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Stone, SH., 2008.

Spolia."Invited keynote speaker

Output Type:Conference paper
Presented at:Re-habitation of Existing Buildings Conference
Publication:Gli interni nell progetto sull'esistente, ISBN 978-88-7115-561-6
Venue:IUAV Venice

Spolia, an archaic term rarely used outside of the study of Roman and Medieval antiquities, describes the practice of recycling existing architectural elements by incorporating them into new buildings.

The word itself is derived from the Latin spoils, a phrase used to describe the act of taking trophies, usually armour and weaponry, from the enemy after a battle. The spoils of war would either be worn as trophies or used to decorate the victors' houses and temples. In architecture and design spolia traditionally refers particularly to the re-use of the elements of the classical column: the shaft, base, capital and entablature. Spolia is a tactic that relies on contingency, availability and ease of supply. It relies on the materials that are to hand and the ease of their reuse and it is a tactic that relies on a collage like approach to reconfiguring buildings.

The use of spolia is a device that can be seen in the practice of many contemporary designers and architects. The appropriation of elements from different sources, and the reuse of details or fragments from other contexts, can be seen in the work of Ben Kelly, LOT/EK, and many other designers. This paper will explore the work of those and others.

Spolia accepts traditions, patterns and language. It suggests the application of a meaningful approach to design that reads and then revises existing meaning in a place. In this paper we will suggest that spolia is a device that has been long neglected, we shall examine various techniques of using it as a viable tactic for building reuse and the creation of interior space.