Styles of the City: When Old Meets New

One of the things that consistently fascinates me is how people continue to use older buildings. Updating and renovating and repurposing are continuous, if you want to continue to live in an old structure. Or you can just cram your brand new skyscraper in behind a building that’s fifty years older, as in this first photo, and just let the structures swear at each other.

But there are more sensitive updatings. This museum building was, clearly, built to be as classical as money could buy. Every older museum in the US was built by men who were educated to revered Greece and Rome. But the Greek temple look is not well suited to the demands of the 21st century. And frankly it’s a lot colder here than in Athens. So at some point somebody inserted some high tech windows behind the pillars, probably about the time that HVAC was installed. Now all the art can be climate controlled, people don’t have to sweat or shiver, and the windows are only noticeable to the sharp eye.

But pop around the corner of the museum and you can see a later addition. Eat your heart out, Vitruvius, who cares about Greece and Rome when you can stab a building through with structural glass? This insert doubtless lets light into the interior of a gloomy old-fashioned building, and possibly allows yet more HVAC to be installed. Notice also that they added another entire structure, in glass, on the roof.

I am informed that the next step is to roof over this plaza entirely. At that point this spear of glass may be removed or altered, to make way for the new construction. If and when they do it I’ll get pictures.



About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.


Styles of the City: When Old Meets New — 1 Comment

  1. There are a lot of old and new structures swearing at each other in P town. I’m rooting for the old.

    As for remodling, there’s a lot more talk and little action. I don’t see that museum changing it’s outline in my lifetime.

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