Tagged: Demolition

Preservation Is…

Architecture has been called the art of building beautifully, a fixation of man’s thinking, and record of his activity…  Keep in mind that last phrase. It is important.

-Ernst Johnson, architect, professor, colleague of Eero Saarinen
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The Wenner Gren Building on the campus of the University of Kentucky, designed by Ernst Johnson, was constructed in 1941 to house the university’s aeronautic engineering lab. It was later used to train chimpanzees for NASA. It is slated for demolition next year. Image via the Lexington Herald Leader
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Did You Know?

Recent calculations indicate that it takes about 65 years for an energy efficient new building to save the amount of energy lost in demolishing an existing structure.

The best of both worlds. The Green Building in Louisville, Ky is both LEED certified and historic. Image via The Green Building

The best of both worlds. The Green Building in Louisville, Ky is both LEED certified and historic. Image via The Green Building

-The National Trust for Historic Preservation

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.

Retro Slim Aarons Pool Side Photos – Apartment Therapy

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Lounging in Bermuda. Image via photographersgallery.com

Get your weekend off to a dreamy early start by clicking through this photo gallery of  mid-century poolside snaps by photographer Slim Aarons.

Thorncrown Chapel in Arkansas – Colossal

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Image via Colossal

The Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas is considered one of the crowning examples of organic architecture in the US.  Built in 1980, it was designed to be “a weightless, almost translucent structure that offers sweeping views in all directions of the surrounding Ozark habitat. In keeping with the organic design of the chapel [architect E. Fay Jones] asked that no construction element be larger than what two people could carry through the woods by hand.” Because of it’s significance in design, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000 when it was only 20 years old! Now it is being threatened by a power company that has has applied to build a 48-mile high voltage transmission line through Northwest Arkansas that will cut through the woods right next to the chapel. For those interested, the Arkansas Public Service Commission is accepting comments from the public regarding the proposed power line construction. You can also read much more over on Hyperallergic.

Houses in Disrepair Have A Place in History – The Columbus Dispatch

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The Gamble House, and historic landmark in Cincinnati, was demolished earlier this year. Image via WCPO

In Ohio (and around the country),  millions of tax payer dollars are being used to demolish historic buildings in an effort to rub out blight. What this 1960s solution (that history proved with empty lots 50 years later isn’t actually a solution) neglects is that these buildings didn’t get this way on their own.  Property owners and cities allowed them to fall into disrepair. As the author notes, “A 100-year-old house in Europe is a baby. Some houses in Britain, France and Germany are three or four times older than those in our country. The point is that the houses are in bad shape not because they’re old but because they were allowed to fall apart.” And while not all houses/buildings are historically significant because someone famous slept there, they make up the historic character of neighborhoods and cities. “Without them, the character changes. And, if history repeats itself, the new character will be defined by a gaptoothed landscape of weed-filled lots.”

Epic St. Petersburg Palace – Curbed

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The Gothic Hall. Image via Curbed

A rare historic palace on St. Petersburg’s famous English Embankment has come up for sale and is sure to attract interest from some of Russia’s newly minted billionaires. The only trouble? The price is so high, it is only available upon request. Recently used as bank offices, the 18th-century palace was built for “Duke Trubetskoy, one of Peter the Great’s favourite companions” and was passed down through the noble generations until the property was nationalized in 1917. Now restored with input from conservators at the Hermitage and State Museum, the commodious house has been returned to its original use as a single-family mansion for Russia’s ruling class. The 39,000-square-foot structure features 22,000-square-feet of preserved historic interiors, including an ‘Armoury Gallery, the Hunting Room, the White Hall, the Knights Hall’ and the especially ornate ‘Gothic Hall.'”

1 Main Street, Apt. 16, DUMBO, Brooklyn – The Corcoran Group

I’ll just let this video speak for itself!

 

Happy weekend, ya’ll!

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.

 

Shocking Demolition of Frank Lloyd Wright Design – Hyperallergic

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“Hoffman Show Room in 1955 (photographed by Ezra Stoller, via steinerag.com”

The Frank Lloyd Wright designed Mercedes Showroom (ca. 1957) on Park Avenue was quietly demolished this week. The showroom, which had been vacated by Mercedes in 2012 at the end of their lease. “As Crain’s New York reported, on March 22 the new owners were called by the Landmarks Preservation Commission to convey the city’s consideration of designating the showroom a landmark. Just after this on March 28 is when the owners of the building, Midwood Investment & Management and Oestreicher Properties, reportedly contacted the Department of Buildings for a demolition permit, which was approved that day. As Matt Chaban with Crain’s wrote: ‘Ironically, it was the Landmarks Commission’s good intentions, and a disconnect between it and the Department of Buildings, that doomed the dealership.'”

Cleveland Celebrates Superman, Its Hometown Hero – NPR

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“Panels from Action Comics No. 1, the first Superman comic, adorn the site of illustrator Joe Shuster’s former apartment building, long since demolished.” Image via NPR

Cleveland is known for a lot of things: its rust belt city status, losing Lebron to the Miami Heat, Harvey Pekar, the Indians, Rock and Roll… Superman? Not so much. But, as it turns out,  Superman’s creators Jerry Siegal and Joe Shuster are Cleveland’s native sons. As we approach the 75th anniversary of the “Man of  Steel,” Cleveland is looking to promote Superman’s roots. ‘There’s only one Cleveland, there’s only one Superman. And why is it that we don’t embrace our legacy, our past, our history?’ asks Mike Olszewski, who heads the Siegel and Shuster Society.” Check out this fun article to hear how Cleveland plans to commemorate its super hero heritage.

The Problem With Calling Cities ‘Post-Industrial’ – Atlantic Cities

“Former heavy manufacturing hubs around the Great Lakes like Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee often get roped together under the heading of “post-industrial” (when, that is, we’re not otherwise identifying them by their prevalence of rust). The term poses at least two problems, though: Industry still exists in many of these places, and the very notion of defining them by their relationship to the past can hamstring us from planning more thoughtfully for their future.”

The Return: What Happens When You Revisit a Memorable Place? – Preservation Nation Blog

“I recently spotted this great piece about re-reading books that we loved. Author Guy Gavriel Kay says, ‘There’s an anxiety I feel when picking up a book I loved when young, preparing to read it again. I think it has to do with how we define ourselves, in part, by what we’ve loved. Books (not only books, of course) that reach deeply into us at twelve or seventeen or twenty-two shape the person we see ourselves as being.’ Substitute ‘book’ with ‘historic places,’ and his words still resonate.”  How do you feel about historic and/or significant places when you revisit them as an adult? Are there any places too sacred to your childhood to mar with an adult’s critical eye?