Compatibile. Recognizable. Respectful.
These three words are key when renovating a historic building as many centuries of history are embedded in its architecture and it will need safeguarding. Even the Italian legislator nominates these three words when giving direction to local architects and engineers. The architect/designer must become part of this complex and stratified reality, which in a certain sense dictates the rules of the intervention.
How do I make a restored house “compatibile”
First, the new use of a room or of the property must be compatible with the architectural structure of the building, without excessive distortions. For example, if you are renovating an old convent, in which convent cells are the typical traditional layout, you will not have an open plan living area!
On the other hand, a beautiful vaulted ceiling in a cantina can be the ideal living room.
TIP: be ready to dialogue with the existing findings, and integrate with your personal style.
How do I make a restored house “recognizable”
Recognition is important to distinguish with certainty the original parts from the new additions.
How can I obtain this?
– by using different materials in add-on’s or newer areas;
– by playing with colours, with the use of subdued wall paint which differ from older areas to newer ones;
– by exposing the architectural elements like arches or niches, simplifying the decoration ;
– in the walls, leaving the additions slightly undercut and / or using different materials.
TIP: safeguard the authenticity of a historical building, and highlight the alterations of the passage of time.
How do I keep a renovation respectful
Respect is the most nuanced and complex concept, as it is not described or regulated with precision but left to the sensitivity of those restoring. Yet respect is essential in any restoration, because it means understanding a building, accepting its history and all its unique imperfections.
TIP: keep what history has left you and make a design statement of the new.