From Cape Verde to Como, from Athens to New York, a selection of the projects published this year that best told us about the importance of rooting the life of architecture in the present, even after centuries-long histories.
Renovation is actually – especially in years like 2023 – a common theme in the majority of the projects chosen by Domus, whether it be interiors, entire houses, or wider-ranging architectures.
Reuse is the key, reinforcing the use value of spaces; “reusing, reducing, recycling” but also giving contemporary meaning to the existing, someway preventing historicization in the sense of burial in a past disconnected from today.
We selected projects from around the world better could shed light on the contemporary value of renovation, embracing a multiplicity of different histories that is almost impossible to map unitarily: from Berlin beginning to reappropriate the buildings of the former Tempelhof airport, to Oma adding a kind of aerial Lever House to Tiffany in New York, dealing with a less-than-discreet neighbor; museums in Cape Verde that regenerate the urban surroundings from which they are generated, and Italian collections that rediscover the evocativeness of hidden interiors; warehouses blossoming into collective housing and apartments that pour the traces of their history into the flow of present; icons like the Rinascente and the Velasca tower, material regenerations as well as others we may only visit in digital worlds.
Filling the gap between the original architectural fabric and its upgrade to the needs of the 21st century: it is in this interstice that OHLAB glimpses a respectful but not historicized possibility for update. As the firm itself states, “the renovation project takes advantage of the complexity of the existing building as a potential to generate unexpected spaces where each dwelling is totally different”