"Closed for Restoration," that's what the sign said as I pressed the gate buzzer with no hope of entry to Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye. The house was only viewable at a distance through the trees. Oh well, guess I'll have to fly back to Paris. . .


Located across from the Pompidou Center, Renzo Piano's expansion of a music school gives an excellent example of a typical method of building additions to existing structures. The IRCAM addition (right side of top photo) is separated from the historic structure (left side of top photo) by a glazed atrium space. A contextual link is maintained between the old and new buildings with the use of brick. The walls of the new building are composed of prefabricated metal panels, each inset with stacks of bricks (middle photo). These bricks are not held in place with mortar but by steel rods extending through the hollow cores of the brick (bottom photo of damaged brick). A separating air space between the bricks, where mortar would usually be located, is created with small metal plates. The bricks are not fixed in place and can actually be lifted slightly.

Because of the construction method for the walls, it is apparent that they provide no structural or weather protection. Their only function is to serve as a screen wall to shield the programmatic requirements of the new building and acts as a mediator between the aesthetics of the historic and new construction.





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