Spolia

Graeme Brooker, Sally Stone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterior tools interior tactics: debates in interiors theory and practice
EditorsE. Hollis, A. Milligan, F. Hay, D. Plunkett, J. Fleming
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherLibri Publishing
Pages223-233
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781907471148
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

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    Brooker, G., & Stone, S. (2011). Spolia. In E. Hollis, A. Milligan, F. Hay, D. Plunkett, & J. Fleming (Eds.), Interior tools interior tactics: debates in interiors theory and practice (pp. 223-233). Libri Publishing. http://www.libripublishing.co.uk/art-and-design/interior-tools-interior-tactics