Fascinated By Ruins

There’s a fascination frantic
In a ruin that’s romantic

Gilbert, W.S. The Mikado, or The Town of Titipu. Dorset Press, 1932.

(super cute version by Groucho Marx and his daughter Melinda)

People have been fascinated by ruins for centuries. Visual arts, literature, pop culture, architecture, cultural philosophy, … you name it! They’re all suckers for ruins. Johan Pas states in his article Ruins & Reconstructions that this obsession is linked to modern thinking:

“The cult of ruins is connected with the birth of modern thinking. The so-called Renaissance was triggered when artists and architects considered the ruined fora, palaces and temples of Rome as monuments for the first time, giving them the right to be a ruin” (35).

When we’re on a vacation we want to visit ruins, wander around in them, experience and take pictures of them . But for some people these short visits are not enough. A housing trend of the past years is renovating ruins into livable spaces. The website Archdaily shows us the project House of Ruins which was designed by NRJA and has won successively the Gran Prix for the Latvian Architecture Prize in 2005 and the Best Technology Award in the Interior Digest Magazine in 2006. This house was also nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award in 2007 and it has won the price for Building of the Year in the category “houses” in 2009. This Latvian family house was built inside the walls of a nineteenth century ruin of a barn with a lot of respect for the original ruin.

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What a beautiful project don’t you think?

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