Architectural Voices - Listening to Old Buildings
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More About This Title Architectural Voices - Listening to Old Buildings


If a building could speak, what would it say? What would it sound like? Would it be worth listening to? This book treats buildings as deeply human creations - built by people for people; they come to embody the dreams, imaginings and stories that take place within them.

David Littlefield and Saskia Lewis argue that buildings have voices and that it is worth listening to what they have to say. By focusing on elderly structures that are the subject of reinvention, this book examines how the buildings guide architects and artists. These reinventions, or re-imaginings, are not merely examples of straightforward conservation, nor simple exercises in contrasting old and new; they represent a more sensitive, personal approach to creative reuse. The authors' accounts of more than 20 historic buildings and their interviews with the people responsible for renewing them, demonstrate that the poetic qualities of the places we inhabit are not limited to just architectural style.

In this book, the voices of an abandoned cathedral, a former brothel, a stately home and a Royal Mail sorting office reveal themselves. Listening to these voices opens up a new dimension to understanding the lives and meanings of old buildings.


David Littlefield is an architectural writer. He has a master’s degree in Interior and Spatial Design and has taught design at the London University of the Arts (Chelsea) and the University of Bath. David writes for a wide range of architecture magazines, notably BuildingDesign.

Saskia Lewis trained as an architect. She currently teaches at the AA and the Bartlett UCL. She has also run programs in Architecture and Spatial Design at London University of the Arts (Central Saint Martin's and Chelsea), University of Westminster and London Metropolitan University. She has practiced in offices in London, Paris and New York and has exhibited work that deals with memory, decay and the passing of time.


"Romantic little collection of meditations on old buildings." (RIBA Journal, November 2007)

"...a rich mix...beautifully illustrated...lots of seductive photographs..."  (Building Design, Friday 9th November 2007)

"...essential reading for anyone undertaking a renovation scheme, regardless of scale, particularly in such uncertain times."  (Showhouse , January 2008)

"A collection of fascinating essays…raising fundamental questions…"A collection of fascinating essays…raising fundamental questions…" (Designer, February 2008)

“… well illustrated in colour throughout with good quality photographs illustrating the buildings written about and the points made.” (