If you’re bored of barn conversions and tired of two storey extensions, take a look at some of the world’s more unusual and interesting renovation projects. From facelifts to fires, these ambitious redevelopments will make your renovation feel like a walk in the park.
Jinxed by financial troubles and poor visitor statistics, the Millennium Dome was a project fated from the start. Cue some clever renovation though (with a little help from around £6m), and the O2 arena was born, a phoenix from the ashes. Now a thriving entertainment district, the complex is set to play host to some of the 2012 Olympic Games. If ever there was a renovation success story, this is it.
Lean on Me
Constructed from white marble, the Tower of Pisa began to lean shortly a few years after building began in 1173. After a hundred year long break, engineers began to work to correct the lean, only to find they’d miscalculated, and the tower began to lean the other way! Said now to be stable for the first time since construction began, due to the removal of many tons of earth, cosmetic work still goes on to bring the Tower of Pisa back to its former glory.
The Cutty Sark was a fully restored ‘museum’ clipper, situated in a dry dock in London’s Greenwich. In 2007 a fire raged through the ship causing dramatic damage and undoing years of expert renovation. Many people, ranging from film directors to some of the world’s richest people have donated the necessary funds (said to total £35m) to help complete the restoration and improvement of the Cutty Sark, proving that she is not only one of London’s best-loved attractions, but is admired the world over.
Windsor Castle hails from William the Conqueror’s time and dominates the Berkshire town of Windsor. The birth place of King Edward III in 1312, the castle has stood firm throughout wars, unrest and many changes in monarchy but it was in 1992 that a fire caused extensive damage to many of the castle’s treasures. At a cost of £37m, the renovations to repair damage were completed in 1997, mixing faithful reconstruction with convenient modern updates to living quarters and public areas.
2009 will see the re-opening of the newly renovated Savoy Hotel, closed for a makeover costing around £100m. Famously home to actor Richard Harris in the years leading up to his death, the hotel is undergoing extensive work to modernise its interior. Prior to its closure, many of the Savoy’s furnishings were sold at auction, including the ballroom’s parquet dance floor!
From little acorns do giant oaks grow – you never know, your small-scale domestic renovations could spark a real passion, or perhaps even the start of a new career! History has seen some amazing renovation projects, with budgets that most of us can only dream about. If your creations are keeping you awake at night, be thankful that at least the eyes of the world aren’t watching!