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The Architecture of Reuse: Lessons from European Cities

Evening Program

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0017
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)
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Musée d’Orsay

Europeans have spent centuries integrating the architectural legacies of their cities into buildings that meet the changing needs of their residents and reflect an evolving array of design styles.

Today, for example, Roman music lovers attend summer concerts in the shadow of the Teatro di Marcello, whose arched colonnades dating from 13 B.C. wrap around an apartment building that was once a 16th-century palazzo. The 2nd-century Temple of Antoninus and Faustina in the Roman Forum became the Chiesa di San Lorenzo in the late 7th century, and later got a Baroque-era makeover. The facade of the city’s stock exchange incorporates Corinthian columns from a temple dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian, built on the site in 144 A.D.

The urban texture of many European cities reflects how architects approach the adaptive reuse of period buildings, as well as respectfully integrate contemporary structures into historic neighborhoods.

Beginning in the 1950s, Italian architect Carlo Scarpa influenced the architectural environment through his modern interventions in historic buildings. Milanese architect Gae Aulenti transformed a beaux-arts railway station in Paris into the stunning Musée d'Orsay, and Renzo Piano’s egg-shaped headquarters of the Fondation Pathé nestles into a block of ornamented Haussmann-period buildings. 

Highlighting examples in Italy and France, architect Paola Lugli addresses how historic buildings can survive and thrive through modern adaptations, as well as how architects are re-purposing buildings today.

Lugli’s interest in historic structures developed in her native city of Rome, where she received her professional education in architecture with a specialization in adaptive re-use. Previously the owner of her own company, Lugli has since worked as an architect and designer on a wide range of residential and commercial projects with several architectural firms in the Washington area.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*

*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.