REUSE of BUILDINGS

Post 645 –by Gautam Shah

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Buildings continue to be relevant for many different reasons. Buildings persist, primarily by changing the functions they serve, secondly by redefining the form, and in rare cases, by altering the surroundings. Buildings are continued by Enabling interventions and Restorative actions. Re-use is a process of re-endowing value to neglected built-forms, which otherwise could see demotion.

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Turbine Hall of Bank side Power House Wikipedia image by Cwrcun

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Tate Hall (original turbine machine room)

A building and its lands, both are precious assets. Buildings are acquired at a great expense of resources, effort and time whereas the lands, now have new relevance being in central location and good connections. No one wants, either to go wastes. Buildings and the lands must be put to different use. Reuse strategies relate to establishing the lands and building for a ‘purpose other than the original one.

Location is the external realm of the building. It has two facets: the distance or the extent and the stack holders of the building. A building serves certain terrain or physical distance. When these get enlarged due to efficient transport services the usage is increased, but conversely barriers like railway tracks, canals, closure of roads, or loss of visual identity affects the raison d’ etre (reason for existence) of the building. Stack holders become insincere for maintenance when the location begins to deteriorate due to economic, social or political problems, and affects the pride or faith in the building.

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Batter sea Power House Station Building being  redeveloped with specific conditions like preservation of four chimney structures > Wikipedia image by > Attribution Nigel Cox

Lands become available for reuse, due to the changes in land zone and occupation patterns, such as residential to commercial or industrial to residential. Lands need re-validation of purpose when new developments like location of an airport, highways, railway tracks, etc. take place in neighbourhoods. Existing lands have an advantage of location and connections.

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Arnold Print Works as seen from Marshall street in North Adams, Massachusetts> Wikipedia image by Beyond My Ken

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Main Entrance Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MassMoCA) Wikipedia image by Beyond My Ken

Reuse of lands and built spaces is a form of urban rejuvenation, rationalization of urban density and strategy for sustainable use of resources. Reuse, sometimes deals with issues of conservation and so considered by some, as ‘compromise between historic preservation and demolition’.

Old gasometer in Ringsend, Dublin

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One of the Reuse project by Gasometer City, Vienna, Austria. Four disused gasometers were revamped into residential quarters > Wikipedia image by (Andreas Poeschek by CC-BY-SA-2.0-at)

Gasometer A in Vienna, www.wiener-gasometer.at

Internal Courtyard of Gasometer at Vienna > Wikipedia Image by Andreas.poeschek by CC-BY-SA-2,0-at

To use a building for a different purpose, many corrective actions are required. Redefining the form of a building is difficult as it is expected to satisfy, simultaneously, the functional needs and the value system in the society. In the first instance if the owner finds the corrective actions uneconomic, would rather opt for a new entity. In the later case, the changes in the form may make the society apathetic to the building’s revised ‘look’. Often, the cost of renovation, rehabilitation or restorations, are more costly than demolition or building newly.

The preservation of surroundings of buildings requires social, political and financial involvement, which are beyond the reach of the owner or user. It is only for buildings intensively serving social functions or buildings with historical connections that surroundings will be conserved or even redefined. A building, if is a public utility or society’s pride and prestige, its surroundings will be maintained or even resurrected. Changes in the surroundings force functional changes in the building, however, whether one makes the changes to be with surroundings or resists, both ways the building gets altered.

Old buildings become unsuitable for their conceived requirements with passage of time. The building’s own technological validity (of service systems’ and components’), and the circumstantial relevance of the planned usage, both, change, and independently. To these, political conditions and financial consideration (benefit accruing out of it) complicate the assessment.

A building, if it has a form of architectural styling then it is continued as a relic. When it has commemorative connections, in appreciation of its past, the building becomes a monument. Buildings that need to be remembered are restored or preserved to retain their form, but often in complete absence of the original setting. A building that has substantially lost the form and has indistinct connections can be enacted through re-imaging of its setting, like through Sound & light (son et Lumiere) shows on historical sites.

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Reused Pillars for Arcade at Adhai Din Ka Zonpada India > Wikipedia image by Billyakhtar

A building as a built-form stays till the structure or parts of it can provide shelter. And even after the loss of its integrity as a shell for shelter, its parts and components are scavenged for reuse. Romans and many others have used refuse in their new constructions. There are unknown costs in managing debris of old buildings, related to handling materials like glass wool, asbestos, and radio active contaminants, and demolition and removal of materials from dense localities.

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Asbestos and Lead paints require specific care for removal

Older buildings need substantial review of their functions, due to changes in ownership, reassessment of efficiency, styling and context. As the buildings age, the nominal surface related changes go deeper into the body of structure. Such changes are not easily perceptible, and can grow to very dangerous level. This is a stage when original design documents are not available. The new technology components and systems may not match the existing provisions. Repairs and maintenance schedules can restore parts, components and systems, provided the design is ‘open-ended’. However, holistic creations or ‘close-ended’ entities deteriorate completely without any scope for corrective measures.

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RESTORATION EXERCISES

Post 544  by Gautam Shah

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Buildings are restored to retain and perpetuate select identities. The selection is a subjective process of a person, society or the political power (including invader or conqueror). The concept of restoration is comparatively easy as the retained identities seem to provide a link between the past and the present, whereas things that are ignored or removed, make the exercise easier, simpler and justifiable. The select identities are like values, utilitarian aspects, sensorial qualities, materials, technology, architectural character, spatial qualities, style, patterns, scale or proportions, antiquity, social-political-religious confirmation.

An early photograph of Stonehenge taken July 1877 Wikipedia image by Author Philip Rupert Acott

Pic from same position in 2008 showing the extent of reconstruction Wikipedia image by Author Mavratti

Buildings as affected by age, environment and human use become increasingly inefficient, irrelevant and unsafe. The environmental processes continue to change the fabric of the buildings. The human use, miss use and non-use, all reflects in the decline of the building. To terminate or arrest the affectations, several processes of change are required. Externally, the purposes with which a building was erected need a live sponsorship and continued participation of the society. The buildings’ location needs corroboration from its surrounding, which can be had through macro planning or re-validation of the functions. Internally a building is a visit-able entity or just relic, for both cases it should be stable and safe.

Partly-restored windows facing Pitched Stone Court, Raglan Castle in Monmouthshire Wikipedia image by Author Andy F

A restoration, cannot revert a building to its original condition. As there is no original condition of a building. What we perceive to day is an entwined mass of effects of age, environment and human use. Changes occur in time, and spatially across the fabric of the building. Buildings are nominally as well as intentionally altered, but these changes are never recorded. The evidence of previous conditions in absence of records is largely conjectural. A true restoration must faithfully use the original materials and technologies which however are unlikely to be available. The building loses its site related relevance and time related functionality over a period of time. One, cannot regress a building to a past state in isolation of its referential conditions.

Marcellus theater Rome

Theater of Marcellus Rome backside reconstruction

Medieval builders treated the works of antiquity as something to be extended. They knew that abandoning a well sited and a large sized building is a wastage of time. A large new building would take several generations, political stability and long period free of catastrophes and disasters. Restoration meant resurrecting a building in the shortest possible time, with an image or style of the time. Yet during resurrective restoration, there were several ‘corrections’, to suit the socio-political-financial conditions. Such a complex entity cannot have a particular or ‘original character’.

Serbian monastery Gracanica Wikipedia image by Author Bujar I Gashi

From ancient times to first part of present century, restorations have always followed the sponsor’s wishes and restorer’s wisdom. Restorations have meant all types of changes, such as renovations, alterations, reformations, additions, and extensions, but rarely the ‘reinstatement of a previous condition’. ‘Restorations’ have been carried out by masters such as the professional artists, sculptors and builders and street level roving crafts-persons. The nature of ‘change’ interventions depended on the skills of the master. Such changes were primarily intended to upgrade the building to a better condition. It also meant ‘improvising or adapting a style or confirming to a contemporary taste’. Restorative changes have been carried out by experts to brand their capacity rather then any respect for the past. Restorers like Michelangelo, saw a building as a raw material and opportunity to organize it. Classical structures during Romanesque and Renaissance periods were as regarded pieces of admirable antiquity. Yet these were restored by retaining, enhancing and adding the perceived values, but ‘without any concern for the process or investigations’.

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Ishtar_Gate_at_Berlin_Museum

Reconstruction of Tito’s Palace in Mostar. Part of film depicting several buildings and structures that have been damaged during the Bosnian War, wikipedia image

A restoration destroys something of the original character. It is irretrievably lost. The character of the building gets lost with too many restorations. Restorations without harming the substrate or basic fabric preserve them in their original condition. But, that does not mean a restoration allows one to mount a skin or a make-believe screen, to camouflage the original. Conservation is very restrictive process, but restoration could be conservative and preserving in nature.

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REPLACING BUILDINGS

Post 500 by Gautam Shah

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640px-Palast_der_Republik_und_Fernsehturm

Old And NewA building has two components, the land and the structure. The value of land is circumstantial, goes up or down, but does not translate into gain till one sells it or builds upon it. Structures are erected and then maintained till they offer some gain. When a structure does not provide sufficient return, it is altered in many ways, including complete replacement. A structure may have to wait for a very long time till an entrepreneur realizes its potential. The gains after the alteration or replacement must be large enough to pay off the new investments and return over the value of land. When a piece of Land is highly valued due to circumstantial reasons like location, neighbourhood, connectivity, etc. it also means the potential as a built space is also high.

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Costs of maintenance usually come from the rents or lease charges. Even if the buildings are maintained by the tenants or lessee, they would not be contributing anything extra over the cost of having that built-space. Tenants and leaseholders have an immediacy with the utility of building through expenditure on maintenance. The owners of land-buildings, however, have long-term vision for continued returns.


Bradbury Building LA USA

Bradbury building Los Angeles 2005 USA

Costs of alterations are outlined by the safety of the structure. An unsafe building cannot be worth any alteration. Cost of alterations, within that limit, is determined by the new function to be accommodated. The new function must be supported primarily by the existing structure, and than by the site (location, neighbourhood, connectivity).

Times of India Building Bombay

Costs of alterations are of many types, some directly related to the basic functionality, or for the image to be endowed to the building. The image could be for a changed look, for corporate branding or for matching with some local or alien image. A process of change could also add more amenities and facilities. Modern technology offers leaner entities there by saving floor space or increased volumes. Typically windows placed on an outer edge, without a sun-shading recess adds to floor space. Cutouts or light-wells make darker areas functional. Open office layouts, without structural partitions gain floor space. Mezzanine floors, reduced floor heights, creating new or using cellar spaces, plumbing-less toilet utilities, wireless communications, all are designed to gain spaces. Management of a retail or selling area spares spaces. Storage spaces are eliminated by continuous supply systems, home deliveries and digital display facilities.

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Berliner_Schloss_Panorama

Replacement of a Building is an extreme step. But it often represents change of ownership with fresh entrepreneurship. Options to demolitions are few. Demolitions have to be carried out in restricted areas where relocations of existing functions, safety, environmental corruption and disposal of debris are prime concerns. Displacements or relocations of the buildings can be done in very select cases, and involve great expense and risk. Relocation of building is carried out in two basic ways. Buildings are dismantled and reassembled, or transported as a whole at another location. The first approach requires building to be consisting of separable and re-unite-able parts, whereas the later one requires a building to be an integrated entity. In reality buildings are exclusively neither of these. It was possible to shift the Egyptian temple from the Aswan dam site as it consisted of units of rock. A modern integrated RCC frame structure cannot be disassembled. A small structure may be shifted as a whole, but a large structure may not have the required street width in an urban location. Displacements are conceived for highly sentimental entities, and only as a last resort.

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Red_River_College_CampusMetropolitan_Opera_House_American_Architect_&_Building_News_Nov._28,_1885_p.265

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TRIVIAL and SUBSTANTIVE CHANGES in BUILDINGS

 

Post 450 -by Gautam Shah

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Trivial or non-substantive changes are caused by the user, without the help of a professional designer. Such changes are mainly limited to the interior domain of the space. These are personal adoptive changes. Highly articulated interior spaces have either a very strict regimen or very neatly defined functionality, and so do not allow major changes. A person acquires such a space at a premium rent or charge, is aware of the restraints, and so may not have the obsession for change. Trivial changes relate more to the sensorial aspects of an interior space, rather then its spatial quality. Such changes are ‘applique’ and do not affect the depth of the structure. The application or removal, both are ‘benign’ or non ‘causative’.

Exterior side Trivial changes for personalization > En Wikipedia image by Wikierpedia

Non-substantive changes on an exterior side of a building are caused for personalization. These changes rarely occur in one comprehensive exercise. Personalization is a social response to the conditions in the neighbourhood. Indians dominated residential areas in UK, USA, and other countries show strong personalization of exteriors, perhaps to imprint their Indian affinity. This is in stark contrast, to an Indian house in a community sparsely populated with Indians. Here the house owner avoids the external personalization.

Raw houses California st NW Washington DC Wikipedia image by AgnosticPreachersKid

Exterior side changes on buildings, trivial or otherwise, are discouraged by the local authorities to sustain the ethnicity of the neighbourhood. Exterior changes of all types, are not allowed on leased-rented properties. Logistically it is difficult to cause any change on the exterior faces of a multi storeyed building. In buildings where galleries or balconies are provisioned, occupants place demountable entities like flower plants, mobiles, hangings, screens, etc.

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Buildings need substantive changes mainly when the user or usage change. Substantive changes are executed by professional designers, in both the domains, unless restrained by extraneous causes such as budget, logistics and local authorities. External changes are difficult in buildings with multiple owners (shared) as there is obligatory discipline. Similarly buildings located in dense localities have severe logistics problems that make it very difficult to cause any changes on the external face. Multistoried buildings with nearly integrated curtain walls as the exterior skin offers no scope for any external modification.

Difficult logistics for substantive exterior change in Multi-ownership apartments Gurgaon Delhi

Substantive changes are caused by brand conscious companies that have very defined para-metrics regarding Graphics, Space and Architecture. To accommodate first two the architecture needs alterations. Substantive changes relate to immediate commercial needs, and also to perception on how long one will stay in the new premises.

Commercial renovation substantive changes on exterior for branding

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LINKS on articles about CHANGES in BUILDINGS

LINKS on articles about CHANGES in BUILDINGS (This is not an exhaustive list)

Post 428 ⇒   by Gautam Shah 

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REFORMATIONS of BUILDINGS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/reformations-of-buildings/

PROCESS of CHANGE in BUILDINGS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/process-of-change-in-buildings/

DECADENCE in BUILDINGS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/decadence-in-buildings/

REALM of BUILDINGS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/the-realm-of-buildings/

RESTORATIONS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/restorations/

PREVENTIVE and INTERVENTIVE CONSERVATION

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/preventive-and-interventive-conservation/

PRESERVATION and CONSERVATION

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/preservation-and-conservation/

DEMOLITIONS and DISPLACEMENTS of BUILDINGS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/demolitions-and-displacements-of-buildings/

CONTINUANCE of BUILDINGS

http://talking-interior-design.blogspot.in/2014/04/continuance-of-buildings.html

LIFE of BUILDING

http://talking-interior-design.blogspot.in/2013/10/life-of-building.html

RENOVATIONS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/renovations/

RESTORING BUILDINGS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/restoring-buildings/

INTERIOR SPACES and CHANGES

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/interior-spaces-and-changes/

DEBRIS of BUILDINGS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/debris-of-buildings/

NEW versus OLD BUILDINGS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/new-versus-old-buildings/

PERMANENCE of BUILDINGS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/permanence-of-buildings/

VALIDITY of BUILDINGS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/validity-of-buildings/

MAINTENANCE versus REPAIRS of BUILDINGS https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/maintenance-versus-repairs-of-buildings/

COLOURS and BUILDINGS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/colours-and-buildings/

VALUATION of BUILDINGS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/valuation-of-buildings/

ADDITIONS in BUILDINGS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/additions-in-buildings/

REPAIRS to BUILDINGS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/repairs-to-buildings/

AMENITIES in BUILDINGS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/amenities-in-buildings/

MUD ARCHITECTURE

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/05/17/mud-architecture/

OPENINGS in COLONIAL PERIOD of INDIA

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/openings-in-colonial-period-of-india/

CLASSICAL WINDOW FORMS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/classical-window-forms/

DRAWN ARCHITECTONIC ELEMENTS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/12/25/drawn-architectonic-elements/

DOORS INTERIOR and EXTERIOR EXPRESSIONS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/doors-interior-and-exterior-expressions/

WINDOW TAX

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/window-tax/

CONSERVATION vs PRESERVATION

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/conservation-vs-preservation/

HISTORICAL WALL FINISHES

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/historical-wall-finishes/

TREATMENTS OVER OPENINGS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/treatments-over-openings/

FACILITIES and UTILITIES

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/facilities-and-utilities/

QUESTION of RESTORATION

http://talking-interior-design.blogspot.in/2014/07/question-of-restoration.html

CLAY or MUD STRUCTURES Part – 1

http://talking-interior-design.blogspot.in/2014/06/clay-or-mud-structures-part-1.html

CLAY or MUD STRUCTURES Part – 2

http://talking-interior-design.blogspot.in/2014/06/clay-or-mud-structures-part-2.html

CLAY or MUD STRUCTURES Part – 3

http://talking-interior-design.blogspot.in/2014/06/clay-or-mud-structures-part-3.html

PROCESS of CHANGE in BUILDINGS -2

Post 403 – by Gautam Shah

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the-house-of-tides-shot-1-spot-the-difference-brown-house-beside-bridge

belgium-antwerp-office-building

The process of change is both, in the building itself, and the contextual setting within which it exists. The changes in the building shell are real happening in time, though usually ignored in the initial stages. The change in its contextual setting is often subjective perception, and so seems to be unreal. The changes in the building or its surroundings are not noticed, because these occur in small measures and spread over a very long period.

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Natural changes occur in buildings irrespective of the intensity of use. Such changes occur in buildings that are over-used, mis-used, under-used or not at all-used. Though, some conditions like over-usage may hasten the pace of change. Natural changes cannot be terminated, but perhaps can be slowed or restricted spatially.

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Man-made changes mainly relate to the nature of use. Over-usage reflects the intensity of use, and must be provisioned for in the system. Mis-usage results due to the abuse of the building system. It relates to the social set-up within which the building exists, functional inadequacies and ambiguities about the form. Under-usage and non-use of a building are circumstantial factors, and in that sense the changes may be more for natural reasons, then man-made causes. Man-made changes are involuntary as well as malicious.

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Changes in building can be considered in several stages of perception or recognition.

 FIRST Stage occurs immediately on occupation. Buildings where the functions have not been adequately defined, or get substantially compromised during the post planning phase, turn into an irrelevant entity. The greatest threat occurs from fast changing surroundings and external circumstances like the ingress of new technologies.

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SECOND Stage occurs when safety and security are under threat due to natural disasters or design inadequacies. Some major programme to replace parts, components and systems can still save the building.

Bucharest, Romania, Crima de la casa Paucescu Wikipedia Image by Britchi Mire

THIRD Stage arrives much later in life of building. At these stage the original sponsors or owners are no longer the stack holders. New masters possibly have negligible no emotional attachment. The building loses its functional and location related relevance, forcing a financial viability assessment. At this stage the form has been substantially altered and no restoration efforts can re-establish anything even to the original.

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FOURTH Stage sets in when many of the systems that support the environment for human occupation become dysfunctional. The building may nevertheless survive and be used for non-habitation purposes like storage.

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TERMINAL Stage is, when the shell deteriorates and collapses. Building remains an operational entity so long as the bare minimum space defining or enclosing entity, remains sound. In well integrated buildings the process of deterioration cannot be noticed in isolation. Here the shell and other subsystems are not separable, and so the collapse is unpredictable and sudden. However, in assembled buildings the frame and in-fill elements have distinctly defined roles of structural or non-structural elements. Here the deterioration is visible, slow to occur and often predictable.

Genbaku_Dome04-r

It is very difficult to define the demise of a building. A building dies many deaths, usually very slowly but occasionally suddenly. Parts and components decay at different and an unknown rate. With age the capacity to accommodate the changes becomes smaller and uneconomic. Users and occupants of the buildings are continuously and very closely involved, and so do not realize the changes setting in. The accumulated changes are more apparent to others, which reduces a building’s social prestige and also affects the locality’s standing.

Shakti_Mills

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NEW versus OLD BUILDINGS

Post 402 – by Gautam Shah 

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Newcastle upon Tyne

A building represents a designer’s professionalism, an owner’s dream, and a builder’s craftsmanship. The building is a societal heritage of the values, traditions, beliefs, politics, laws, and environment. The building, as it ages and survives, the idea of societal heritage begins to be associated with it. But stake holders are more concerned with the aging and survival of the building, than the indirect associations it is gaining. Such association of Heritage come afore only when the building shows signs of irrecoverable disintegration. It is perhaps nostalgic feeling that accomplishments are getting irretrievably lost. Buildings result from immense amounts of resources and effort, so there is natural resistance to demolition or disintegration of existing buildings. Though public preference fluctuates from age to age, between creation of new buildings and preservation of existing buildings.

1 Scotpar2New buildings must confirm the most recent regulations. This is seen to be a discouraging factor. Old buildings were constructed when land-use patterns were comparatively lenient. Provision of parking, emergency egress, ventilation and daylight requirements, sustainability, energy management provisions, etc. may make a new structure cost-prohibitive. It is prudent to persist with old repairable structures.

New York Old and New buildings -different regulations

While constructing a replacement building, one must manage old owners or tenants by way of temporary accommodation or negotiated evacuation. Old structures are located in the core of the city, a very busy precinct, to conduct new construction activity.

Nottingham London Road railway station Old buildings in important areas

Professionals like architects, interior designers, builders, have a natural interest in the life-span of buildings. A building signifies effort (intellectual for conception), manpower (for execution), energy inputs, resources and plant-equipment’s utilization. It also represents fees and service costs, monetary investments and above all consummation of a non recoverable entity -time.

576px-Old_&_New_Buildings_in_Buenos_Aires

In any urban setting of today, the question of Age of Building is very important. Today, 70% of the city’s apartment buildings (Toronto, Canada) are more than 40 years old, and substantial number of them (60%) are located in the core areas of city.

Old new combination of buildings

Of all the buildings available for human use today in urban areas, substantial number of them are more than 25 years old. In other words, these buildings were commissioned by a generation of people, that are not alive to day, or have retired from active life. More than Half of the urban population spend their entire life, in buildings ‘that were not conceived and built by or for them, but adopted for or by them’. This proportion is likely to increase as time passes for TWO major reasons:

1 Buildings are being built with better technologies and last longer.

2 People migrate more frequently, and so have little time to construct a new building.

Train station Berlin Stettiner Bahnhof

Buildings are over-designed, and so outlive the planned functions. There are several sub-levels where ‘factors of safety’ are individually applied. These individual factors add up to substantial ‘margin of safety. Wherever the components are well integrated, such duplication of safety factors is avoided. During later day repairs, replacement and maintenance schedules the original cohesive working is disturbed. The interactive sharing of loads and risks become scarce, and components begin to decay at different and often unpredictable rates..

In certain emergencies, it is not possible, to either plan or build new buildings, and as a result one must locate and adapt readily available structures. Nevertheless, an assured life span of the building is always the major factor for selection in such exigencies.

geograph-1159727-by-Andrew-Curtis

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PERMANENCE OF BUILDINGS

Post 400 – by Gautam Shah

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3 Annual_repair_of_the_world's_largest_mud_brick_building_the_Great_Mosque_of_Djenné_in_Mali._(32088227574)

A building is a major asset. A dwelling owner wants it to last for own life and perhaps for the next generation. A ruler wants the building to be entity perpetuating the dynasty. Public buildings are deified as ever lasting monuments. Permanence of buildings is both physical and metaphoric. At physical level, the reality impinges in terms of the building’s form, stability sustainability, functionality, etc. At metaphoric level the building has an image formed of social relevance, architectural character, and novelty. The image of a building has different associations to various sections of the society.

Connaught Place New Delhi India

A building that has an architectural style is continued as a relic. When it has commemorative connections, as mark of an era, achievement or an event it becomes a memorial. Few structures are created for non-utilitarian purposes as monuments. Buildings that valued and need to be remembered, are restored or conserved to retain their form, but often in complete absence of the original setting. A building that has substantially lost the form and has indistinct circumstantial connections are re-enacted through re-imaging of its setting, like through Sound & light (son et Lumière) shows on historical sites.

Persepolis Iran

A Builder recognizes the building for its stability or equilibrium. In this pursuit the builder unless restrained by the economics will overdo the job by making the building extra strong (safe). In rural areas where the user is the designer and the builder, permanence resides in the personal ability to maintain and upgrade the building. For such self-builders structure is permanent so long it can be reconditioned from personal or local resources. In nomadic or intensively migrant societies, the dwellings are light and transportable, yet the selection of form and the materials, reflect their quest for permanence.

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Taos Pueblo -self built structures -ability to maintain and upgrade the building

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A User perceives permanence in terms of buildings’ capacity to accommodate the changes effortlessly through the passage of time.

A Designer distinguishes a new building for specific set of functions only. Architects very rarely design buildings for reuse or adoptive functions.

A lay-person perceivesmonumental buildings’ to be of time-tested or mature technology and durable, whereas, fragile buildings (though fairly stable and functionally adequate) are of a newer or untested technology and so temporary.

Exterior -Hindola Mahal Mandu India Tapered form for stability

Interior -Hindola Mahal Mandu India

Substantial judgements on permanence of a building rest on its capacity to serve the functions and also to adopt new functions. Companies maintain the firm’s headquarters in the original building, by substantially altering the interiors, and by conserving the exterior. Where in spite of exercises of continuity, the building often remains a symbolic entity.

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Older buildings in good localities with high social, political and an economics profile, with strong architectural character or ‘branded form’ are reinforced with retro fitting technologies. Often the compulsion derives from local authority’s conditions of development.

buildings and architecture of Bath, a city in Somerset in the south west of England Conservation.

It is nearly impossible for an individual owner to enforce conservation of the surroundings. The social, political and financial involvement, is beyond the reach of an owner or user. However, public buildings such as of public utility, serving social functions, or of society’s pride and prestige may have its surroundings well maintained or even resurrected.

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VALIDITY of BUILDINGS

Post 399 –  by Gautam Shah

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Validation is adaptive reuse that actually changes the purpose of a built-form to meet the community’s needs. The building gets transformed in terms of the function it serves but changes the neighbourhood of its location. Adaptive reuse can mean many different things, reinventing or repurposing the building where the new life is drastically different in purpose from the previous one. It is also done through conservation, restoration, renovation or reformation.  A secondary purpose could be to preserve and revitalise the historic spaces, and if the size, scale and purpose are large enough than even reduce the urban chaos.

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Buildings are like the proverbial cat with nine lives. Buildings persist for a very long and indeterminable period. Buildings remain relevant till the structure or parts of it can provide shelter. And, even after loss of its integrity as a shell for shelter, its parts and components are scavenged for reuse. Buildings are precious assets for the society, acquired at a great expense of resources and effort. No society wants them to go waste so buildings get reborn, put to different use, or its parts recycled.

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Life of a building is evaluated on basic two counts: Stability and Relevance.

Stability of a building is checked in terms of Structural Integrity, Physical Condition, and the Stack-Holders’ Perceptions. The structural integrity ensures its capacity to stand-up in equilibrium, by defying or overcoming the gravity, stability and consistency against many forces, and safety and security as a place of habitation. The physical conditions are reflected in weathering processes of nature, and the user-related wear-tear.

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Stake holders’ perceptions reflect the prestige and acceptability of the building in the society for its aesthetic, and functional considerations. It is the cumulative thinking of the society and often alogical.

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Stake-holders’ perceptions: Buildings are perceived to be stable when these are of balanced shapes (regular geometrical shapes), straight (upright and not inclined or crooked) form, broader at base, balanced composition (axially symmetrical), and of lower height. Similarly buildings made of materials that are opaque, high density, non deformable, stiff, good in compression, rough or robust finish, are considered longer lasting or reliable. Buildings composed of elements, fewer in numbers, larger in scale, and simpler in details also denote reliable performance.

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Relevance of a Building is considered on many counts. At macro level, a neighbourhood may not effectively support a building’s existence or use. It may turn embarrassing, in the context of its changed surroundings. At contextual level, the building may be considered irrelevant, when the purpose for which it was conceived is no longer valid. It may become non-essential, when other exotic or superior forms are available. At micro level, a building may become ineffective, if it cannot accept new technologies for service systems, parts or components. It may be considered to have ended, when its important constituents disintegrate or get separated.

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Many structures are revalidated because their locations are fairly centric and offer several cost advantages, such as, small proportion of cost demolitions, debris removal-disposal issues in a dense localities, and lower establishment costs of sourcing the services. The issues of ownership titles or cost of land acquisition are not up-front involvements. Validation of old building begins with its adaption for its reuse. These include concerns for structural integrity, retrofitting or reinforcing for new patterns of loading.

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A building is neglected when it affects our sensuality, pride, prestige, values, etc. A building may be judged redundant, when in spite of all remedial actions it cannot fulfil its functions. It is abandoned when it cannot stay in equilibrium or in a state that is right for a normal human occupation.

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Older structures not only age in uncertain manner and have passed through usage that were often unintended. Older components are not only substantive in size, load and energy usage but their technological reinstatement or equivalent replacement is not feasible. For a variety of reason it is not possible to restore all older structures. So an option valid on many counts is the adaptive use, as it allows built asset and related prestige or emotions to be transformed through a creative pursuit.

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RENOVATIONS

RENOVATIONS

Post 302⇒   by Gautam Shah  →

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Renovation is an action to renew or re-establish the original character of a building. The renewal could be to update the functional efficiency, or reinstate the sensorial aspects or a historical image.

Renovation is seen in a wider perspective. It can include all attempts to furnish a building with a new image or meaning. In the first instance the budget is predictable and results are assured, but in the second case it is difficult to equate the expense with the gains.

Renovated San Francisco Ferry Building

At commercial level, a building is considered to have had a Renovation, when its functional and sensorial values are substantially modified (generally upgraded). To do so, some intentionally replace, displace or install elements that are very different from the original. Buildings are often ‘redecorated’ by placing stylized historical elements like columns, cornices, etc. A substantially renovated building creates a new aura in the society. In this sense a renovation, not only rejuvenates, an old building but upgrades its esteem in the neighbourhood.

Golden Temple Amritsar India -Old Image

Renovations occur due to internal and external compulsions. The internal compulsions occur due to new occupants or aspirations for new style of living. Renovations also occur there is acute need to improve the working of a building. External pressures arise when the buildings of the neighbourhood are renovated, creating problems of visual, social and political equalization. Buildings get renovated when their relevance needs re-validation. This happens when the history is seen in a new perspective, there is greater awareness, or have financial resources. Concepts or things, which, were once considered to be inviolable, are re-evaluated during renovations. As a result renovation invariably includes some re-adjustive processes, like alterations, reformations, etc., however, it does not cover conservation or preservation processes.

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Corporate buildings are often renovated for no other reason but to reflect the shift in goals or change in company’s structure. Shops are renovated to reflect new product lines, business styles. Restaurants, night clubs, landscapes and gardens are renovated to provide a variety. Landmarks in urban areas are renovated to provide impetus to new developments.

Shree Swaminarayan Hindu Temple Finchley Road London -Internal Renovation -external Conservation

Renovations are made not only to revitalize, but to impose new values to used or old buildings. City councils, however, too conscious of continuing the set image of the neighbourhood, do not allow renovations on external face. Many unused church buildings are being renovated as Hindu temples in UK, but only in terms of interiors. Internal changes in such buildings are more of the alterations then renovations. The internal changes are carried out with twofold purposes, to remove or dilute the Christian or alien religious values, and to create a Hindu temple like environment. Royal palaces in India are renovated as heritage hotels with modern services but, keeping intact, the spatial character of the palace. Hyderabad-house, New Delhi, has been renovated to function as a State house for a variety of official functions. White-house of US and Kremlin in Russia, have seen several extensive renovations.

Buildings capable of fulfilling the utilitarian and sensual requirements, are allowed to continue with due repairs and maintenance. Buildings that are regularly repaired and properly maintained do not seem to need renovation. Continuing repairs and maintenance processes renovate a building in such small measures that there is no perceptible change.

To renovate a building one needs to have an image to match. Old buildings lack such documents. So renovations are presumptive exercise with prudence.

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