Conservation projects come in many shapes and sizes – adaptive reuse, expansion, and much more. Although not built from scratch, these projects are equally challenging since it takes a lot through research and radical thinking to come up with plausible solutions. 

Completed conservation projects are easy to assess; this article will take you on the journey to ‘unbuilt’ conservation projects. These projects include – shortlisted competition entries and conceptual and soon-to-be-built projects.

1. Museum of London by BIG Architects

Type: Competition Entry
Collaborators: FRwHinsmown, Donald Insall Associates, Gehl Architects
Size: 29,380 m2
Year: 2016
Location: England, United Kingdom

The new Museum of London is to invade and inhabit the streets of London. 

The complex had been occupied by the fish, poultry, and general markets that constitute a historical and architectural cross-section of the city – a place where Victorian meets modern, brick meets cast iron, and slate meets the glass. 

The firm’s concept was to explore their diversity to create a museum of the city of London that is as rich in architecture and history as the city itself. 

Museum of London by BIG Architects - Sheet1
Museum of London by BIG Architects- www.big.dk
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Museum of London by BIG Architects- www.big.dk

2. Eden Soestdijk by Menacoo architecten

Type: Competition/To-be-built
Collaborators: Eden Soestdijk foundation, Kossmann.dejong, Royal HaskoningDHV.
Year: 2017
Location: Netherland

Mecanoo’s design to transform The Soestdijk Estate into Eden Soestdijk is an effort to become an educational tool for environmental awareness; the project aims to make a significant contribution to meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

An architectural greenhouse behind the palace gardens will be the centerpiece of the project and will house an interactive exhibition space.

The existing palace and gardens are to be restored to their original glory. Chambers within the Palace will showcase the estate’s history and residents and will serve as an event space.

Eden Soestdijk by Menacoo architecten - Sheet1
Eden Soestdijk by Menacoo architecten- www.archdaily.com
Eden Soestdijk by Menacoo architecten - Sheet2
Eden Soestdijk by Menacoo architecten – www.archdaily.com

3. Florey Building, Queens College, Oxford by Avanti Architects

Type: Competition/To-be-built
Size:  3,125m²
Year: 2017
Location: Oxford

The Florey Building is a hall of residence designed by James Stirling from 1967. 

The scope was to upgrade the student accommodation, introduce new teaching, resource, dining, and conferencing facilities, and enhance the grounds and setting.

The design scheme combines repair, remodeling, and new build elements that work with the essential character of the original, while sensitively integrating new functions includes en-suite bathroom facilities and gyp rooms. The project showcases Avanti’s specialized approach for a conservation-led design. 

The project also involves a comprehensive energy efficiency upgrade, using a bespoke environmental assessment method.

Florey Building, Queens College, Oxford by Avanti Architects - Sheet1
Florey Building, Queens College, Oxford by Avanti Architects- www.avantiarchitects.co.uk
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www.avantiarchitects.co.ukwww.avantiarchitects.co.uk

4. Cité Internationale de la Langue Française – Villers-Cotterêts by Snohetta

Type: To-be-built
Size:  7 377m²
Year: 2019
Location: Villers-Cotterêts, France

The castle of Villers-Cotterêts was built in the mid-16th century, is known for being the place where the ordinance, which called for the use of French instead of Latin in all legal documents, was issued.

Snøhetta’s design proposal aims at drawing juxtaposition between the intangible French language and the tangible aspects of the palace.

The exterior comprises of an aerial roof, whose shape provides beautiful views overlooking the castle’s internal courtyard and beyond. Visitors can access the rooftop via a ramp situated at the castle’s ground level.

In contrast to the roof and the original floor tiling, the interior spaces comprise of heavy wooden furniture with dark reflective surfaces. 

Cité Internationale de la Langue Française – Villers-Cotterêts by Snohetta - Sheet1
Cité Internationale de la Langue Française – Villers-Cotterêts by Snohetta- www.snohetta.com
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Cité Internationale de la Langue Française – Villers-Cotterêts by Snohetta-www.snohetta.com

5. Reconstruction of Notre-Dame’s spire by Miysis Studio

Type: Conceptual
Year: 2019
Location: Paris

Followed by the fire at Notre-Dame, Miysis Studio proposed rebuilding the spire, which was designed by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century. 

The glass-covered roof space, replacing the timber structure, would become a garden for visitors.

Beds containing planting would be arranged along the space’s edges, while full-sized trees would be planted along the center of the building.

The firm’s thought restoring Notre-Dame to its initial state would be trying to erase the fire from the history of the cathedral. 

Reconstruction of Notre-Dame's spire by Miysis Studio - Sheet1
Reconstruction of Notre-Dame’s spire by Miysis Studio- www.dezeen.com
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Reconstruction of Notre-Dame’s spire by Miysis Studio- www.dezeen.com

6. The Xianyukou Hutong by MVDRV

Type: Conceptual
Year: 2014
Size: 3400 m²
Location: Beijing, China

For centuries Hutongs have been the standard form of settlement for Chinese populations; they combine the life values and organizational model of typical rural villages at high urban densities. 

The firm takes up the challenge of introducing design interventions to Xianyukou hutong to be able to evolve and adapt this organically grown urban fabric to current and future needs. It imagines creating a hutong that is at once monumental, dense, green, mixed, and individual. The proposal aims to create a building exposition where different projects, interventions, interpretations, and strategies can be tested and displayed, for the possible future development of ‘the next hutong.’

The Xianyukou Hutong by MVDRV - Sheet1
The Xianyukou Hutong by MVDRV- www.mvrdv.nl
The Xianyukou Hutong by MVDRV - Sheet2
The Xianyukou Hutong by MVDRV- www.mvrdv.nl 

7. Thorns Church extension by BIG Architects

Type: Competition Entry
Year: 2014
Size: 350 m²
Location: Copenhagen, DK

Constructed in 1898 and designed by Carl William Frederick Lendorf, the neo-gothic church’s definition is simplicity. Plain in material and decoration, the double symmetrical, cross-shaped floor plan creates solemnity that permeates the structure.

The brief was to create a symbiosis between old and new – in both stylistic and atmospheric terms, housing community activities, support rooms, and a large hall.

BIG proposes an extension based on the existing architecture of the church. All the new functions would have been at ground level. 

Thorns Church extension by BIG Architects - Sheet1
Thorns Church extension by BIG Architects- www.big.dk
Thorns Church extension by BIG Architects - Sheet2
Thorns Church extension by BIG Architects- www.big.dk

8. The University of Oxford, Business School by John McAslan + Partners’ 

Type: To-be-built/Competition Entry
Year: 2022
Size: 350 m²
Location: Oxford, UK

John McAslan + Partners’ will repurpose the former historic Osney Power Station into a business school. Harnessing the characteristics of the Victorian structure the interventions will produce state-of-the-art teaching facilities and a 120-bedroom boutique residential wing. The striking original structural and spatial features will be retained as an open agora – a vibrant collegiate space at the heart of the facility for interaction. The design will open up the old turbine halls to create a single, highly evocative volume with upper levels and adjoining wings containing high-quality residential accommodation. 

The University of Oxford, Business School by John McAslan + Partners'  - Sheet1
The University of Oxford, Business School by John McAslan + Partners’ – www.mcaslan.co.uk
The University of Oxford, Business School by John McAslan + Partners'  - Sheet2
The University of Oxford, Business School by John McAslan + Partners’ – www.mcaslan.co.uk

9. Flinders Street Station by Hassell, Herzog de Meuron, and Purcell

Type: To-be-built/Competition Entry
Year: 2022
Size: 350 m²
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Built-in the 19th century, Melbourne’s landmark Flinders Street Station is in a less than elegant state due to a series of alterations over the years. 

A characteristic aspect of the original design is a collection of arched roofs with large vaults covering the platforms. The proposal traces the existing arches and vaults in shape and scale to define the architectural expression of the new roof.

The extended vaulted roof of the station concourse also creates a covered area for festivals, weekly markets, or other public activities – making it a public space fundamentally.

Flinders Street Station by Hassell, Herzog de Meuron, and Purcell Sheet1
Flinders Street Station by Hassell, Herzog de Meuron, and Purcell- www.hassellstudio.com
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Flinders Street Station by Hassell, Herzog de Meuron, and Purcell- www.hassellstudio.com

10. The National Portrait Gallery by Purcell and Jamie Fobert Architects

Type: To-be-built/Competition Entry
Year: 2023
Size: 350 m²
Location: Melbourne, Australia

The National Portrait Gallery brief’s architectural challenges were – to open up the Gallery, to make the Collection more accessible and welcoming, and to bring the buildings, technical and managerial infrastructure of the Gallery to the highest standards.

With these factors in focus, five key objectives were agreed upon that are:-

  • Identity and access: 

To design a new forecourt providing three times as much space to welcome and a choice to all visitors.

  • Outreach and engagement: 

To reopen the original double-height kitchen and external light well to accommodate adequate breakout space.

  • Architecture and spaces: 

To enhance the architectural qualities by restoring the Victorian galleries and by extending the café into the adjacent vaults.

  • Collection and galleries: 

Re-hanging and reinterpreting the entire Collection in fully restored and technically upgraded galleries.

The National Portrait Gallery by Purcell and Jamie Fobert Architects - Sheet1
The National Portrait Gallery by Purcell and Jamie Fobert Architects- www.purcelluk.com
The National Portrait Gallery by Purcell and Jamie Fobert Architects - Sheet2
The National Portrait Gallery by Purcell and Jamie Fobert Architects- www.purcelluk.com
Twinkle Tolani
Author

Twinkle is an architecture student from Nashik, who was schooled in Dubai. Upon being asked where she prefers living, she looks up from her fresh set of Tarot cards and says "in her own world". A good communicator, Twinkle has decided to help in bringing recognition to her fellowship.

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