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Historic Structure's Shell Wraps Around Sleek New Housing Complex in Portugal

A novel way to approach adaptive reuse

What do you do with a historic building's shell? Perhaps the most straightforward option is to tear it down and start anew. But from New York City to Savannah, architects have devised innovative ways to avoid demolition in favor of schemes that give the existing structure—whatever is left of it—its due.

One such scheme, in Porto, Portugal, by local architects from the firm Studio Ezzo, involved inserting four housing towers behind an existing facade, accommodating four duplex apartments, each of which is accessed via a central open-air courtyard.

Inside, each apartment features a—quelle surprise—open floorplan living and dining room plus kitchen, with a bedroom and bathroom, all clocking in at 50 square meters (about 538 square feet). The interiors include a mix of old and new elements: new steel framing elements combine with wood floors, concrete walls and ceilings, and glass windows looking out to the interior walls of the historic structure, which are just visible, and the city beyond.

EZZO inserts four towers within existing façade in portugal [Designboom]

Scale Model of 13th-Century Basilica, Made of Wire Mesh, Rises in Italy [Curbed]

All Historic Preservation coverage [Curbed]