As buildings age, adaptive reuse presents an exciting opportunity to link the past with the present. But when it comes to modernist architecture—in which the concepts behind a building are intrinsic to its material execution—how do you preserve the intangible?
In Volume 5 of Architecture Philosophy, the International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture (ISPA) features “The Future of Modernism: Architectural Intention and Adaptive Reuse,” by Associate Director Frank Mahan and architectural professional Van Kluytenaar.
In the article, Mahan and Kluytenaar posit a radical shift in theories of historic preservation and adaptive reuse when applied to modernist architecture. Using Lever House, 510 Fifth Avenue, and the United States Air Force Academy as examples, the two argue that the preservation of the ideas behind modernist designs—the architectural intent rather than the literal materials—are paramount to a building’s preservation and adaptation.
The article grew out of a keynote lecture Mahan delivered at the International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture’s Biennial Conference in 2018, held at SOM’s Polaris Hall on the campus of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.