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hkskyline

Out of Place Architecture - Old vs. New

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In many cities, new buildings don't seem to blend in well with their older neighbors. This is especially the case in Europe, where new skyscrapers have become more and more bold, while the traditional architecture of the old city remain. Show some examples!

Pompidou Centre, Paris

A large square greets this ultra-modern building while older rowhouses sit around it.

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Swiss Re, London

I would've never expected a structure like that to pop up in the City, although after a few skyscrapers in the area, a tall building wasn't a surprise anymore. Norman Foster's design was certainly bold and daring.

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Wow that one in Paris does look REALLY out of place. I don't think the skyscrapers in London are as bad, because they're all in one are of the city. I spent two weeks there in 2004 and I think they have done a good job with zoning to allow only traditional architecture (even if it's new) in the older areas of the city. I do like the "Pickle Building", though.

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I would hate to live across from Pompidou Centre. It's so....busy.

I do love Swiss Re though!

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I think a mix of old and new architecture is necessary (most of the time) and adds to the urban fabric:

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Melbourne

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NYC

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Boston

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San Francisco

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My own town of GR

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But it doesn't always work :P

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I remember when the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris first opened (top picture in HKSkyline) and how people were HORRIFIED by it.

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The first example that comes to mind is "Fred and Ginger" in Prague.

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I'm not always a fan of Gehry, but I think he pulled this one off well.

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In many cities, new buildings don't seem to blend in well with their older neighbors. This is especially the case in Europe, where new skyscrapers have become more and more bold, while the traditional architecture of the old city remain. Show some examples!

It is definitely the case here. It can be very annoying to see a modern high-rise building for example, somewhere in the middle of the historic city center. It makes you wonder, if urban planners here even think at all...

Here are some examples of this phenomenon, in Dutch cities.

Compare the market square in Den Bosch, with a modern mall nearby, also in the city center.

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It has no connection with it's surroundings!

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Or check out Dordrecht's historical city center, where a market square has been build, with modern buildings surrounding it.

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Interesting pics everyone. I think part of this is in part to today's architecture. There's certainly some good stuff but it seems a lot of times many architects today are more about wanting their buildings to stand out and get noticed. Having a building that fits well into the surrounding area is taking more of a backseat. In my opinion at least.

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I agree with GRDadof3, in that modern buildings don't destroy urban areas but rather add to the variety that makes urban areas what they are. Modern can also work in historic areas, if it doesn't destroy something historic for its construction and doesn't call unecessary attention to itself. For instance, because the building in the second picture from Dordrecht uses historic materials of brick and (stone/concrete to look like stone) as well as forms that have historic inspiration, it would actually fit very well into a historic neighborhood.

Now, if a building that looked like some sort of spaceship was set down in one of these districts, I would probably feel differently. Or arguably worse, a building that belongs in the suburbs built in an urban center.

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Well said, Andrew. Too many people feel that a new building in a historic area must slavishly imitate the style of its surroundings. The problem with that is that the new building most often looks cheap and plastic compared to its historic neighbors. I'd much prefer a building that was stylistically honest about its date of construction while respecting its context. Whether a building "fits in" depends more on its massing, interaction with the street, and other such concerns than on architectural style.

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Certainly an interesting point of view. These types of discussion have been happening in my city a lot recently. Of course there are people that will argue that doing something like that and you'll end up with a building that looks 'dated' in a couple of decades. I guess my view is a bit in the middle. I do like to have buildings blend in with the rest of their area. Although I could make exception for civic and some public buildings. But I don't necessarily think you have to make everything look old if you're building in a historic area. I think you should be able to compromise and do some of both.

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