Historic and modern architecture are not combined too often. Although considered very different, but equally important, our built environment is often defined by clearly separated old and new buildings. Historic architecture has its own charm and beauty – think enduring palaces like Versailles either ancient temples around the world, and it’s no secret that, at its best, modern architecture inspires: many buildings designed by figures such as Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Santiago Calatravaand Frank Gehry, among others, are some examples.
Older structures can tell us about the culture, history and values of the past; the new ones, like a force of nature, have the ability to transform a neighborhood (almost always for the better). Many refer to this as the bilbao effectterm coined after a Guggenheim museum designed by Frank Gehry helped change the Spanish city’s economy.
Economic drive aside, what happens when these modern marvels are built on or within existing buildings themselves? Although not the norm, there are times when architects decide (mostly due to preservation) that rather than building around or in place of historic structures, it is better to build on or over the original foundations. When these two worlds, the old and the new, come together, the result can be impressive. From Zaha Hadid’s extension to Port House in Belgium, which looks as if a spaceship were attached to a 19th-century building, to Daniel Libeskind’s beautiful clash of old and new at the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada, ADVERTISEMENT lists the 19 best examples of when historic and modern architecture come together to produce something greater than the sum of its parts.