Redefining the Spaces Where We Live

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Studio Pink’s Aquadocks, which has won a prize for its pool and spa proposal to regenerate London’s disused docks.

We are surrounded by exciting architectural opportunities and these can be achieved by simply applying ideas of potential and possibilities to beautiful existing infrastructure and structures found within our cities.

Some of the world’s greatest spaces we see today have been born out of buildings that have been reimagined in new and innovative ways. The latest designs do not necessarily need to be new-build structures. We are surrounded by exciting architectural opportunities and these can be achieved by simply applying ideas of potential and possibilities to beautiful existing infrastructure and structures found within our cities, both below and above ground.

Urban structures around the world are undergoing huge regeneration, and this redefinition allows us to see history through the layers of refurbishment to produce something exciting and modern, yet still connected to the past.

Cities such as London and New York are pushing the boundaries, finding inventive ways to use existing infrastructure and turn it into spaces for today. Look at Battersea Power Station: its unused framework reimagined into a destination for people to live and work and, more importantly, experience.

The possibilities are endless with what we can do with forgotten spaces — old arches, viaducts, water towers, spaces under railways — these can be used to create museums, offices, hotels, one’s home or an urban oasis.

These spaces also help to revive memories. It is crucial to keep the aesthetics of the past, by retaining the character of what used to be there, redefining and giving it a new lease of life. From industrial Crittall windows, exposed brick, and chipped paint, this is a form of nostalgia that so many of us now seek in the spaces that we visit and admire.

Dara Huang is founder of architecture and design practice Design Haus Liberty.

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