30-12-2020

The Best of Livegreenblog 2020: Restoration and conversion

Taller General, Wittman Estes, LUO studio, Proyectos Conscientes, Arte Charpentier Architectes,

Cultural Center, Restaurants, Offices, holiday houses, Apartment,

Refurbishment,

Restoring existing buildings as a sustainable modus operandi occupies a lot of our reportage. With the end of the year upon us, we’ve decided to take a look at our fave restoration and conversion projects that we presented in 2020.



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The Best of Livegreenblog 2020: Restoration and conversion New ideas need old buildings”, wrote Jane Jacobs in her 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. We don’t want to dwell here on what has become perhaps the most influential text on cities, their functioning and failures, inspiring generations of urban planners and activists. Today we want to focus instead on the importance of existing buildings and their restoration concerning architecture in the strict sense. Because every rehabilitation, as opposed to new construction, lowers the enormous environmental impact of the building.
We’ve chosen our “best of” projects that we presented in 2020. Enjoy!
In Madrid, we showcased the conversion of part of the old EFE News Agency called MO de Movimiento, a place where you can sit back and relax. It is an initiative of Proyectos Conscientes, established by Javier Antequera and Felipe Turell, in partnership with the Spanish designer Lucas Muñoz (Eindhoven/Madrid) and a multi-disciplinary team under the guidance of curators Gonzalo Machado and Mafalda Muñoz. Together, they gave the strategically positioned architecture in downtown Madrid a second chance, reusing the spaces as well as repurposing the materials there.
The architects from LUO Studio are behind a different kind of rehabilitation in Yuanheguan, in China’s Hubei province. Here, they used the abandoned foundations and concrete columns of an incomplete residential project to build a new community centre. inDesign in the name of architectural and urban recovery, that saved time and money, and made it possible to avoid dismantling a kind of “eco-monster”. 
Sometimes, the same architects get the chance to restore and convert their own brainchild to respond to changing needs. This occurred in Paris, where, with SHIFT, the French firm Arte Charpentier Architectes refurbished a building that it had designed in the early 1990s. By reinventing the uses and workspaces in an existing building, the architects gave shape to an architectural and ecological transition which can aim at the double certification of BREEAM “Excellent” and HQE™ “Exceptional”.
Then again, the architects from Ecuador-based studio Taller General work on projects to convert small, and complex spaces. Escenario Alterno 02  is the conversion of a 28 m2 space in an old building in the historical centre of Quito, into a small home for one or two people, at the same time creating a prototype that would be replicable for people not in the building trade.
New needs require new solutions, including when it comes to our free time. So, the American architecture studio Wittman Estes restored Aldo Beach House, an existing structure from the 1940s on Hood Canal, Washington. The old house has been turned into a new-look beach house, a multi-generational home with double the habitable area to accommodate a large family.
Irrespective of the scale of the makeovers proposed here, we can see that the challenge posed by existing structures produces really eye-catching projects with considerably reduced environmental impact.

Christiane Bürklein

Projects:
https://www.floornature.com/blog/mo-de-movimiento-masterful-makeover-madrid-15699/
https://www.floornature.com/blog/luo-studio-community-centre-yuanheguan-15423/
https://www.floornature.com/blog/shift-sustainable-rehabilitation-arte-charpentier-architecte-15854/
https://www.floornature.com/blog/escenario-alterno-02-taller-general-adaptive-sustainable-pro-15843/
https://www.floornature.com/blog/wittman-estes-refashioning-holiday-home-15810/

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