DETAIL IN REUSE: NECESSITY OR VIRTUE?
Refurbishment projects of existing buildings raise some issues of technical and
technological retrofit, which are particularly relevant in the management of
details. In the addition of new equipment, partitions, systems, and – last but not least – in
the treatment of existing surfaces, detail design often coincides with the mere
application of technical and regulatory requirements. Hence, it follows a logic of
necessity, often compromising the form and quality of the pre-existing space
consequently. When introducing new elements, detail design is indeed a necessity,
but at the same time, it can be an opportunity for virtuous operations.
The management of the conflict between new realizations and the incoherence of
the existing fabric – for example, when performing interventions on valuable
historical buildings – can trigger an approach to detail with a capital D.
Aspects such as joints, rational connection between parts, and the critical and
methodological separation between the new and the ancient can be guiding
principles for small-scale technical solutions and technological and material choices,
complying with the inherent requirements of interventions.
If this focus is combined with the figurative and compositional design of detail
aspects, this experimentation field can be turned into a virtue, hence quality, and a
verification method for the project.