Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat: Cities in the Third Millennium

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PLANNING AND ARCHITECTURE


Co-existing with the Past City - Building in Historical Places

Jong Soung Kimm, FAIA, KIA

Co-existing with the past requires the wisdom of diverse constituents of a given society. It might take the form, at the least desirable end of the scale, of outright replication and grafting of historical building types; giving new lease on life through preservation and adaptive re-use to historical structures; or building new structures that would genuinely enrich the lives of citizenry in a given culture through creative and judicious combination of analogy, metaphor and reference to the collective memory of that culture.

I begin my short presentation by looking at some preservation and adaptive re-use efforts of individual buildings in Chicago, as it is in Chicago that I first obtained my education as an architect. The Reliance Building of 1890-95 designed by Charles Atwood for D. H. Burnham Company was recently converted to a hotel, appropriately named the Burnham Hotel. An even older structure, The Rookery Building of 1886 designed also by D. H. Burnham Company went through a long period of neglect before being renovated to the former glory a few years ago. The main stair hall and lobby which Frank Lloyd Wright is said to have designed has been restored to its original splendor. The Flat Iron District in New York has numerous structures of 1890's vintage as do downtown cores of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, etc. For examples of much older edifices actively in use, however, we need to look at the European or Asian cities. Among the numerous cases of successful conversion of historic buildings to new use in Europe, I would like to mention Castel Vecchio in Verona which Carlo Scarpa so ingeniously transformed into a museum. The National Museum of Roman Art in Merida, Spain designed by Rafael Moneo in 1980-85, is a happy instance of a new structure sitting literally over the Roman archaeological site in the old "Augustus Emmeritas".

Next, I would turn to new structures of public use which have been successfully incorporated into the urban fabric of historical cities. When the railroad was introduced in the second half of the 19th century in major cities in Europe, there emerged an opportunity for daring new structural inventions by

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