Choose a side: do you prefer ‘conjunctive’ additions to buildings and cities (i.e ones that blend in and appear to have always been there) or do you appreciate ‘disjunctive’ approaches (i.e. ones that push radical aesthetic directions in new construction). In short: would you rather have some new structure seamlessly fade into the existing background … or have an added building element show the unique differences of what is old versus freshly added, a kind of signpost in time indicating the relative ages of both old and new?
There is no right answer. In some cases, one might seem more appropriate but in the end the choice is subjective – and both sides are taken every day something new is built. Fitting a building addition in with the existing environment sounds pleasant, respectful and responsible on the surface. However, projects like this one by ODOS Architects show not only the amazing potential of juxtaposing different kinds of structures – and how new construction can make us even more aware of how unique the original built object next to added one truly is.
These two very rectilinear, black-clad metal-and-glass boxes are about as different from the local vernacular architecture of the existing homes as humanly possible. Everything from thee scale of their large square windows to their shape, dark colors and smooth materials used suggests they are as much their own independent new buildings as they are simple contemporary additions to a white-painted period home. From both outside and in, they are connected physically be the experience of looking between or moving through them is one of traveling from the past to the present and vise versa. This shift from one space to the next is reinforced within the plan – the new elements serve specific functions in explicit addition to the core spaces within the main residence. Each side thereby enhances the awareness of a resident or guest to both the possibilities of new building technologies and the reality of the aged original structure.