USE ThemOR LOSE themOld buildings with new purposes	      Jonathan Foyle CEO World Monuments Fund Britain
NOTE 				A longer version of this presentation was given as the keynote lecture for   the ‘Resilient Heritage’ conference ...
“No building is ever perfect. Each building,   when it is first built, is an attempt to make a   self-maintaining whole con...
1954. A modern masterpiece: The Manufacturers Trust Co, 510 Fifth Ave, New York. 	(Gordon Bunshaft for Skidmore, Owings & ...
2011. 510 Fifth Avenue is gutted to become a clothing outlet, under Vornado Realty Trust. 	The entrance is to be resituate...
QUESTIONS:	•  If its transparent, seminal design is its defining characteristic and significance, is   510 Fifth Ave inheren...
Let’s look at broader circumstances.      What are we dealing with? BUILDINGS ARE FOUND IN  6 ESSENTIAL STATES	  
6 ESSENTIAL STATES	    1: MUSEIFIED	  
Sir John Soane’s Museum, London. Bequeathed to the nation as a museum in 1837, but it has changed.
The rarest of buildings: Maison Mantin, Moulins, France. Locked up in 1905 for 100 years. Re-opened 2010
6 ESSENTIAL STATES:2: STILL PERFORMING THE ORIGINAL FUNCTION   	  
Bradford, St George’s Hall. Built as an entertainment venue for the working population of the town, 1849-53
Still an entertainment venue, though has had an organ fitted, new stage, cinema, lighting etc...
6 ESSENTIAL STATES:3: SURVIVES WELL BUT REDUNDANT	  
Temple Works, Holbeck, Leeds 1836-40
Grade 1 Listed flax mill. Planning permission for partial demolition, flats, retail refused 2005. 	Now essentially redundant...
6 ESSENTIAL STATES:4: DISAPPEARED OR RUINOUS	  
Liverpool, waterfront in 2010. Note the church tower.
Liverpool, waterfront in c.1860. Only the church remains identifiable. 	But without significant loss, we wouldn’t have the f...
6 ESSENTIAL STATES:5: RESTORED	  
“… Restoration of ancient buildings [is] a   strange and most fatal idea, which by its very   name implies that it is poss...
Morris’ position should be seen in the context of Victorian 	‘improvements’ : aesthetic design adjustments to ancient buil...
Lord Grimthorpe’s inventions 	at St Albans Cathedral were	infamous in Morris’ day.
But far more acceptable is the restoration of essentially surviving but damagedor depleted architecture which is backed by...
Restoration which is essentially 	speculative but which is reversible	(Stirling Castle, James V’s Palace)
Lincoln Cathedral	Restoration of glass, 	smashed by iconoclasts 	but set in a new permutation
Restoration can also be achievedgraphically, leaving the buildinguntouched. 	(Hampton Court, c.1525) 	J Foyle www.built.or...
6 ESSENTIAL STATES:6: REMODELLED FOR ALTERNATIVE USE	  
 “There are large palaces, building complexes, or    agglomerations that constitute whole pieces of    the city, and whose...
What is common to all these buildings?           (OK, except the very unusual Maison Mantin…)
NO BUILDING WILL SURVIVE INTACT
CHANGE IS INEVITABLE
CONSERVATION IS MANAGING CHANGE
How and why do buildings change?
•  Limited usage 	   	   	   	  	  
•  Limited usage 	 	 	 	Demand for use
•  Limited usage 	 	 	 	Demand for use	•  Poor resources 	   	   	  	  
•  Limited usage 	 	 	 	Demand for use	•  Poor resources 	 	 	Skills and capacity
•  Limited usage 	 	 	 	Demand for use	•  Poor resources 	 	 	Skills and capacity	•  Maintenance burden	  	  
•  Limited usage 	 	 	 	Demand for use	•  Poor resources 	 	 	Skills and capacity	•  Maintenance burden	 	Capital investme...
•    Limited usage 	 	 	   	Demand for use	•    Poor resources 	 	      	Skills and capacity	•    Maintenance burden	     ...
•    Limited usage 	 	 	   	Demand for use	•    Poor resources 	 	      	Skills and capacity	•    Maintenance burden	     ...
•    Limited usage 	 	 	        	Demand for use	•    Poor resources 	 	           	Skills and capacity	•    Maintenance bu...
•    Limited usage 	 	 	     	Demand for use	•    Poor resources 	 	        	Skills and capacity	•    Maintenance burden	 ...
•    Limited usage 	 	 	     	Demand for use	•    Poor resources 	 	        	Skills and capacity	•    Maintenance burden	 ...
•    Limited usage 	 	 	     	Demand for use	•    Poor resources 	 	        	Skills and capacity	•    Maintenance burden	 ...
•    Limited usage 	 	 	 	Demand for use	•    Poor resources 	 	 	Skills and capacity	•    Maintenance burden	 	Capital in...
•    Limited usage 	 	 	     	Demand for use	•    Poor resources 	 	        	Skills and capacity	•    Maintenance burden	 ...
•    Limited usage 	 	 	      	   	Demand for use	•    Poor resources	 	 	      	   	Skills and capacity	•    Maintenance ...
•    Limited usage      	    	Demand for use	                                    •    Poor resources 	        	Skills and ...
HOW DO WE DEFINE APPROPRIATECHANGE?
‘PRESERVE AT ALL COSTS’ IS UNFEASIBLE
REASONABLENESS MUST APPLY
TAKE THE LONG-TERM VIEW
MIND YOUR LANGUAGE
    A WORD OR TWO: 		WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE LANGUAGE WE USE? 		‘Conservation’ and ‘preservation’ sound like the aim of preve...
CONSERVATION IS MANAGING CHANGE
HOW COULD WE DO IT BETTER?
PROMOTE A CULTURE OF RESPONSIBLE RE-USE
5-POINT PLAN: ‘Protect and Revitalize’	•  FACILITATE: HLF should move beyond individual projects and purchase and co-   op...
So the title should perhaps have been…
USE Them         MOTHBALL THEM         OR LOSE them Old buildings with new purposes gained through loosening up a bit    a...
Use Them or Lose Them: Old buildings with new purposes
Use Them or Lose Them: Old buildings with new purposes
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Use Them or Lose Them: Old buildings with new purposes

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Annotated summary of the keynote lecture at the Resilient Heritage Conference, Peterborough 15 July 2011. Thinking out loud about how buildings must stay useful, and how we might achieve that most appropriately. Let the debate continue. More talks at www.built.org.uk

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Use Them or Lose Them: Old buildings with new purposes

  1. 1. USE ThemOR LOSE themOld buildings with new purposes Jonathan Foyle CEO World Monuments Fund Britain
  2. 2. NOTE A longer version of this presentation was given as the keynote lecture for the ‘Resilient Heritage’ conference in Peterborough, 15 July 2011, organised by Alice Kershaw of Opportunity Peterborough. Now, it must be admitted that the author has a tendency to extemporise when speaking: the annotations here helpfully get to the main points, and are intended for you to answer to your satisfaction. We begin with this quote…
  3. 3. “No building is ever perfect. Each building, when it is first built, is an attempt to make a self-maintaining whole configuration. But the predictions are invariably wrong. People use buildings differently from the way they thought they would.” Christopher Alexander This reasonable statement implies that adaptive reuse is the natural course for buildings if they are to remain of use to society.
  4. 4. 1954. A modern masterpiece: The Manufacturers Trust Co, 510 Fifth Ave, New York. (Gordon Bunshaft for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.) Banking de-fortified, made translucent and platonically simple
  5. 5. 2011. 510 Fifth Avenue is gutted to become a clothing outlet, under Vornado Realty Trust. The entrance is to be resituated; the escalator reversed, the vault moved. On the basis theenvelope remains intact, the Landmarks Preservation Committee gave approval for work inApril 2011. On 14 July 2011 a judge halted work after a legal challenge was made by theCitizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation [sic] which argues its Landmark statusmust extend to the interior features, because of its transparency. It is now gutted and static.
  6. 6. QUESTIONS: •  If its transparent, seminal design is its defining characteristic and significance, is 510 Fifth Ave inherently incapable of adaptive reuse? •  Whose responsibility is it to maintain commercial buildings in a preserved original form that may, because of Landmark or Listed status preventing any significant changes, now be unsuited to commercial market forces? •  If no financially viable alternative proposal is presented for re-use or funded preservation, what is the likely future for the building? •  If it cannot be changed and remains unused as a direct result, is the cause its specific original design or is the current preservation ethos over-zealous ? •  Is the total preservation of buildings a denial of the natural order of change? •  If so, where do we stop? Should the Taj Mahal become a shopping centre because of the demand for souvenirs it generates? Or is the inherent commercial character of 510 5th Avenue and its situation more clearly paradoxical in this case?
  7. 7. Let’s look at broader circumstances. What are we dealing with? BUILDINGS ARE FOUND IN 6 ESSENTIAL STATES  
  8. 8. 6 ESSENTIAL STATES 1: MUSEIFIED  
  9. 9. Sir John Soane’s Museum, London. Bequeathed to the nation as a museum in 1837, but it has changed.
  10. 10. The rarest of buildings: Maison Mantin, Moulins, France. Locked up in 1905 for 100 years. Re-opened 2010
  11. 11. 6 ESSENTIAL STATES:2: STILL PERFORMING THE ORIGINAL FUNCTION  
  12. 12. Bradford, St George’s Hall. Built as an entertainment venue for the working population of the town, 1849-53
  13. 13. Still an entertainment venue, though has had an organ fitted, new stage, cinema, lighting etc...
  14. 14. 6 ESSENTIAL STATES:3: SURVIVES WELL BUT REDUNDANT  
  15. 15. Temple Works, Holbeck, Leeds 1836-40
  16. 16. Grade 1 Listed flax mill. Planning permission for partial demolition, flats, retail refused 2005. Now essentially redundant, with recent partial collapses, though used for arts performances.
  17. 17. 6 ESSENTIAL STATES:4: DISAPPEARED OR RUINOUS  
  18. 18. Liverpool, waterfront in 2010. Note the church tower.
  19. 19. Liverpool, waterfront in c.1860. Only the church remains identifiable. But without significant loss, we wouldn’t have the famous waterfront we know today.
  20. 20. 6 ESSENTIAL STATES:5: RESTORED  
  21. 21. “… Restoration of ancient buildings [is] a strange and most fatal idea, which by its very name implies that it is possible to strip from a building this, that, and the other part of its history - of its life that is - and then to stay the hand at some arbitrary point, and leave it still historical, living, and even as it once was.” William Morris, SPAB Manifesto 1877
  22. 22. Morris’ position should be seen in the context of Victorian ‘improvements’ : aesthetic design adjustments to ancient buildings, removing archaeologically sensitive material like plaster or inserting church tracery in imitation of a favourite epoch where no such examples formerly existed. These attempts to revise buildings into a notional perfection often effectively destroyed or falsified their true evolving history or ‘life’, which was gained by the inevitable yet unforeseeable changes and/or reuses Christopher Alexander referred to. But the thing is, there are different kinds of restoration…
  23. 23. Lord Grimthorpe’s inventions at St Albans Cathedral were infamous in Morris’ day.
  24. 24. But far more acceptable is the restoration of essentially surviving but damagedor depleted architecture which is backed by good evidence. (Marble Saloon, Stowe House, a World Monuments Fund project)
  25. 25. Restoration which is essentially speculative but which is reversible (Stirling Castle, James V’s Palace)
  26. 26. Lincoln Cathedral Restoration of glass, smashed by iconoclasts but set in a new permutation
  27. 27. Restoration can also be achievedgraphically, leaving the buildinguntouched. (Hampton Court, c.1525) J Foyle www.built.org.uk
  28. 28. 6 ESSENTIAL STATES:6: REMODELLED FOR ALTERNATIVE USE  
  29. 29.  “There are large palaces, building complexes, or agglomerations that constitute whole pieces of the city, and whose function now is no longer the original one. When one visits a monument of this type […] one is struck by the multiplicity of different functions that a building of this type can contain over time, and how these functions are completely independent of form.” Aldo Rossi
  30. 30. What is common to all these buildings? (OK, except the very unusual Maison Mantin…)
  31. 31. NO BUILDING WILL SURVIVE INTACT
  32. 32. CHANGE IS INEVITABLE
  33. 33. CONSERVATION IS MANAGING CHANGE
  34. 34. How and why do buildings change?
  35. 35. •  Limited usage          
  36. 36. •  Limited usage Demand for use
  37. 37. •  Limited usage Demand for use •  Poor resources        
  38. 38. •  Limited usage Demand for use •  Poor resources Skills and capacity
  39. 39. •  Limited usage Demand for use •  Poor resources Skills and capacity •  Maintenance burden    
  40. 40. •  Limited usage Demand for use •  Poor resources Skills and capacity •  Maintenance burden Capital investment
  41. 41. •  Limited usage Demand for use •  Poor resources Skills and capacity •  Maintenance burden Capital investment •  Inadequate income      
  42. 42. •  Limited usage Demand for use •  Poor resources Skills and capacity •  Maintenance burden Capital investment •  Inadequate income Sound business plan
  43. 43. •  Limited usage Demand for use •  Poor resources Skills and capacity •  Maintenance burden Capital investment •  Inadequate income Sound business plan •  ‘Replaceability’          
  44. 44. •  Limited usage Demand for use •  Poor resources Skills and capacity •  Maintenance burden Capital investment •  Inadequate income Sound business plan •  ‘Replaceability’ Suitability
  45. 45. •  Limited usage Demand for use •  Poor resources Skills and capacity •  Maintenance burden Capital investment •  Inadequate income Sound business plan •  ‘Replaceability’ Suitability •  Restrictive legislation
  46. 46. •  Limited usage Demand for use •  Poor resources Skills and capacity •  Maintenance burden Capital investment •  Inadequate income Sound business plan •  ‘Replaceability’ Suitability •  Restrictive legislation Legal permission
  47. 47. •  Limited usage Demand for use •  Poor resources Skills and capacity •  Maintenance burden Capital investment •  Inadequate income Sound business plan •  ‘Replaceability’ Suitability •  Restrictive legislation Legal permission •  Bad politics                
  48. 48. •  Limited usage Demand for use •  Poor resources Skills and capacity •  Maintenance burden Capital investment •  Inadequate income Sound business plan •  ‘Replaceability’ Suitability •  Restrictive legislation Legal permission •  Bad politics Working relationships
  49. 49. •  Limited usage Demand for use •  Poor resources Skills and capacity •  Maintenance burden Capital investment •  Inadequate income Sound business plan •  ‘Replaceability’ Suitability •  Restrictive legislation Legal permission •  Bad politics Working relationships =Liability, loss =Asset, use
  50. 50. •  Limited usage Demand for use •  Poor resources Skills and capacity •  Maintenance burden Capital investment •  Inadequate income Sound business plan •  ‘Replaceability’ Suitabililty •  Restrictive legislation Legal permission •  Bad politics Working relationships =Liability, loss =Asset, use Q: Are these temporary circumstances or a major socio-economictrend? In the mid seventeenth century, Canterbury Cathedral wasconsidered derelict and most useful for its salvaged materials. Should its fate have followed the demands of the time? Ask: is a long-term view being taken over short-term expediency?
  51. 51. HOW DO WE DEFINE APPROPRIATECHANGE?
  52. 52. ‘PRESERVE AT ALL COSTS’ IS UNFEASIBLE
  53. 53. REASONABLENESS MUST APPLY
  54. 54. TAKE THE LONG-TERM VIEW
  55. 55. MIND YOUR LANGUAGE
  56. 56.   A WORD OR TWO: WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE LANGUAGE WE USE? ‘Conservation’ and ‘preservation’ sound like the aim of preventing change. ‘Let’s make… nothing happen!’ Alright, sometimes that is the case, when buildings face threat or destruction. Except… the best preservation encourages imagination: effecting a transformation into new uses, to be enjoyed by more people, bringing sustained care and support for a sound future. It’s entrepreneurial, involved, dynamic and brings new life. Our terminology should reflect that. It may sound close to the too-cynically used term ‘regeneration’ which has justified 1001 bad developments, but I think good reuse of historic buildings is ‘revitalization’. Revitalization isn’t static. It’s smart, relevant and engaging. After all…
  57. 57. CONSERVATION IS MANAGING CHANGE
  58. 58. HOW COULD WE DO IT BETTER?
  59. 59. PROMOTE A CULTURE OF RESPONSIBLE RE-USE
  60. 60. 5-POINT PLAN: ‘Protect and Revitalize’ •  FACILITATE: HLF should move beyond individual projects and purchase and co- operate quarries timber forests to ease and subsidise the supply of now costly traditional materials for repair and new build nationwide. EH protection would be assisted; the preserved and new built environment made more harmonious. •  TRAIN: Skills training and its value depends on supply and demand for available materials. Living traditions should inform contemporary design. But 50% of architects’ work is to historic buildings: RIBA should stipulate historic design and materials as part of the RIBA Pt I and Pt II syllabus to improve skills toward extension and re-use. •  INCENTIVISE: The VAT rate for approved alterations, repairs should be at least made equivalent to new-build; challenge funds for custodians of old buildings? •  INFORM AND ENGAGE: Public trends and perceptions are rarely changed without benefits. The value of responsible reuse should be better publicised in clear language and in terms that meet a broad public and commercial audience. •  BE PREPARED TO MOTHBALL for the long term if no suitable use is identified
  61. 61. So the title should perhaps have been…
  62. 62. USE Them MOTHBALL THEM OR LOSE them Old buildings with new purposes gained through loosening up a bit and embracing change… or at least keeping good examples inarrested decay awaiting the right new use whilst we teach people how to appreciate and look after them, dangling a financial carrot to make it all just a bit easier, whilst rebranding conservation/preservation. (But that wouldn’t have worked. ) Jonathan Foyle World Monuments Fund Britain

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