Afternoon Obsession: Europe’s Sexy Adaptive Reuse of the Middle Ages

As a mixed-media enthusiast, from scrap art paintings to live-action and animated films, I appreciate creative symbiosis. In architecture and design, an amalgamation of old and new, or the right blending of styles, can create an aesthetically stimulating and functionally appealing space.

Such fusions work particularly well in Europe, where architects have access to structures dating back to the Middle Ages. Architizer highlights several renovation projects from Spain to Romania that transform 200- to 700-year-old palaces, barns and towers into residences, libraries or museums that acknowledge the past while welcoming the future. They’re also environmentally friendly.

One project, the City Museum in Ljubljana, Solvenia (pictured below), is a trip through the city’s history. Visitors begin below ground–the actual level of the prehistoric city–ascend the spiral walkway and rise through the Roman era to medieval and Baroque Ljubljana, passing original roads or material from the time periods. The museum is the renovated and expanded Auersperg Palace. (Click through for more photos of Italian libraries, Spanish towers, and Swiss and French residences that exude both an ancient, earthy warmth and a sleek, contemporary cool.)


Going Medieval: Renovating the Middle Ages [Architizer]