Tagged: New Mexico

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.

How Public Art Can Transform a City – re:Think

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Common Threads mural in Philadelphia. Image via Philly 360

“Once the province of sculptors who carved statues from huge blocks of stone, public art has evolved into an essential element of urban placemaking and social engagement. A look at the rise of public art — and how it’s changing cities.” Many public art pieces take advantage of historic buildings and places!

George R. R. Martin, Author and … Movie Theater Guy? – NPR

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The Cocteau theater was dark for seven years until Martin purchased and renovated it. It reopened in early August. Image via NPR

George R.R. Martin’s hit fiction series A Song of Ice and Fire has sold more than 25 million copies and sparked an HBO adaptation, Game of Thrones, that won two Emmys in 2013, bringing its total to 10. But many fans are grumbling that Martin hasn’t been spending enough time of late in his mythical kingdom of Westeros and its surroundings. On the list of things Martin is doing instead of writing the next Game of Thrones book? Restoring and opening an historic movie theater in Santa Fe.

The Ugliest Church in DC Will Be Knocked Down – Washington Business Journal

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Designed by a student of I.M. Pei, the Third Church of Christ, Scientist in DC is an example of Brutalist architecture. Image via NPR

A Brutalist church in Washington, DC will meet with the wrecking ball later this year after a two decades long battle.  The Third Church of Christ has wanted to redevelop the property since 1991, just 20 years after the building was constructed, because of “structural inadequacies and deficiencies.” The same year, a preservation group applied to make the building a historic landmark, an honor it was awarded in 2008. But landmark or not, a settlement has been reached and the building is coming down.

Why Should Diplomats Care About Cultural Sites and Objects? – Take Five

“Some of the most undervalued tools in the public diplomacy toolkit explicitly recognize the fact that more often than not, a nation’s sense of self is closely connected to its cultural heritage.  The value of a particular cultural monument, an example of historic architecture, or a specific artifact in a museum goes well beyond its retail or tourism value, but instead is truly priceless in the eyes of those who consider it a part of their national identity.  There are well-known examples of how disputes over ownership of such culture, including the Elgin Marbles or the Preah Vihear Temple, have led to tense international relations and even armed conflict.  Few are aware, however, of how we routinely use cultural heritage to our advantage in public diplomacy.”

Sign of the Times: When Renovation Means Erasing the Past – NY Times

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Simon Schubert’s “Untitled (Large Hallway),” 2013. Image via NYT

The fetish for destroying historic houses to feed the hunger for infinite white space has led to a global style of architectural homogeneity.  For the first time in history, the more money you’ve got, the emptier your home is. The Victorians were criticized for their ‘horror vacui,’ the fear of empty space that led to rooms cluttered with bookcases, pictures and bric-a-brac. The new rich suffer from the opposite condition:  ‘amor vacui,’ or the love of empty space. Across the world — from London to New York, from Paris to Florence — the new tycoons’ houses have become vacuums.”

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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

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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

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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

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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

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“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”

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.

Moving on from Gentrification to Shared Neighborhoods – HuffPost

This article asks, “Can you have revitalization, reinvestment, renewal without some level of gentrification?” The answer is, probably not, but the author does offer, if not a solution, a compromise.  “Shared neighborhoods” (called “economic integration” elsewhere), is the concept of carefully planning and managing the revitalization of economically depressed areas so the result is a mixed income neighborhood that is able to retain some of its original residents.

Rio’s Shanty Towns See Rapid Gentrification – NPR

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Inside Rocinha favela Rio de Janeiro brazil 2010. Image via Wikipedia.

New policing policies in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil intended to clean up the cities notoriously dangerous favelas has quickly led to new businesses (restaurants, yoga!), residents (mostly foreigners), tourism (boutique hotels,  travel guides!), and rising property values (from $2,500 to $75,000 for house in 6 years!) .  This unchecked gentrification (in contrast to the article above)  is already displacing long time residents.  If you are interested in learning more about other unintended consequences of Rio’s new policies, check this story as well, also from NPR.

New Mexico Atari Dump, A Midden of Video Games, To be Excavated – Western Digs

“How old do remnants of our material culture have to be before they’re considered artifacts? If you’re a gamer, not very old at all.
This week, Canada-based game developer Fuel Industries got approval from the city of Alamogordo, New Mexico, to excavate the site of the so-called Atari Dump — a desert landfill where the famous video game manufacturer Atari buried hundreds of tons of broken and outdated merchandise in 1983.  For gamers, the Atari Dump is the stuff of lore…”

Coolest Tree House Ever Has Salvaged Historic Elements – houzz

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Best. Tree. House. Ever. Image via Houzz

I would like think this tree house is nurturing a love for history and historic preservation in a generation of kids! Click through for more photos and a description of this 100 sq ft beauty!

The Fight Over Gezi Park – Tom King

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Image via Tom King

King weighs in over the controversial development in Istanbul that has caused wide spread protest and media coverage this week. “The proposal, we’re told, is to use the site [of Gezi Park] to build a replica of the long-ago (1940) demolished Taksim Military Barracks, which will be used as a shopping mall. ” And developers are twisting historic preservation ordinances to make it happen.