Monday, October 1, 2007

Architectural Appreciation

In Italy, and I am sure other parts of Europe, they have a real appreciation for things built in the past and the history behind them. I have not seen that so much in the USA. Maybe we do not build things to last hundreds of years, I am not sure the reasoning.

Recently, I was on a tour, and happened by two building which exemplify this appreciation. In medieval times, wealthy families had palaces which were large dwellings with many rooms. The families lived together in these palaces, and they had courtyards and "loggias". The loggias, were structures that had columns and arches and a roof, but no walls. They provided shade and protection from the weather and were used by the family for weddings, funerals, markets, festivals, music, etc. An example of a loggia is the one in Piazza della Signoria which houses the sculptures.

In the piazza where we were touring, there was a loggia, that had been "modernized". A glass structure was built inside the loggia to house a retail store, Bang and Olufsen. The original structure was not tampered with, and is a beautiful ancient example of the architecture of the time. I am certain the cost of building within this structure was exorbitant, but don’t you think it is worth it?

The second example is a palace that was connected to another building, as most were in Florence. The other building came to a state of disrepair, and rather than tear down the entire structure, the building in disrepair, which was not important historically or architecturally was "cut away" and a new structure built around it.

Don’t you think this is an important an ingenious way of conserving/preserving history? I wonder if Americans will value this in the same way? Certainly not some of the prefab, temporary structures that we seem to be so fond of.

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