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Many old buildings are protected by law because they are part of a Nations history.
However,some people think old buildings should be knocked down to make way for the new
ones because people need houses and offices.
How important is it to maintain old buildings? Should history stay in the way of progress?

Picture this: you are in one of the great cities of Europe, let us say Paris, and wondering
around the streets you begin to notice there is something wrong. Obviously because there is
not a single old building, neither the Dome of Invalids nor one less known, but of equal
importance (villa La Roche by Le Corbusier) which makes you feel like you are not Paris at all!
The sea of shinning blocks of glass and steel, rectangular or organic shapes is just another city
that has not survived through many changes like the real Paris did, but it is a modern, deeply
anchored in the present, with no roots, no past.

That is how the world would turn out if historic architecture did not surround us any
longer- a depersonalized medium, with one less major source of inspiration and contemplation.
Old architecture has a story to tell and therefore should not be torn down because it is seen as an
obstacle to the way of progress.

In this essay I am looking into three arguments for and two against preserving old

First, old buildings are a part of a citys culture and complexity, a spatial statement of an
era, which can contribute actively to the present city by boosting tourism and building a stronger
sense of community. In Chicago the demolition of the Prentice Womens Hospital meant not
only a loss in the architectural landscape of the city, famous for its modernist buildings, in this
case a brutalist one, but a genuine piece of history gone forever, as most of the city is built on the
ashes of the great fire from 1871, so it has a recent history.The architect, Bertrand Goldberg,
pushed the boundaries of engineering with the curb walls of concrete, often in ways more famous
modernist architects did not. The building is representative for his design principle: in nature we
do not find right angles so why should we use them? He managed to build comfortable and
pleasing spaces having in organic envelopes and that was maybe the beginning of parametric

On the other hand, there are people who claim that an old building which is no longer
used because of financial issues should be demolished to make room for another type of
building-especially if the plot has high market value. But the adaptive reuse process can be
applied almost in every cases- the building is used for a purpose other than the one which it was
designed for, after a combination of restoration, renovation and/or volumetric modification. It
can be seen as a compromise between old and new, one clever way to breathe new life into an
old building, while conserving resources and historic value. One perfect example is The Cultural
Palace from Blaj, designed in the year 1930 by the Bucharest architect Victor Smigelschi to host
ASTRA Cultural Associations events. In 1995 a violent fire severely damaged the roof and the
interior space of the main hall, therefore in 2012 the local officials initiated a project for the
rehabilitation and refunctionalisation of the Palace. The idea was to incorporate a multipurpose
hall, which could host concerts, galas, theatre plays, exhibitions etc., and which could be lit both
artificially and by daylight. The metal structure of the roof, the brick cladding from the old walls
of the hall and the suspended ceiling, gracefully floating above the spectators, remind the visitor
of the recent fire and reinforce the idea of continuity.

Also, other people say that there is no sense of preserving the historic architecture since
the construction techniques have changed, the structures are lighter, more daring, and the
architect has a wider set of tools for expressing his concepts. But if we take into account the
general situation, we see that there are more and more contemporary buildings that are made in a
hurry, with little knowledge of the materials resistance and regard of the sourroundings. Time
has tested the old structures, and if they are still standing is a proof of their durability. The old
construction systems may be outdated in some regards, but we have so much to learn from the
way we built centuries ago- the use of good ventilation, spatial relationships or illumination
methods. Syntsalo Town Hall for instance, designed by Alvar Aalto in 1949, uses in the
council chamber a special type of support for the high ceiling-two wooden struts that negate the
need for columns. Thus, this type of original structural support can be inspiring even today.

Old architecture should and must be preserved because it contains a part of our knowledge and
our past history, and perhaps its most important contribution to our society is the imaginative
effort required to make an old building feel like home again.