Some stunning pieces of architecture are eventually neglected, abandoned, or even planned for removal. However, some structures are simply too spectacular to be lost to time. These five structures are ideal instances of historic structures being used for new uses without losing their original beauty.
A train station that was first constructed to assist draw tourists to Paris, France’s 1900 World’s Fair, subsequently underwent a complete makeover. The Gare d’Orsay was designed by Victor Laloux, Lucien Magne, and Émile Bénard and boasted numerous contemporary amenities like luggage ramps and elevators that made navigating the station much simpler.
The station could no longer hold the larger electric trains that were replacing the earlier trains as rail technology evolved. In 1939, the station was shut down. The station was completely abandoned after a brief period of usage during the Second World War. Restoration work on the station started in the 1970s, and in 1978 it was designated as an official historic monument. A museum opened there in 1986.
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The structure, which was built in 1912 and was formerly known as the church of Santa Barbara in Llanera, Asturias, had been left empty and in decay for many years. It felt like a hopeless cause with its deteriorating walls. However, a group of individuals organized fundraising initiatives in order to bring it back to its previous splendor. They made an effort to transform the church into something entirely new.
The building blends in with the typical Spanish architecture from the outside, but once inside, vibrant, geometric murals painted by Madrid street artist Okuda San Miguel bring the structure to life. The space, which is now sometimes referred to as the “Sistine Chapel” of skating, was converted from a chapel inside to an indoor skate park.
El Ateneo Grand Splendid
Many tango luminaries played at the Teatro Gran Splendid when it was first constructed in 1919 as a great theater for the performing arts. It was the crowning achievement of architects Peró and Torres Armengol, with lovely balconies, frescoed ceilings, and luxurious crimson stage curtains.
The theater was transformed into a movie theater in 1929, and it presented the first sound film in Buenos Aires, Argentina. However, the building’s operation as a theater was short-lived, and it was ultimately planned for removal. Fernando Manzone, an architect, managed the theater’s conversion into the El Ateneo Grand Splendid, a bookstore and music store, at a cost of $3 million ARS. The area still displays those stunning original elements.
The Selexyz Dominicanen was constructed as a Catholic church more than 700 years ago, and it is situated in the Netherlands. Napoleon Bonaparte considered the huge, lofty structure to be the ideal place to keep supplies and soldiers during his rampage during the French Revolution. Napoleon eventually left the deconsecrated church after he was finished with it.
The structure has continued to be used as a storage facility, an archive, and more recently, bicycles, throughout the ages. The structure was transformed into a three-story bookstore in 2005, and today it impresses guests with its exquisite interior design and distinctive architecture.
Originally constructed in 1921, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa formerly served as the region’s commercial hub. The silos were once a complex of 56 silos and an elevator, and they were the tallest structures in Africa. It was essential to protect them because of their importance to the city.
The complex was chosen to house a museum, and the architects redesigned the area in a way that honors its historical significance. Large sections of the building’s facade were preserved, while the interior was cut out to resemble a larger grain of corn, which symbolized the building’s original use. These amazing structures are only a few instances of the breathtaking architecture that should never be destroyed.
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