During the golden days of a buildings opening, people often go to these places such as movie theaters, churches, video stores and even classic fast food places and hotels and enjoy the best of them. But like everything in life, major changes render such places obsolete. The result, they get condemned, torn down or converted into something else to make up for the space. Months ago I seen that in a slide show display at MOMA that displays all of the old great movie theaters of New York City back in the old days when there were hundreds all over the place but now with new business practices, studio might and even the age of the internet, those places like what I mentioned before are now useless.
That is unless you’re a store owner/entrepreneur/homeowner who wants to take these potential properties and make them into special spaces. Sure there’s the argument that it’s much cheaper to tear it all down then to build it from what already exists. To them, that’s not the case take this for example:
From this article, this is the Selexyz Bookstore in the Netherlands and it’s a converted Dominican church in the 13th century. It became a lot of things before ultimately becoming a bookstore. Before then it was just a place where you park your bikes. But from the pictures, it’s the most beautiful bookstore around to date. Also there is this picture from that same article:
Then there’s this which I have scene years ago in a magazine that talks about this bookstore in Buenos Aires, The El Ateneo was once a 1920’s stage theater and now becomes a great place to read that attracts thousands each year. Then there’s something that this piece from cracked does.
Look familiar? You should if you remember the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The National Aquatic center aka Water Cube was an architectural masterpiece of the event before the whole thing was over and like every Olympic structure they fall to pot and become an economic eyesore until some developers come in and turned it into a water park. Now that’s amazing! As much as I can say for the main venue the nest which is reduced to a measly tourist attraction and its designer condemning the whole thing. Then there are bunkers and missile silos, artifacts from the two World Wars and the Cold War becoming something new altogether and become something useful as homes.
Then there are the other places in cities all over the world become other useful stuff. I know in New York City there are hold prestigious banks become Trader Joes, Duane Reades and other shops that give what is supposed to be a simple store into a great store. One that makes a customer go and say “This is a store?” In an age where we all want to see buildings made of clear, sterile glass, I’m glad there are few out here that decide to make something new from what already exists.