Using old stuff and thinking in a new way: material culture, conservation and fashion in architecture

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)


Past and current historiography and criticism of architecture have created a fictitious division - from the design point of view - between new architecture and conservation of the old. They have been dictated more by prejudices and fashionable visual imagery than by analysis of previous realisations, in which one could learn how pre-existences have influenced new architecture. Different phases in buildings are often ignored, treated as unitary creations belonging to a single design or privileging only one of their phases, limiting the critique to visual and formal aspects. This study of architectural transformations demonstrates that he way in which existing architecture is being reused, conserved and transformed reflects the culture of its time. The dialectics and attitudes of their architects, builders and patrons are expressed in the relationship of the new architecture with the existing material and how it is presented in the final project. Contrary to painting and sculpture practice, in architecture, materials and structures can be reused. Architecture goes beyond the idea and the object and can only be created and analysed as individual projects, where use and three-dimensional aspects are crucial.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cultural Role of Architecture
Subtitle of host publicationContemporary and Historical Perspectives
EditorsP Emmons, J Lomholt, J Hendrix
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2012


  • architectural conservation
  • architectural design
  • culture
  • architecture
  • historic buildings
  • physical and cultural context
  • transformation
  • architectural reuse
  • architects
  • patronage
  • fashion
  • material culture
  • conservation
  • theory
  • criticism


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