7 Outstanding Transformations

by | 23. Jul 2015


Caixa Forum by Herzog & de Meuron Image © Dan/CC

Society changes but buildings remain firmly in their place. And so, it follows that the purpose for which a building was initially built will eventually have to be revised. Thus, most buildings will at some point enevitably face a conversion of either its original program or structure, or both.

Often the succes of a building transformation relies heavily on the architect’s ability to balance old functions with new, as well as to employ the history of the building to frame its future use. Noteworthy examples of such considerate conversions include Peter Zumthor’s Kolumba Museum in Cologne and Hiroshi Sambuichi’s Seirensho Art Museum on the island of Inujima, Japan.

In these cases, the past and the present functions are interrtwined and almost indistinguishable from one another, whereas in MVRDV’s converted silos at the Copenhagen harbour front and Herzog & de Meuron’s Caixa Forum the opposite seems to be the case: the new functions cling on to the existing building in an almost parasitic way. In this way, the difference between the old and the new function are emphasized.

We have collected a handful of the most remarkable building transformations below.

Gemini Residence
Copenhagen, Denmark

Coal Washing Plant by OMA in Essen, Germany. Under construction. Escalators. Photo © Thomas Mayer
Coal Washing Plant
Essen, Germany

Caixa Forum by Herzog & de Meuron in Madrid, Spain. street view, entrance. Photo: @ Christian Richters
Caixa Forum
Herzog & de Meuron
Madrid, Spain

Kolumba Museum by Atelier Peter Zumthor in Cologne, Germany. Exterior. Photo by Yuri Palmin
Kolumba Museum
Atelier Peter Zumthor
Cologne, Germany

Torpedo Hall Apartments
Tegnestuen Vandkunsten
Copenhagen, Denmark

Inujima Seirensho Art Museum by Sambuichi Architects in Inujima, Higashi-ku, Okayama, Japan. Exterior vew towards south from above the museum. Photo by arcspace
Inujima Seirensho Art Museum
Sambuichi Architects
Inujima, Higashi-ku, Okayama, Japan

Silo Norte Shopping
Eduardo Souto de Moura
Matosinhos, Portugal