Over millennia, architecture has embodied the notion of a permanently changing continuity. Most buildings from architectural history no longer exist today in their original form because they have been relentlessly transformed over time. In this way, they have been able to outlast epochs and to fulfil successive changing functions, for which they were not originally planned. Today, in contrast, the half-life of architecture is decreasing rapidly. It is becoming more and more common for a building to be simply torn down and replaced with a new one whenever its function or ownership structure changes. This not only places problematic additional burdens on the environment and the economy, but also causes serious loss of identity in evolved spatial structures. Today, in critical engagement with this spatial throwaway culture, an ever-increasing number of architects are investigating buildings' potential for transformation and, in their spatial and functional reinterpretations, discovering very distinct poetic potential and scope for experimentation.
(Photo: Courtesy of S AM Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum)