, ornate wood carvings on furniture, consoles, and woodblock ceilings.

Image credits: Ashish Sahi, Architectural Digest

The hotel, literally translating into “the abode of peace,” sums up its atmosphere and tenor quite well, A place to marvel for anyone with an eye for indigenous craftsmanship and local designs, the structure’s interior is ornate, and decorated. Built by Musadiq Hussain, the grandfather to the Hotel’s current owner, Dar-Es-Salam was created using local craftspeople and endemic materials, beautifully reflecting Kashmiri design with a lesson in Art Deco architecture.

4. Deeppura Garh

Originally built 200-years-ago, the birthplace of the last king of the region, this seemingly sprawling structure, brought to life once again by Maria Grazia Baldan and Belgian Architect, Phillipe de Villegas. Wooden beams, frescoes, and Rajput paintings cover the stunning palace in a meaningful calm, a testament to the local craftsmanship, as the Palace-converted-Hotel was crafted and retrofitted by over 160 artisans and local craftsmen, over 6 years.

Image Credits: Ashish Sahi, Architectural Digest

With verandas and beautiful suites, this property is now a treat to the eyes with local materials and visible craftsmanship stretching as far as the eye can see, complemented by stone arches and tall ceilings.