The Design of new buildings in historical urban context: formal interpretation as a way of transforming architectural elements of the past

Bekar, Elif
The idea of new architecture in old settings is based on the concept of continuity in history. Ensuring this continuity and creating appropriate coexistence of old and new buildings are difficult tasks because of the changes that have taken place in architectural attitudes, building materials, and construction techniques. After briefly exploring different approaches developed to fulfil this challenging task and their applications, this thesis focuses on buildings that are designed by interpreting the existing heritage in different proximities to the building site. The study argues that the interpretation of the historical built environment and the use of these interpretations in the design of the new building in abstracted or transformed forms in the scale of architectural element (like wall, window and tower) can be the method of creating association with the related historical context. In this way, the architect is expected to design the new with reference to the historical buildings and their architectural properties, like style, material and construction technique. To exemplify this method and its principles, buildings of Zumthor (Kolumba Museum), Böhm (Town Hall), Siza (Blocks of Flats), Moneo (City Hall Extension) and Piano (Centre Culturel Jean Marie Tjibaou) are chosen as cases. The formal relationships of the buildings with their historical urban context are examined. The sources of inspiration of new buildings and the features of the historical buildings in the context that are adopted by the architects of the new buildings are detected. Architect‟s interpretation degree of these features and their conformity with the historical buildings according to volumetric formation and façade configuration are also evaluated. At the end of the study, it is seen that the results of these evaluations overlap with the main idea of the thesis. Beyond mere imitation or ignorance of the historical buildings in the vi context, seeing them as a tool and starting point in design allows the creation of unique and compatible solutions and site specific designs.


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Citation Formats
E. Bekar, “The Design of new buildings in historical urban context: formal interpretation as a way of transforming architectural elements of the past,” M.Arch. - Master of Architecture, Middle East Technical University, 2018.