Traditionally, architecture is not only about the production of new buildings, but also about the adaptation of existing ones. Consulting the history of architecture teaches us that there are countless fantastic examples of buildings that have been radically transformed over time, for example Roman theatres and stadiums that were transformed into squares and residential complexes or, more recently, industrial or religious heritage that acquired a new, residential destination. The transformation of buildings originally designed for habitation is a very special task.
The ten projects documented in this DASH show that the transformation of dwellings into dwellings is a topical phenomenon, but not a new
one. Against the background of a wide range of projects from different periods that involve different forms of habitation, this issue presents
a rich variety of design options and solutions. The projects are arranged by the years of their documented transformations.
Diocletian’s Palace in Split (KR) shows how even after 15 centuries of transformation, the fragmented structure of an ancient dwelling for one man and his court continues to play a symbiotic part in the daily life of a contemporary city.
The Proveniershof in Haarlem (NL) shows how smart conversions and internal transformations allowed a secluded, century-old courtyard building to adapt to the requirements of the different periods.
Due to changing economic conditions, the transformation of the Melbourne House in London (GB) into the exclusive Albany led to surprising new forms of habitation; the personality of the original building continues to be important to the many new residents as well.
That the transformation of existing buildings can also serve an urban purpose by maintaining the character of the public space is shown by the Corso XXII Marzo project in Milan (IT). Here, behind remnants of existing nineteenth-century façades, the most radical transformation in this issue of DASH was carried out. Adding an extra floor behind existing façade openings created unconventional and spatial interiors.
The transformation of the Minor Seminary Hageveld in Heemstede (NL) illustrates how the preservation of both the large scale and the distinguished appearance of this early twentiethcentury collective residential and educational building in a park-like setting ensured its appeal to the individual residents of luxurious apartments that were realized here after the transformation.
Conversely, the inner-city project Een Blok Stad in Rotterdam (NL), which apparently had no distinctive qualities left at all, shows how an approach that involves different architects highlights the potential of mixing the old with the new.
The incremental transformation of inner cities at the level of the individual dwelling is illustrated by Herengracht 249 in Amsterdam (NL). The dwelling is exemplary for the way history, heritage and innovation continue to go hand in hand.
The recent renovation of the Justus van Effen Complex in Rotterdam proves that the transformation of heritage can also involve a subtle combination of restoration and redesign.
The projects Panelák in Rimavská Sobota (SL) and Klarenstraat in Amsterdam (NL), finally, each in their own way convincingly show how the transformation of post-war housing can almost seamlessly introduce new qualities and target groups into an existing urban context.
The projects in this DASH have been redrawn in their situation before and after transformation, with new additions drawn in brown over the black lines of the preserved building parts. The illustrations also show both the old and the recent situation. Where taking new photographs was not allowed, we used existing photos by the architect or a selling party. For helping us obtain information we would like to thank the following people: Dr Katja Marasovic´,Noord-Hollands Archief, housing association Ymere, Archivio Storico Civico di Milano, Mr Gianni Celada, architecture office Kbng, architecture and design practice Studio Shift, Hebly Theunissen Architecten, Emma Architecten, gutgut architects and the municipal archives of Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
Ana Luisa da Fonseca, Axel Beem, Davida Rauch & Carlyn Simoen