All posts in Preservation
A Monumental Makeover
Five top landscape firms join forces to save the National Mall Tidal Basin
Did Elizabeth Hirsh Fleisher build Philadelphia's modernist stone pavilion? The answer may save it from demolition
Part of the appeal of Ladyfag’s parties is their transient nature, appearing in previously undiscovered spaces and always moving. “I like to create my own connection with a space, with my crowd,” she said. “That way, when they come there, they think of it as that party or that space that I created as opposed to something in a bigger picture.” Holy Mountain, which Ladyfag held at Slake on 30th Street for four years, exemplified her parties’ punk, trashy experience: The narrow staircases were always gridlocked, the air-conditioning regularly failed, and the lighting was mercifully low. “Everybody told me it will never work because it’s on 30th Street and nobody wants to go to Midtown,” she said. “And they’re right. But it worked, everybody loved it.” The party eventually moved to Brooklyn when Slake was bought for redevelopment. Queer nightlife has a knack for finding such disused venues, bringing them to filthy life for a year or two, and then slinking off as the development teams approach. Being so short-lived, such parties and venues become instantly mythologized. Andrew Durbin’s 2017 novel MacArthur Park reads as a nostalgic ode to the Bushwick nightclub Spectrum at 59 Montrose Street, which had only closed one year prior to the book’s release. Spectrum—where coats were checked into garbage bags and thrown onto a pile in a corner while sweat dripped from the so-low-I-can-touch-it ceiling; where you were discouraged from lingering on the street out front because the venue wasn’t, strictly speaking, legal—instantly became the epitome of the grungy, DIY sensibility of Brooklyn’s queer nightlife, a sensibility which welcomed a nostalgia for itself even as it was happening. For Ladyfag, who got started when no one wanted to come to Brooklyn to party, the tables have turned. “Now everyone’s in Brooklyn,” she said, “and I’m like, I’m going to go back to Manhattan.” In the past ten years, nothing has affected queer nightlife more than social media. When Ladyfag first moved to New York in 2005, social media hadn’t yet dominated our lives. “We had the internet, but we didn’t have that constant knowing where everyone is at all times,” she said. “If you didn’t go out, you were alone. It was a totally different New York.” The rise of social media—specifically dating and hookup apps—significantly changed queer people’s reliance on bars and parties to find each other. “People don’t have the need to go to bars as much,” Dolkart said. “Like other commercial places, the internet has really taken over. Bars were not only social spaces, they were spaces where people met for sex, and then on to meet people to go home with. That’s kind of petered out.” As bars could no longer solely rely on the promise of sex to entice patrons, the rise of drag culture offered an alternative drawcard. Drag has always been a fixture of LGBTQ venues, but as RuPaul’s Drag Race jump-started a resurgence of the art form, it underwent its own Brooklyn renaissance. The drag performer Untitled Queen discovered Brooklyn’s drag scene in 2012. “All of these creatives descended into this nightlife scene,” Untitled said. “I think we romanticize ourselves as dirty punk, but there really were a lot of people experimenting and trying new stuff out. At the time, the bar scene became really hungry for drag.”View this post on Instagram
This experimental drag scene congregated in warehouses in Greenpoint and Bushwick, bars such as Metropolitan, Tandem, and Sugarland, and parties like Bath Salts at Don Pedro, a venue that Untitled remembered being “disgusting. There was old carpet and all the performers did lots of stuff with food and blood and alcohol. It was a very liquidy, gross show, and it was awesome.” In 2012, Untitled Queen performed at the first Bushwig, a drag festival cofounded by drag performer Horrorchata. Bushwig initially took place at Secret Project Robot, another Bushwick venue that has since disappeared. “That was an art gallery space, very DIY,” Horrorchata said. “I don’t even know how we did three years there because by the second year it was just so big.” Now in its eighth year, Bushwig takes place at the Knockdown Center, the festival’s home for the past four years, an immense converted warehouse space with huge windows and masses of outdoor space. “I think for some people they imagined it would lose its edge, and it has not at all,” Untitled said. “The family and the door opens wider, and people still feel the same energy.” To define a space as queer comes, more than anything else, from those who inhabit and transform it. “I think a queer space for me is if the promoter is queer, the event is queer,” Horrorchata said. “For example, at Knockdown, whenever we have Bushwig, we have a meeting with security and make sure there’s no gendering, no ‘Mrs.,’ no ‘Ma’am.’ It’s super nonbinary. We try to educate them and let them know this is going to be a queer space for the next weekend, and these are the rules.” Ladyfag’s events invite the same openness. “Queer to me is still this radical kind of gayness,” she said, “and in a queer space, if you call it a queer space, you’re making a statement of inclusivity.” In 1994, on the 25th anniversary of Stonewall, Dolkart took part in a conference on gay space. “There was an interesting conclusion that was reached at the end of the day, that there were no gay spaces, with the exception of bathhouses. There were no gay spaces, there were spaces that gay people put to use. And I like that. I think that our site is very much about that. It’s about places that gay people have made their own, and with nothing unique about the design of those places—whether it’s a bar or a theater or an apartment—they’re the types of spaces that you find in New York but that gay people have made their own.”
Rios Clementi Hale utilizes rolled steel and industrial detailing to activate historic ROW facades
Bringing new life to the historic Los Angeles Terminal Market, Rios Clementi Hale (RCH) designed ROW DTLA to reinterpret the industrial nature of the Southern Pacific Railroad’s major produce hub. Reimagining the site where goods were once unloaded from railroad cars and delivered across Southern California, the team designed new storefront systems for ROW that embraced the site’s historic character through industrial materials and raw utilitarian details.
Building upon the existing concrete storefronts throughout ROW’s 30-acre campus, the project transformed the long warehouse-style structures by using steel facade systems and street art. Each building featured different storefront and facade designs. RCH’s approach uses modern storefront systems that would support new pedestrian retail activity, but also feel at home within the historic industrial facades. The team utilized a palette of cut metals and neutral tones alongside artists’ murals, and storefront systems by facade manufacturers StileLine and U.S. Aluminum Corp.In the Produce Buildings, the team specified aluminum storefronts with a wide-flange header and sill. To create strong indoor-outdoor connections in the office lobbies, the team designed a custom steel angle divided light system that is visually thin to allow visibility through it. For building two, RCH worked with House & Robertson Architects and StileLine to create steel storefronts with custom concrete sills. The approach is echoed in building three, where the custom sills are placed alongside refurbished original steel windows and aluminum storefront windows with a one-inch IGU. This also where Flush Front Storefront was used and Solarban 70 glass, specified for its transparent, color-neutral aesthetic and solar control. RCH creative director Sebastian Salvadó explained the restoration and facade systems used throughout the spaces, saying that, “For the Produce Building’s retail facades, we used crisp aluminum frames combined with steel wide flanges to add a level of detail along the more intimately scaled shopping street. In the industrial warehouse-style buildings, we used a rolled steel frame system. The tough, institutional quality, with its exposed screws and ability to span tall heights, worked well with the massive concrete warehouse buildings and their tall, first floor spaces.” The existing produce market, where L.A.’s bodegas have long sourced their fruits and vegetables, was left largely unchanged. At the southwest corner of the site, a cascading rooftop park was added to a new 10-story, 4,000-space parking garage. The greenery along its walls was designed to be emblematic of the landscape approach, which encourages nature to gradually encroach on the old industrial site. Together, ROW DTLA incorporate 100 years of Los Angeles history into a 21st-century commercial district that links Downtown L.A. to the burgeoning arts district. RCH creative director Sebastian Salvadó will present the ROW DTLA at Facades+ LA on November 14 as part of the "Adaptive Reuse and Context" panel.
LGBTQ History Month
Six LGBT historic sites declared NYC landmarks
“When first I was put into prison some people advised me to try and forget who I was. It was ruinous advice. It is only by realizing what I am that I have found comfort of any kind. Now I am advised by others to try on my release to forget that I have ever been in a prison at all. I know that would be equally fatal. It would mean that I would always be haunted by an intolerable sense of disgrace, and that those things that are meant for me as much as for anybody else - the beauty of the sun and moon, the pageant of the seasons, the music of daybreak and the silence of great nights, the rain falling through the leaves, or the dew creeping over the grass and making it silver - would all be tainted for me, and lose their healing power, and their power of communicating joy. To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development. To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.”
Parking Over Preservation
Historic Detroit newspaper building will be razed for 12 parking spots
“We have more parking spaces downtown than ever before, with nearly 40 percent of land in downtown Detroit devoted to this use," the group wrote to city council. "But somehow, we are convinced we need 12 more spaces where the historic Detroit Saturday Night Building stands today. This is a building that might otherwise be redeveloped for housing, business, and retail space. World-class cities are not defined by how much parking they have."Detroit Saturday Night was published from 1907 to 1939. The news outlet moved into a bigger location, an Art Deco building also designed by Smith, Hinchman & Grylls, after 15 years on West Fort Street.