Events , Programs

Preservation School – Old Buildings New Ideas – Oct. 10

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

6:00 – 7:00 pm

The General Society Library, 20 West 44th Street 

This is both an Online and In-Person Program

The lecture will be followed by a Book-Signing

Architect and architectural historian Françoise Bollack will present a talk based on her new book Old Building New Ideas: An Alternative History of Additions, Adaptations, Reuse and Design Inventions. She will present an overview of 1500 years of architectural history.

Some architectural transformations are modest, some are revolutionary. Ms. Bollack will shine a light on the hidden side of the accepted narrative of the history of architecture, exploring work which transforms existing buildings to build a way forward, through adaptations, additions and visual shifts.

Studying thirty buildings across Europe, North America and South America, spanning from the early Middle Ages to the end of the 20th century, the lecture will examine the creative possibilities of working with existing buildings. Through arresting images, the talk will illustrate how formal inventions can shape architecture and our environment over time in a built world, constantly in a state of becoming. As the environment is increasingly impacted by climate, Ms. Bollack taps into our deep cultural knowledge about the inventive use and re-use of buildings. She will explore the formal inventions born of these adaptation and additions – as a survival strategy and as a strategy of artistic development. Her talk provides an alternative to the dominant view which sees conservation and preservation of historic buildings as a 20th century creation.

Françoise Astorg Bollack is an architect, architectural historian and an educator. She is a practicing architect and the founder of Françoise Bollack Architects, whose practice focuses on the design opportunities of working with existing buildings. Ms. Bollack is also an adjunct Associate Professor of Historic Preservation in the Historic Preservation program of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. In addition, she is on the Board of Directors of the Historic Districts Council and the Board of the City Club of New York and the Chair of its preservation committee.

This program is part of HDC’s Preservation School series, which helps the public understand preservation through expert presentations and discussions on a wide variety of topics.


Presented in Partnership with

The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen

OLD BUILDINGS – NEW IDEAS can be purchased online and will also be available to purchase at the talk.

General Admission: $10

Advance registration is required

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