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The Globe and Mail

Buildings that revive the old, add the new

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Will Alsop’s Sharp Centre for Design in Toronto. The building is the only Canadian example cited in Old Buildings, New Forms: New Directions in Architectural Transformations, by Françoise Astorg Bollack, a preservation architect based in New York City. The book features 28 projects illustrating what happens when contemporary design imagination encounters and transfigures old buildings. The Sharp Centre is a ‘parasite’ – according to Ms. Bollack’s terms - flying high in order to preserve the views of Grange Park from nearby apartment windows, but interacting with the aesthetically pedestrian headquarters of the Ontario College of Art and Design University, its host organism, below. Hoisted aloft on giant toothpicks, connected to the main building below by a bright red chute, the Sharp pavilion celebrates both the collision of the old and new, and their institutional symbiosis.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

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Architectural firm of Della Valle + Bernheimer created Empty Nest, an additiuon to a residential building in a Boston suburb.

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Empty Nest started with a simple, symmetrical, pitched-roofed and otherwise traditional house in a Boston suburb. The owners asked Della Valle + Bernheimer to fashion an extension.

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The addition’s form is a radically simplified riff off the older dwelling, but is distinguished from it by the cladding of walls and pitched roof with zinc sheets. Several homely grace-notes connect it to the old house it’s attached to – the windows in the zinc walls are framed with warm wood, for example. “These small modifiers take the chill out of the diagram,” Ms. Bollack writes, “and add subtle domestic touches that give the building a fascinating poetic complexity.”

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Cover, Old Buildings, New Forms, Francoise Astorg Bollack

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