Tagged: architecture

This Week

A weekly round-up of my favorite preservation related stories from around the web and in the newsClick on the title of each story to jump A weekly round-up of my favorite preservation related stories from around the web and in the news.

Prentice Hospital Could Become Modern Architecture’s “Penn Station Moment” – Next City


Prentice Hospital, designed by architect Bertrand Goldberg, opened in Chicago in 1975. Image via Next City

The campaign to save Chicago’s mid-century Prentice Hospital, set to be demolished this week, brought preservation into the forefront of the national urban design discussion in way not seen for a long time.  Though the Prentice campaign ultimately failed, it may not be for naught.  In the 1960s, the demolition of New York City’s Penn Station ignited the preservation movement. It was the catalyst for new laws and it raised awareness for the importance of our built heritage. The author of this Next City article hopes that,  “The fall of Prentice offers a similar fulcrum in the wide public appreciation of modernist architecture, and in the renewal of a movement that must show its relevance to the challenges cities face in the 21st century.”

The 4,500 Year Old City of Mohenjo Daro Is Crumbling And No One Is Stopping It – Smithsonian Magazine


Image via Smithsonian Magazine

“Mohenjo Daro likely was, at its time, the greatest city in the world. Roughly 4,500 years ago, as many as 35,000 people lived and worked in the massive city, which occupies 250 acres along Pakistan’s Indus river.  Mohenjo Daro sat beneath the soil for thousands of years, a preserved relic of the ancient Indus Valley civilization. But excavation exposed the city to the elements, and now, says the Telegraph, the ruins may have as little as 20 years left.”

The Architecture of Sunlight – Preservation Journey


The Icelandic Opera House. Image via Preservation Journey

“By late summer, you may have found an understanding for the sun, or you may be longing for winter’s clouds to return. August, with its grass brown from heat and sun, leads much of the world to rediscover their porches, the cooler spaces in their homes, and the welcome cross-breeze that can be created by opened windows. An ever-present force that guides lives by its presence or lack there of, the sun has played a role in architecture for thousands of years. Perhaps the first thing you think of is a place like Stonehenge: a monument rumored to capture certain angles of the sun. But the sun goes much further than this. The sun has been a construction aid in places like the southwest United States, it has necessitated front porches and breeze ways in places like the South, and in countries like Norway its varying presence has influenced design to maximize light.”

Ten Tips on How to Support the Adaptive Reuse of Historic Buildings – Preservation Nation


This former toy warehouse in downtown LA was converted into loft apartments. Image via Preservation Nation

This tool kit from the National Trust’s blog includes ten tips for promoting reuse in your own community and lots of examples of successful reuse projects.  The tips range from using social media to supporting businesses that use adapted buildings.  Check out all the tips  and see five great projects by clicking through !

This Week

A weekly round-up of my favorite preservation related stories from around the web and in the newsClick on the title of each story to jump through to the original article/blog post.

10 Forgotten Lessons of Mid-Century Design– Build


Image via Build

I don’t know that these principles are necessarily forgotten or that they existed only in mid-century design, but they are definitely rare these days. You don’t see many mcmansions with small cozy bedrooms, naturally scaled proportions, or interiors that really invite the outside in.

Breaking Bad’s Reality – Four Dirty Paws


Aaron Paul (as Jesse Pinkman) in a photo mash-up outside the Dog House in Albuquerque. Image via Four Dirty Paws

The hit AMC series Breaking Bad builds a highly textured and believable reality by using real sites in and around Albuquerque, NM.  The blogger at Four Dirty Paws tracked down some of the places featured in the series, including the unique mid-century car wash owned by Walt and Skylar and the quirky Dog House Drive Thru. If you are a fan, check it out!

Reversal of Fortune – 99% Invisible

“I fell in love with architecture on the Chicago River. It provides a beautiful vantage point to take in all the marvelous skyscrapers. Unlike other cities that cram you on the sidewalk between looming towers.  The Chicago River pushes buildings apart, giving you the opportunity to really take in the city’s glory in glass, steel, and concrete. But Chicago’s biggest design achievement isn’t a building at all—it’s the Chicago River itself.” The REVERSED it’s flow!

Rare Fore-Edge Paintings Revealed at University of Iowa – Colossal


Image via Colossal

“A few days ago Colleen Theisen who helps with outreach and instruction at the Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa shared an amazing gif she made that demonstrates something called fore-edge painting on the edge of a 1837 book called Autumn by Robert Mudie. Fore-edge painting, which is believed to date back as early as the 1650s, is a way of hiding a painting on the edge of a book so that it can only be seen when the pages are fanned out. There are even books that have double fore-edge paintings, where a different image can be seen by flipping the book over and fanning the pages in the opposite direction.”

GHF 2.0 – Time Tells

time tells

“Wanna lose a million dollars a year? Take a general store and turn it into a house museum.” Image via Time Tells

“Now of course I screamed and shouted to save buildings, but for over thirty years I have understood preservation/conservation to be an economic strategy. I recognize the distinction between the museum and the everyday to be an artificial distinction. You can raise money to preserve a museum piece, to be sure, but you need to keep raising that money – forever. I soon realized that the majority of preservation happens not by removing objects from our everyday and our economy, but by placing them at the center of our everyday economy. By exploiting their use value”

Preservation Is…

A building does not have to be an important work of architecture to become a first-rate landmark. Landmarks are not created by architects. They are fashioned by those who encounter them after they are built. The essential feature of a landmark is not its design, but the place it holds in a city’s memory. Compared to the place it occupies in social history, a landmark’s artistic qualities are incidental.

Herbert Muschamp, American architecture critic

Elephant , Atlantic City, NJ 50s1

Lucy the Margate Elephant was built by a land speculator in 1881 hoping to attract visitors and property buyers to his land holdings on the New Jersey shore. Over 130 years later, she is a beloved landmark and is still a tourist attraction!
“The back of this beautiful postcard from Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1950′s, reads:
The only elephant in the world you can go through and come out alive. This famous building was erected in 1885. The elephant contains ten rooms; its interior is visited by thousands.” Image via NextNature

quote via Reader Area Development

Did You Know?

Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky is the oldest continually operating distillery in the US?* Its 130-acre facility includes 4 centuries of architecture that is well-maintained and fully operational!**


Buffalo Trace Distillery sits on the Kentucky River in Frankfort, KY. Image via geocommons

*During Prohibition, Buffalo Trace was granted permission to produce whiskey for “medicinal” purposes.

**You can take a virtual tour of the distillery to see more if its historic architecture here! Or you can peruse a timeline of the distillery’s 200+ year history here.

The Empire State Building and Presidential History

The Empire State Building illuminated for the 2012 Presidential election. Image via the New York Daily News

Last night media outlets competed for viewership by illustrating election results in new and appealing ways.  There were running tickers, fancy graphics and maps.  Every station pulled out all the stops, bells and whistles, but my favorite was CNN who partnered with the Empire State Building to display the electoral tally in the NYC skyline.

The 102 story skyscraper has been a Manhattan landmark for 81 years. Completed in 1931, it was the first building to have more than 100 floors and was the tallest skyscraper in the world until 1972 when it was surpassed in height by the World Trade Center.  After 9/11 it was New York’s tallest building until the World Trade Center 1 building’s recent construction.  Unlike most NYC skyscrapers, all four sides of the Empire State Building can be seen from the street making it a suburb choice for displaying the election results.

The meter atop the ESB shows the electoral college tally at 8:23 PM. Image via The Huffington Post.

The top 16 floors of the building are tiered or stepped, a shape typical of Art Deco architecture.  Its distinctive Art Deco spire was originally designed as a mooring mast and depot for dirigibles. Don’t know what a dirigible is? Neither did I!  Dirigibles are airships – as in Zepplins and blimps!  The 102nd floor was intended to be used as a landing platform and gangplank for airships to dock.  This plan proved to be unsafe and was quickly abandoned.   A large broadcast tower was added to the top of the spire in 1953.

For the election, the stepped portion of the building was patriotically lit in red, white, and blue LED lights.  The mast was turned into a vertical meter – two sides lit with red lights, two sides lit with blue – to show Romney and Obama’s race to 270 electoral votes.

The ESB’s electoral meter showing the final tally for the 2012 Presidential election. Image via Digital Spy.

While this is the first time in its history that the building has been used as a meter, it is not its first brush with presidential history.  The building officially opened on May 1, 1931 when President Herbert Hoover turned on the building’s lights by pushing a button in Washington, DC.   The following year, tower lights were used atop the building for the first time to signal the victory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt over Hoover.