There have been some impressive refurbishments of famous landmarks through the years — for our special renovation issue, we rounded up five of the most interesting and challenging!

Leaning Tower of Pisa

The precarious lean is what makes this tower so famous, but the constant tilt puts the landmark in danger of toppling. In 1990 the tower was closed, the bells removed and cables were used to anchor the building before 38 cubic metres of soil was removed from the raised end to straighten the building. In 2008 another 70 metric tons were removed and engineers announced the tower had stopped moving for the first time in its history.

Haussmann’s renovation of Paris

Napoleon III chose Georges-Eugene Haussman to redesign and revitalise the overcrowded, dangerous and unhealthy city that was Paris in 1853. He constructed and widened boulevards and added two thousand hectares of parks, but the homogenous Haussmann apartment buildings that line the streets of Paris are possibly the most famous feature of his renovation.

Brisbane City Hall

The swampy site chosen in the early 1900s for Brisbane’s City Hall meant large-scale restoration works were needed by 2010, the total cost of which came to $215 million. The building was refitted to cater for events and public gatherings; now the only administrative offices that exist are the suites for the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor.

Out of this world renovation

The ageing Russian ‘Mir’ space station was commercially leased to MirCorp, who attempted to sell tickets to ‘citizen explorers’ – most notably the first ‘space tourist’ Dennis Tito. Investors sent a two-man crew in 2000 to the dormant station to locate and repair an air leak; after 73 days the mission was ended successfully, surprising most critics.

The Savoy Hotel in London

The Savoy was the first luxury hotel in Britain and introduced electric lights and lifts when it opened in 1889. It has since hosted famous guests such as Claude Monet, Oscar Wilde and Coco Chanel. Over a century later the Savoy underwent a £220 million refurbishment to restore it to its former glory.