When old meets new – 3 inspirational building transformations

31 August 2017 Kingspan Group
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Derelict, disused buildings can often lie dormant for decades, acting as cold reminders of a time long since passed. Businesses and homebuyers often avoid purchasing these older buildings as they can be expensive to run and less energy efficient than their newer counterparts.
 
However, sometimes a developer will see the potential of a crumbling construction and decide to restore it. The result is often an antique aesthetic combined with a modern and innovative design.
 
Here are three examples of unoccupied buildings, which were recently thrust forward into the 21st century:

1. Musée d’Orsay, France

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The Musée d’Orsay is a Parisian art museum which is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay - a 20th century train station which ceased operations in 1939. However, the abandoned station was deemed a suitable site for redevelopment due to its beautiful Beaux-Arts architectural design.
 
In 1974, three young architects were assigned to redesign the exterior, while the interior of the building was designed by Italian architect, Gae Aulenti.

By December 1986, the murky, disused railway station was transformed into a modern spectacle. Today, the Musée d’Orsay attracts over 3 million visitors each year.
The Musée d’Orsay complements the surrounding architecture, which includes the Louvre. Its design is modern, but also maintains some of the building’s original features, including glass awning and the grand hall.

2. Experimentarium, Denmark

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Experimentarium is a world-class science centre in Copenhagen. Based in the harbour of the Hellerup district, it aims to stimulate the scientific minds of children and adults with its interactive exhibits.
 
The Experimentarium was established in 1991, but was redesigned and reopened earlier this year with a striking new look. Danish architects, CEBRA architecture, designed the new Experimentarium.
 
The building was previously a bottling plant for beer brand, Tuborg. When it came to transforming the building, architects had to work around its limited size. So, CEBRA set about expanding the facilities within the structure and effectively doubled the space available for exhibitions.
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A glazed exterior was designed with an aim of connecting the project with the city. But the building’s original brick base was also kept, providing the structure with a concrete link to its roots.
 
The project, which was strongly inspired by science and technology, used Kingspan Insulated Panels’ KS1150 TL and KS1150 FR wall panels for their excellent thermal insulation properties.
 
The centre is now a proud beacon of modern design within the Hellerup district of Copenhagen and provides an excellent example of how old and new can come together to create something extraordinary.

3. The Church and Friary of St. Francis, England

Originally built during the 19th century, this gothic-style church was designed by Edward Pugin for Manchester’s Franciscan community. It served as a prominent place of worship for nearly 100 years before it was abandoned in 1989. Its disuse eventually led to degradation.
 
In 1997, the church and friary buildings were placed on the World Monuments Watch Fund of 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world.
 
After years of campaigning by a local charity group and with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and the European Regional Development Fund, the friary was completely restored.
 
Now, its stunning architecture attracts thousands of visitors every year. Its modern edge also means it’s a popular venue for events.
The decision to use Kingspan Insulated Panel products during the renovation of the Experimentarium was down to their excellent performance, as well as the high level of technical service and experience provided by the local team in Denmark. You can find out more about Kingspan Insulated Panels here.

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