19 Beautiful Examples of Historic and Modern Architecture Coming Together

It doesn’t happen often, but when old and new architecture are joined in a thoughtful manner, the results can be dazzling

modern structure on a historic building by the riverPhoto: Alamy Stock Photo

City of Fashion and Design (Paris)

Paris’s City of Fashion and Design is located along the banks of the Seine River. Designed by local firm Jakob + MacFarlane, the structure was built within old general stores. What used to be a site that lacked a discernible character is now instantly recognizable by the ultracontemporary, bright-green structure on its exterior.

Night view on the illuminated Port House building by the waterPhoto: Getty Images/Ross Helen

Port Authority (Antwerp, Belgium)

Designed by the inimitable mind of Zaha Hadid, Antwerp’s Port Authority building is quite literally like no other building on the planet. When completed in 2016, the renovation and extension took a once-derelict fire station and transformed it into a new headquarters for the port. Today, the new structure houses the port’s 500 staffers, all of whom previously worked in separate buildings around the city.

blue skies over a modern allglass building built atop an older buildingPhoto: Getty Images/William Fawcett

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg (Hamburg, Germany)

When it opened in 2017, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg was considered by many to be the most exciting venue to hold a concert in the world. The Herzog & de Meuron–designed structure sits atop an old warehouse that was built in 1963, and in a short span of time has already become the most internationally recognizable building in the city.

steel structure between historic buildingsPhoto: Alamy Stock Photo

St. Antony’s College (Oxford, England)

Leave it to Zaha Hadid to design an ultramodern structure within the campus of the oldest university in the United Kingdom. But that’s just what she did with this stainless-steel façade that bridges buildings within Oxford’s Middle East Centre, a department that studies the humanities and social sciences in the modern Arab world.

exterior of art museum at duskPhoto: Nikreates / Alamy Stock Photo

Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto)

The Royal Ontario Museum has a rich past that can be studied by the building’s architecture. It was first built in 1914 in a neo-Romanesque style, only to be later renovated in an Art Deco–inspired form. By 2007, Daniel Libeskind added a multimillion-dollar extension made primarily of glass, aluminum, and steel.

residential buildings with taller new york skyscrapers in backgroundPhoto: Bruce Damonte

Stealth Building (New York City)

Designed by the New York–based firm WORKac, the Stealth Building is a residential structure that is located in a city with strict architecture codes. When the renovation of this beautiful cast-iron building was being debated, New York City’s Landmarks Commission required that any rooftop be completely invisible. That’s where the skill of the architects came into play, as they withdrew the rooftop so that it could not be discerned by any bystander for several blocks.

exterior of a modern and historic building next to each otherPhoto: Patrick Bingham-Hall

Space Asia Hub (Singapore)

Designed by the Singapore-based firm WOHA, the Space Asia Hub was built within and around two former homes. These villas stand in stark contrast to WOHA’s ultramodern, all-glass cubelike structure that’s connected to it. Today, the space is an upscale retail and gallery hub.

historic church with a modern additionPhoto: Jordi Surroca

Sant Fransesc Church (Santpedor, Spain)

Originally built in the early 18th century by Franciscan priests, Sant Fransesc Church was abandoned by the 19th century. By 2000, the structure was in hideous shape. That was until architect David Closes redesigned it, adding, among other elements, an eye-catching entrance to the building.

aerial view of buildingsPhoto: Getty Images/Michael Kappeler

Jewish Museum Berlin (Berlin)

Opened in September 2001, the extensions to Berlin’s beautiful Jewish Museum were designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. In total, the museum comprises three buildings, making it the largest museum dedicated to Judaica in Europe. While the original structure was completed in 1933, the two additions were designed by Libeskind. The architect used a zigzagging, disrupted design to further push the theme of how extremely difficult and uprooted the Jewish experience was during the Second World War.

exterior of building with person walking outsidePhoto: Maurice Savage/Alamy

York Theatre Royal (York, England)

Renovated in 2016 by the London-based firm De Matos Ryan, the York Theatre Royal added a new front to its street façade. While the original structure has been an active theater site since the mid–18th century, the building has gone through a series of additions. This most recent addition goes a long way in proving the marriage between new and old can be a beautiful one if done right.

old building below a new buildingPhoto: Getty Images/Milan Maksovic

The Union of Romanian Architects (Bucharest, Romania)

Located in heart of the Romanian capital city, the Union of Romanian Architects building was originally built in the late 19th century in the French Renaissance architectural style. When it was agreed the building was to be renovated, the architects were required to build on top of the original structure, since it was a historical landmark. The end result shows how much architecture has changed over the centuries, both in style and in preferred materials.

View of The Dancing House is a deconstructivist building from NationaleNederlanden designed by the CroatianCzech...Photo: Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Dancing House (Prague, Czech Republic)

Prague’s playful Dancing House, constructed in concrete and glass with two curved deconstructed pillars, was a joint project between Czech architect Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry. Built for the investment bank Nationale-Nederlanden, Gehry’s original name for the building was Fred and Ginger, referring to the famous Hollywood dancing couple, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The dynamic structure sits between 18th- and 19th-century buildings, though some have criticized they way it stands out among the city’s many Baroque, Gothic, and Art Nouveau buildings. These twisting cylinders—nicknamed “The Dancers” and designed in 1996—house a museum, offices, and a restaurant. There is also a rooftop terrace with a breathtaking panoramic view of Prague’s Old Town.

Designed by Opus 5 Architectes this music school in Louviers France was designed and built in 2012 over the ruins of a...Photo: Luc Boegly and Opus 5 Architectes 

L’École de Musique et de Théâtre (Louviers, France)

Designed by Opus 5 Architectes, this music school in Louviers, France, was designed and built in 2012 over the ruins of a monastery. The site of the former Convent of the Penitents is now home to a contemporary stone-and-glass structure that includes an orchestra hall and auditorium. For the architects, the building’s glass ceiling was an important element of their vision for the school. Their aim was to preserve the building’s history while introducing a touch of modernity.

Winery with large ribbonlike architectural addition

Hotel Marqués de Riscal (Elciego, Spain)

This luxury hotel in Álava, a province in the Basque Territory in Spain, was designed by architect Frank Gehry in 2003 as an expansion of an earlier building dating from 1858. Initially dedicated to wine production, the Spanish owners and Gehry transformed the project into an extraordinary hotel complex—in fact, to this day, it’s the only hotel the starchitect has ever designed. Built atop the earlier winery, the avant-garde sandstone and titanium hotel opened its doors in 2006 and has become almost as famous as another building in northern Spain by Gehry: the Guggenheim in Bilbao, which is roughly 90 minutes by car from the hotel.

19th century building with a large dome on topPhoto: Prisma by Dukas / Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

Museum de Fundatie (Zwolle, The Netherlands)

In the Netherlands, a modern dome from the future was added to the roof of the Museum de Fundatie. The imposing addition on top of a 19th-century building creates a unique juxtaposition. The museum’s original building was designed by the architect Eduard Louis de Coninck between 1838 and 1841. It served as a courthouse and then government offices before being transformed into its current use in 1994. When the dome addition was unveiled in 2013, the building became a symbol for the town and an icon of contemporary architecture.

Not just a combination of historic and modern architecture this Hermès store designed by MVRDV represents the evolution...DARIA SCAGLIOLA,© 2016,Daria Scagliola & Stijn Brakkee,Rotterdam

Crystal Houses (Amsterdam)

Not just a combination of historic and modern architecture, this Hermès store designed by MVRDV, represents the evolution of historic to modern architecture. Wanting to honor the character of the original building, which sits on a historically residential street, the architects used glass bricks for the lower half of the building. The top follows the traditional architectural vernacular of the area, and the bottom conforms to common retail aesthetics with its transparent façade.

Via Architectural Digest 

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