A view of modern and old glass and brick architecture in London

Successfully combining historical and modern architecture doesn’t happen that often. Marrying different, and often contrasting, architectural styles and ensuring the contemporary addition doesn’t outshine the historic building, or new doesn’t jar against old, can be particularly tricky. However, when done thoughtfully, the results can be incredible. Modern renovations can successfully preserve the original while also bringing something fresh, new, and inspiring.

Bringing together old and new architecture can create awe-inspiring results. Here are five examples of when modern and historic architecture meet in harmony to deliver something far better than the sum of their parts.

1.    Grand Central Station, Leicester

Leicester’s Great Central Station had been vacant for almost 50 years until it underwent a full restoration as part of a £50 million regeneration scheme. The Victorian station now houses a bowling alley, mini-golf course, and a space for pop-up events. Our experts took on cleaning and restoring the façades of the station, which had remained untouched since the station closed in 1969. We began by undertaking cleaning test trials to evaluate the building’s condition and identify the most appropriate cleaning methods. The project included paint removal and sensitive façade cleaning to the underlying brick and terracotta façade using steam cleaning. Now fully restored, it can once again sit proudly as a jewel in Leicester’s crown.

2.    Port House, Antwerp, Belgium

Port House is the Antwerp Port Authority’s headquarters. It was created by renovating and extending a derelict fire station to form a sustainable and future-proof workplace. Following detailed historical research and an evaluation of the site and existing building, Zaha Hadid Architects designed the extension to resemble a sailing ship’s hull. A protruding bow and the sides of a diamond facing the Kattendijk dock reference Antwerp’s links with the diamond industry. An incredible 900 tonnes of steel combined with concrete pillars hold the glass workspace above the former fire station. A bridge joins the two structures providing the staff with a 360-degree view of the public square and the River Scheldt below. The hall that once housed fire engines is now a library and public reading room.

3.    York Theatre Royal, York

Refurbished in 2016, the York Theatre Royal added a new front to its street façade to transform the theatre’s space and visitor experience. The theatre was built in 1744 and has undergone several alterations. The most recent addition is a beautiful marriage between old and new. The radical redesign created two new lobbied entrances, foyer space and new glazing. The theatre’s 1967 extension was carefully refurbished to reinstate the original design by improving furniture, floor coverings, replacing the roof lights and upgrading the lighting to give the Grade II listed building back its design coherence.

4.    Kunstmuseum Moritzburg, Halle, Germany

The Kunstmuseum Moritzburg was built in the late middle ages and is one of central Germany’s most impressive castles. Originally the lavish seat of archbishops, the Thirty Years’ War saw it reduced to rubble. Over the years, the building took on various roles and styles. However, in 1904 it became home to the municipal museum of arts and crafts in the east and south wings. Over one hundred years later, a renovation project began to restore the ruins on the north and west side and provide additional museum exhibition space. A modern aluminium-clad roof and skylights respectfully complete the historic shell.

5.    Brooklyn Museum, New York City

The Brooklyn Museum was built in 1895 and is home to around 1.5 million works, making it New York’s second-largest art collection. In 2004, the building underwent an extensive renovation, adding a stunning $63 million glass entrance. The 15,000 square-foot pavilion creates a striking juxtaposition to the museum’s traditional façade. Within the pavilion, the original brick pillars that once supported the five front doors were restored and left permanently exposed to show the building’s original foundations.

Improvements in design and building techniques and a greater choice of materials ensure that architecture will continue to evolve. However, innovation and modernisation don’t mean compromising our heritage. When done sympathetically, a renovation can successfully marry old and new to create a beautiful building for the future that respects the past.

We are conservation driven in our philosophy and approach to masonry cleaning and building restoration, with experience on a range of historic and listed stone and brick buildings. If you’re interested in getting your building professionally cleaned or restored speak to one of our experts today.

You may also like

Historic Commercial Buildings: A Restoration Guide

The UK is renowned for its historic architecture. In England alone, there are as many as 500,000 listed buildings. Almost every village and town in Britain has buildings with a Tudor, Victorian or Edwardian twist. Today, companies large and small are choosing to do business from historic buildings which are now being used as commercial… Read More

Stone Cleaning Experts
Façade Skins

Today’s façades reflect commercial intent, push design boundaries, change environments and showcase engineering capabilities. Are modern day façades merely used as a tool to showcase design progression and engineering egos? Are we considering the façade skin and the role it plays in influencing the urban landscapes of our future? With so much emphasis placed on… Read More

Stone Cleaning Experts
Future façades

As the global economy tries to recover from its last dip, huge investments are being made in the construction industry, both in established and emerging markets. It’s anticipated that the volume of construction output will grow by more than 70% to achieve an annual worth of $15 trillion worldwide by 2025 (Source: Global Construction Perspectives… Read More

Get in touch


01234 964016

or email



Building Transformation’s unquestionable honesty and enthusiasm for ensuring the client receives the correct whole-life solution (rather than a quick fix) resulted in us being able to ensure the building was not only returned to its former glory, but will stay that way for years to come. I would recommend them to anyone.

Kenny Gash - Carillion Amey

The work provided by Building Transformation was excellent. Their product and building exteriors knowledge is detailed, comprehensive and practically applied to the client’s needs. They offer a professional, detailed, high-quality and customer- focused service which meets the short, medium and long-term needs of the client, and provides practical, cost-realistic advice.

Kerry Quinn - Echo Arena

Customer service is paramount to Building Transformation and they invested vast amounts of time in providing me with a programme to facilitate what was a very complex and time-specific programme of work for the site. The quality and level of support provided by Building Transformation is priceless to any client/contractor.

Marc Blow MCIOB MBIFM - Carillion Amey

The approach and advice on setting up the works at the Wolverhampton Civic Centre were first-class. Building Transformation’s attention to detail was excellent and the RAMS were followed meticulously to every detail. We were delighted with the works and service, and would not hesitate to use them again, nor hesitate to recommend them to any organisation.

Kevin Egginton - Wolverhampton Council

A 200,000 sq. ft., four-storey leisure venue in the heart of Nottingham city centre surrounded by major traffic routes needed work to be done overnight to deal with the traffic issues, while the site remained open throughout. The project took around three weeks to complete and went exceptionally well; the Building Transformation staff were flexible and able to work round dynamic operational issues. The clean was of a high standard and has made a significant different to the image of the building. A very difficult job done well.

Suzanne Green - Land Securities

May & Co have worked with Building Transformation on a number of projects which have included external building cleaning and refurbishment. They provided a great service, supported by the high level of documentation from the initial quotation to books and industry-related guidance, all relevant to our project.

Anton Theobald - May & Co

I am very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. Also the level of cleaning provided and attention to detail is much appreciated.

Waqas Bin Tahir - Ibis Southampton

I am using Building Transformation’s work to help justify façade restoration works around our business.  They have produced excellent presentations on what can be achieved and is a brilliant piece of informed marketing that is helping slowly win people over in our business to take façade cleaning and restoration more seriously.

Needless to say Building Transformation is a name that is now becoming known and respected.

Simon Attwood - Broadgate Estates Ltd.

Building Transformation gave great communication throughout our projects.
It will be my pleasure to recommend Building Transformation.

Sarah Cameron - My Hotels Group

Just signed off the job with Richard. Myself, the bosses and the tenant all are very pleased with the work. It definitely looks rejuvenated just a case of painting the concrete window surrounds in the new year to finish it off. Have found your company and staff very professional and helpful which has facilitated a project with minimal inconvenience and disruption to our in situ tenants.

Mark Hollinshead - Headruddy Property Development

I had a walk around today with Dave and am impressed with the work so far.  Dave and the team have done a great job.

I’d certainly love to work with you in the future so perhaps before the job is completed we could look at what opportunities there are for the future.

Marie Green - Novotel Sheffield

At this stage, from my point of view your team has been extremely professional, informing us of what was happening at all times and most importantly no disruption whatsoever to our guests and business.

Ludovic Verzi - Novotel Leeds

We are very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. The operatives on site were very professional and communicated to us at all times.

Maria Pinana Mateu - Science Museum

The team at Building Transformation understood our challenge of finding a facade cleaning solution that would initially restore the glazing to its original state, protecting our building for years to come. Through intelligent and thorough testing right through to the full restoration of Block D, we have been very satisfied with the project management and delivery of the cleaning programme.

Colin Pilkington - Renaker Build Limited

Thank you for all the work that you carried out in cleaning the outside of our school.  We are delighted with the results.  You have managed to completely remove heavy staining from many areas around the building.

We found you extremely easy to work with: your quote was reasonable, you carried out the work quickly and you were very flexible in terms of timings.

Tamsin Griffith - Courtney Road Primary School, Bristol

have worked with Building Transformation on several projects within the hospitality industry and have found
them to provide high levels of professionalism and workmanship.


e will definitely be working with you again! Your engineers were very polite and accommodating every time they visited site and have done a first class job. I will be recommending Building Transformation to everyone!

Mark Healy - One Facility


Speak to one of our team today call..

01234 964016