The former townhouse looked somewhat lost in the park-like expanse. It was the only building in that part of the town to have survived the destruction of the Second World War. Previously used as an embassy, it was now being enlarged by a third of its original size according to the plans of a competent architect. Hard and self-assured, the extension stood side by side with the old building: on the one hand a hewn stone base, stucco facades and balustrades, on the other a compressed modern annex made of exposed concrete, a restrained, disciplined volume, which alluded to the old main building while maintaining a distinct, dialogic distance in terms of its design.
I found myself thinking about the old castle in my village. It has been altered and extended many times over the centuries, developing gradually from a cluster of free-standing buildings into a closed complex with an inner courtyard. A new architectural whole emerged at each stage of its development. Historical incongruities were not architecturally recorded. The old was adapted to the new, or the new to the old, in the interest of the complete, integrated appearance of its latest stage of evolution. Only when one analyzes the substance of the walls, strips them of their plaster and examines their joints do these old buildings reveal their complex genesis.
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