A weekly round-up of my favorite preservation related stories from around the web and in the news. Click on the title of each story to jump through to the original article/blog post.
Louis Sullivan: The Struggle for American Architecture – Preservation in Mississippi
First, watch the trailer for this documentary about Louis Sullivan. Second, watch the documentary. The cinematography shows Sullivan’s beautiful and abundant details to their best advantage – it’s just a gorgeous film! And it tells the fascinating story about an uncompromising artist and the impact he made on American architecture. He may not be as famous as Frank Lloyd Wright, but Wright may never have achieved the greatness he attained without Sullivan pioneering the way.
Tom King, telling it as he sees it (as usual). “I said I did not believe that Congress enacted the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) in order to provide opportunities for quasi-academic specialists to engage in pedantic debates about words use in technical publications. NHPA was enacted, I think, to ensure within reason that government would respect the cultural values citizens ascribe to their surroundings. In the 1980s, seeing such values becoming subordinated to the narrow interests of archaeologists and architectural historians, Pat Parker and I proposed, and with the support of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) and ultimately NPS, wrote what became NRB 38. A few years later, another arm of the NPS cultural resource program (an organism with many arms but no brain) issued Preservation Brief 36 about the care and feeding of cultural landscapes. Unsurprisingly, nobody in NPS tried to coordinate anything about the two publications, which created a fruitful field in which to grow pickable nits and splittable hairs. So now we are back again to a situation in which specialists can expend their often well-remunerated time expounding on technical irrelevancies, while the public and its representatives nod off or grope for understanding.”
Ciudad Perdida: The Urbanism of the Lost City – Time Tells
When we think of cities and urbanism, we tend to think of well-defined skylines, roads, railways, shipyards etc. “The modern city was about effortless transportation and commerce, about erasing barriers to speed, whether vertical or horizontal. The skyscraper and the highway, massive and modern.” But in this blog post, Vince Michael shows us 6th century urbanism in Columbia.
R is for Railing – Preservation in Pink
In this post PiP gives us a rundown of historical railings, some common problems and a few common solutions. Railings might not be something we notice about an historic structure, but they can be a defining feature. Inappropriate changes or replacements can dramatically alter the appearance of a structure. Make sure to read the comment from Mary Landis about the Merchant’s House Museum in New York City, which recently discovered its iron fence was panted green in the 19th century!