PREFACE by Lukasz Zagala
Why is there so much interest in traces of the past instead of Excitement in modern glassy buildings?
It is possible that increased use of technology in everyday life and newfound dependence on virtual systems such as virtual money, mobile phones, and the Internet evoke a nostalgia for objects and space of past times. Old warehouse walls, mysterious empty turbine halls, and simple old mechanisms and tools are more aesthetically appealing to many than the shiny high-tech glass facade of the present. For architects and
some developers, it is often far more interesting to transform old abandoned objects and buildings into new space, rather than to build on an empty plot.
Of course the post-industrial remains evoke different emotions. Mostly they were not created to possess the values of beauty but still they seem inspiring to many of us.
'The beauty created by an engineer arises from the fact that he is not conscious about its creation." 1
Others have a different reaction to these spaces.
"Only people who do not know the steam and sweat of a real factory can find industrial space romantic or interesting. "2
The collapse of the industry era in the second half of the 20th century created unexpectedly post-industrial zones and buildings. Closed factories and coal¡ mines were no longer the generators of the social and urban order and this shift broke the continuum of the city tissue. Areas and structures were created that need rehabitation or demolition in order to be used in new ways.Chimneys and halls became dead landmarks telling the story of a former prosperity and past necessities.
A completely new architectural and urban approach was required.
There was a lack of one strong architectural movement and a coexistence of many directions in architecture
and design. Architecture did not follow a black and white design methodology and system of values. Designs that reuse the richness of symbols and metaphors of the past became extremely common. Although the movement was launched in the fifties by artists in
looking for cheap studios in which to work and live,
revitalized post-industrial architecture has been
transformed intoa style embraced by the bourgeois. Soho in New York and other loft districts in European capitals
consist of dozens of museums converted from old steel worksand warehouses, but these types of
neighbourhoods are still only a small percentage of the entire
urban landscape. However, this type of loft landscape
is no win the spotlight for architects, planners, designers,
and the media, and this focus impacts contemporary
spatial thinking. The environmental esthetic is
starting to impact the industrial esthetic of the modern city,
enlarging and changing its hierarchy of values,
particularly the comprehension of beauty in architecture. New York
When we observe contemporary adaptations or reuse of the former building tissue they all appear to follow the following rules:
- the preeminent value of the old remains its authentic, rather than its historic, symbolic, emotional, utilitarian, or economic value
- the beauty of the old buildings lies in their originali0 and authenticity and this esthetic value is dependent on the place of the viewer in relation to the piece of architecture
- the industrial symbolism of the piece of architecture is preserved
- the new architectural elements do not follow the industrial elements from a formal standpoint, but instead fill the new needs and gaps in the old tissue rather than overriding the existing structure
- "old" and "new" are, easily distinguishable
- technical solutions to construction issues are dominated by the need to preserve the original industrial character of the architecture and are not fully rational and economical
Morphology of the new architectural complexes is dictated by the new needs and the range of possibilities
offered by the post-industrial remaining substance. it means that any former object can be adapted for any
function creating the new extension in proper scale and form just because of the authenticity of The old tissue.
And so it is, the excitement about the authentic past has introduced a new approach for al¡ who are creating
space. it takes time but this new language and these new esthetic values are being pumped into the society.
Starting with the vanguard artists, writers, architects and musicians through al¡ different classes of the society the message is being launched worldwide:
The old is Beautiful, Reuse it if, you can!
1.Henry Van de Velde, 1899
2.Sharon Zukin, Loft Living: Culture and Capital in Urban Change, 1989