One Architect Is Revolutionizing How We Preserve Iconic Architecture

David Romero implements 3-D visualization techniques to revive destroyed Frank Lloyd Wright buildings

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rose and Gertrude Pauson house
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rose and Gertrude Pauson house that destroyed by a fire in 1943 imagined by David Romero
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rose and Gertrude Pauson house
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rose and Gertrude Pauson house that destroyed by a fire in 1943 imagined by David Romero

Preserving modern architecture is a favorite subject of architects and architecture enthusiasts alike, but for many, it’s often hard to know where to start. Employing unusual methods, Spanish architect David Romero rose wholeheartedly to the challenge, looking not to the buildings themselves but to the powers of visualization technology.

With his project, Hooked on the Past, Romero takes unbuilt or destroyed designs—like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Administration Building or his Rose and Gertrude Pauson house (both lost some decades ago) as well as Trinity Chapel, which was never built—and digitally restores them to their former glory with progressive 3-D design technologies.

“Hooked on the Past began because of my irritation at how poorly used 3-D visualization techniques are in the case of re-creating buildings of the past,” says Romero, who went on to lament that though many architects today are highly skilled in visualization, few resources are dedicated to this branch of research.

“The poor protection that exists in buildings built during the 20th century, no matter what their artistic value is, is a big problem,” Romero says. “My project tries to change this situation, but how to make it economically viable is a challenge.”

If there’s anything to encourage other architects to join the movement, it’s the sheer polish of Romero’s work, which has received praise and support from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, among other prominent preservationists. Romero spares no attention to detail—texture, color, and form are painstakingly wrought throughout—and for the untrained eye, it’s hard to distinguish the renderings from photographs. […]

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