Posts tagged with "National Register of Historic Places":

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Gowanus Canal superfund cleanup might derail historic district designation

As New York City’s federally mandated cleanup of the toxic Gowanus Canal continues to ramp up, efforts to install sewage tanks at the head of the canal could end up destroying several buildings that would help the neighborhood qualify for a national historic district designation. The decision to buy out three private parcels along the canal comes after local community pushback canceled the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) initial plans to install the 8-million-gallon detention tank under the nearby Double D Pool and Thomas Greene Park. Instead, the DEP will now buy out the three parcels for a cost of up to $70 million. If the owners refuse to sell their land, the city will begin a lengthy eminent domain process to seize them. Apart from the monetary costs, leveling the existing buildings at 234 Butler Street, 242 Nevins Street and 270 Nevins St. for use as a staging area during the construction could damage the neighborhood’s standing in the eyes of the National Register of Historic Places. If local officials were to submit Gowanus’s low-lying, historically industrial waterfront for preservation, it’s likely that the construction of the tank would affect the area’s eligibility. The 100-year-old 234 Butler St. in particular stands out for its terra cotta and brick façade, with the Gowanus name emblazoned in brick on the building’s cornice. Residents of the Brooklyn neighborhood rallied to protect the former Gowanus Station upon learning that the EPA and DEP would be tearing it down. In a press release to the borough president, Linda Mariano of Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus, said, "Its design and sculptural elements tie directly into the history of the Gowanus neighborhood's relationship with water. It can and should be saved." In a letter to the EPA, Olivia Brazee, Historic Site Restoration Coordinator with State Historic Preservation Office, wrote that “Its demolition would adversely affect both the building and the National Register eligible Gowanus Canal Historic District.” While an attempt was made to have the neighborhood officially realized as a state and national historic place in 2014, community intervention ultimately led to the plan being shelved. The DEP and EPA will need to come to an agreement on the location of the detention tank before the canal’s dredging finishes in 2027, but if installed, would reduce wastewater runoff into the canal by up to 91 percent.
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America’s public land is under threat. What can architects do to protect our national resources?

Although debating the ideal size, role, and scope of the federal government is one of America’s great national pastimes, there has typically been surprisingly broad and consistent support for the Antiquities Act of 1906, a landmark conservation law passed by Congress and enacted by President Theodore Roosevelt 111 years ago.

The law, generally speaking, grants the United States government—particularly, the President—broad authority in designating federally owned lands as national monuments. The effort is made as part of a federally recognized network of protections, which includes the National Park Service, in order to retain and perpetuate public use of wild, scenic, and culturally significant landscapes. The Antiquities Act is responsible for securing some of the most sublime and irreplaceable landscapes the country has to offer, such as the Grand Canyon, Giant Sequoia National Monument, Devils Tower, and Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, for current and future generations. The act, more or less, protects America’s—and Americans’—most literal and shared heritage: land.

But like so many other cultural and political norms and traditions under the new presidential administration, the Antiquities Act is facing an existential threat.

This April, President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. Department of the Interior not only to review 27 specific national monuments created under the last three presidential administrations but also to review the law itself, calling the Antiquities Act a “massive federal land grab.” President Ronald Reagan has been the only president not to name any new national monuments; President Trump is threatening to be the first to rescind existing monuments.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent the summer observing the new monuments—including Bears Ears National Monument, in Utah, which was expanded under President Obama and has drawn ire from local landowners and politicians. Zinke completed his review in late August but is keeping the findings close to his chest, revealing that “some changes” were in store, without making the report fully public (at press time). It is expected, however, that Bears Ears Monument will shrink in size—current estimates predict it will be reduced from 1.35 million acres to just 160,000—but that, according to Zinke, the government would “maintain federal ownership of all federal land and protect the land under federal environmental regulations.” The move is fiercely opposed by Native American communities, including the Navajo Nation and Hopi and Zuni reservations, which surround the monument.

For now, we wait to see the full extent of Zinke’s report. And while we do not know where the administration’s review of the Antiquities Act itself will head, the effort—when combined with unsuccessful motions to backtrack on Obama-era methane-emissions regulations, successful measures allowing for increased mining runoff into streams, and incentivizing programs for coal projects on federal lands—it is clear the president intends to tarnish the nation’s lands in concert with violating its institutions and norms.

In the same way that architects have led the way in saving architectural relics via support for historic preservation and the National Register of Historic Places—also administered by the Department of the Interior—we must become more vocal in our support for retaining and, in fact, expanding public access to public lands. The National Park System is currently languishing with a $12 billion backlog of repairs. Efforts like the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Hands-On Preservation Experience (HOPE) Crew, which connects young people to preservation-related trades through on-the-ground work, is a positive first step, but more work and support are needed.

As with historic preservation, national monuments exist to perpetuate and preserve our most meaningful and compelling spaces and can, moving forward, even work to highlight forgotten or marginalized histories and cultures. Natural landscapes, like cultural landscapes and historic structures and neighborhoods, are vital to the architectural profession and the country alike.

The federal government should keep its hands off these lands, and architects would do well to fight publicly for their protection. 

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Failed bat tower felled by Hurricane Irma is collectively mourned

The architecture left demolished by hurricanes is sometimes difficult to measure in scale and cost, but one structure recently toppled by Irma on Florida's Sugarloaf Key has prompted an entire community's collective mourning. The Bat Tower is well-known for many reasons, chief among them the fact that it contains exactly no bats. It was commissioned in 1969 by a developer named Richter Clyde Perky who was hoping to curtail the rampant local mosquito population by propagating bats (a natural predator) within an artificial roost. Measuring 30 feet tall, the Gothic-inspired, shingled pine and cypress structure was adapted from a set of plans by "city bacteriologist" Dr. Charles Campbell, who developed the roost's design after studying bats in west Texan caves. The interior featured roosting units in a honeycomb pattern, and bats could enter through a tall array of shutters on a dormer-like protrusion. Its construction cost $10,000 in total, which was quite a sum for the time and even today. https://twitter.com/abandonedfl/status/908507959784824832 Campbell's goal was to eradicate malaria by reducing the mosquito population, using bats as the liquidating agent. In contrast, Perky  just wanted to draw recreational fisherman to the Florida Keys, and mosquitos were bad for business. The Tower was meant to function as a natural insecticide offering some relief to the residents of the adjacent travel lodge he built—named, creatively, Sugarloaf Lodge. What followed the Tower's construction was a series of trials in which Perky unsuccessfully tried a number of tactics to lure bat populations to his Chiropteran hotel. To aid in this process, Dr. Campbell supplied Perky "bat bait," a foul compound of guano and the genitalia of female bats meant to draw hordes to the structure. Alas—no dice. The rest of the failed attempts at bat introduction are merely lore; what is sure is that the Tower never succeeded at its goal. Instead, it became a beloved artifact for locals, and was even added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Its pinnacle was also reportedly home to ospreys for some time, a much fiercer predator feasting on fish from nearby waters. For preservationists, the Tower was an architectural rarity: Of the fourteen towers built worldwide from Dr. Campbell's designs, Sugarloaf's was one of just three still standing when Irma's winds razed it to the ground. Some of the others, fortunately, successfully hosted bats. https://twitter.com/CJ___/status/914575429050216449 Upon the Bat Tower's destruction, some locals and tourists have taken to toting away pieces of the tower as souvenirs, to the upset of Katchen Duncan, the tower's proprietor. It is not clear whether a reconstruction is possible or probable, but Duncan has hinted that it is being looked into. "Everyone has a special place in their heart for the bat tower," Duncan explained—and many have made their pilgrimage to the site to pay their respects to a beautiful failure.
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John Portman’s Peachtree Center is now a Georgia landmark

Correction 10/2/17: This article initially stated that the Peachtree Center was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It was added to the the Georgia Register of Historic Places, an initial step in National Register of Historic Places nomination process.  For most Georgians, the Peachtree Center is a defining feature of Atlanta. A transportation hub, a shopping complex, and public plaza densely thatched in by hotels and office buildings, the Peachtree Center is a point of reference in the downtown area. The buildings within the Center were largely designed by John Portman & Associates from 1961 through 1988, beginning with the Atlanta Furniture Mart and expanding outward. It is the largest mixed-use center in one of the most populated cities in the South. Now it has been added to the Georgia Register of Historic Places, a first step towards possible inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Spanning 14 blocks, the Peachtree Center includes the AmericasMart (1957), the Hyatt Regency Atlanta (1967), the Westin Peachtree Plaza (1976), and the Atlanta Marriott Marquis (1985), as well as eight office buildings, retail space, restaurants, and parking garages. Taken together, the complex is a constellation of Portman's Southern late modernism and exemplifies the developer-architect approach that Portman, now 92, has built. Visually, the buildings are unified by their precast concrete and reflective plate glass curtain wall panels, as well as poured-in-place concrete elements. Though the Center is criticized by contemporary planners for the 24 suspended glass catwalks that connect buildings but remove pedestrian traffic (and commerce) from the street, the mixed-use, all-in-one typology that Portman pioneered was innovative urban planning in its time. The forbidding brutalist architecture of buildings like the Merchandise Mart and the futuristic cylindrical glass column of the Westin Peachtree Plaza are connected by the infrastructure layering them together. Portman's chilly glass facades and plummeting interiors have proved irresistible to film and television producers. The Peachtree Center is frequently featured in sci-fi and fantasy TV footage, as well as films set in the future, including The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Walking Dead. As the site has evolved over the past 50-plus years, it has continually been redeveloped even when the surrounding downtown area was beset by economic change. Per Portman's plan to design supersize spaces to work at the pedestrian scale, the Peachtree Center is today a busy node of Atlanta's MARTA (mass transit) system and nearby bus terminal, funneling arrivals into an easily accessible network of restaurants, shops, markets, and more.
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Life returns to Michigan Central Station for first time in decades

No building has been used to represent the decline of Detroit more than the Michigan Central Station. Towering over the Corktown neighborhood just south of the city’s downtown, the once bustling train station has lain vacant since the last train pulled away in January 1988. Today the building’s owners, the Moroun family of companies, is hoping the iconic building can become the symbol of the city’s renaissance. For the first time in decades, a private event will be held in the vacant building. Slated for later this summer and produced by Crain’s Detroit Business, the fourth annual Detroit Homecoming is an event which brings back Detroit “expats” in a bid to bring investment into the city. The event will take over three days, starting on September 13th, and will bring together hundreds of former Detroiters and local business investors. The opening dinner will take place in the grand 53-foot-tall lobby. Tours up to the 13th floor will allow guests to look out over Detroit. Opened in 1913, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975, the building has had brushes with restoration as well as demolition over the years. In the mid-2000s the city moved to demolish the building, which led to a lawsuit to protect the building. Designed by Warren & Wetmore and Reed & Stem, the 230-foot-tall Beaux Arts tower was once the tallest train station in the world. At one point, over 200 trains passed through the station every day and 3,000 office workers worked in the 500,000-square-foot building. In recent years, restoration has begun on the building. According to the Moroun’s, over $8 million has been spent on asbestos abatement, vandalism cleanup, initial interior work, and other early-stage renovations. Most visible of the changes to the building was the installation of 1,100 new windows in 2015. It is estimated that to complete the restoration will cost over $100 million. And though work has begun, no official word has been given on what the station may become. In the past, ideas have been floated including a convention center, a casino, Michigan State Police headquarters, and Detroit Police headquarters.
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Early midwestern modern landmark will be restored

Atop a tall sand dune overlooking the southern shore of Lake Michigan sits one of the last remnants of the 1933 Chicago Century of Progress World’s Fair. In severe need of restoration, the House of Tomorrow, designed by Chicago architect George Fred Keck, is set to receive an update from a team of Chicago firms.

The announcement by Indiana Landmarks named bKL Architecture as the architecture and interior design lead. Bauer Latoza Studio will offer historic preservation services and Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates will be the structural engineer. Willoughby Engineering will handle mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering, and HJKessler Associates will act as the sustainability consultant.

In fall 2016, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Indiana Landmarks launched a $2.5-million campaign to restore the house after the Trust named it a National Treasure. At the time of the fair, the house was often referred to by the media as “America’s First Glass House,” and it was a beacon of modern technology for the World’s Fair’s 39 million visitors. The glass curtain walls came nearly 20 years before both Philip Johnson’s 1949 Glass House and Mies van der Rohe’s 1951 Farnsworth House, which sits only 90 miles directly to the west. Giving a view of an optimistic future, the home focused on how science and technology could improve everyday life. 

The house’s innovations include an “iceless” refrigerator, the first-ever General Electric dishwasher, and copious amounts of glass for passive solar heating. Keck would later go on to design 300 other passive solar houses, mostly in the Chicago area, throughout his long career, but the House of Tomorrow remains a standout for its uncanny design.

The 12-sided home radiates from a central hub that contains mechanical equipment. Spoke-like steel girders cantilever from the center, supporting the second and third-floor concrete slabs. This unusual structural system allows for an open floor plan, which is also rare for its time. The plan for the restoration includes removing deteriorated surfaces and revealing this steel framework. The house’s iconic glass facade will be replaced with contemporary smart glass.

The story of the House of Tomorrow after the fair is almost as eccentric as the house itself. After the closing of the World’s Fair, a Chicago developer named Robert Bartlett commissioned a fleet of barges and trucks to move the house and four other houses from the exposition to their current resting place in Beverly Shores, Indiana. Bartlett’s plan was to develop a vacation hotspot for Chicago. While this may not have worked out for him, they have become a pilgrimage point for architects and beachgoers alike as part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Though listed in the National Registry of Historic Places in the 1980s, the houses had fallen into severe disrepair by the 1990s. In order to save them, Indiana Landmarks was able to lease the homes from the National Parks Service and sublease four of them to individuals. Those sub-lessees were obliged to restore them, at their own expense, in exchange for long-term residency. The cost of restoration for the four houses was in excess of one million each, and the House of Tomorrow’s atypical materials and construction meant Indiana Landmarks would have to do the work itself.

But, with the naming of the restoration team and fundraising, the future of the House of Tomorrow is bright.

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Pan-American Building in East Los Angeles added to National Register of Historic Places

The National Parks Service (NPS) has added the Pan American Bank structure in East Los Angeles to the National Register of Historic Places, recognizing the structure for its important role in the social history of East Los Angeles’s Latinx community. The Pan American Bank building is the headquarters to for the oldest Latinx-owned bank in California and was co-founded in 1964 by Romana Acosta Banuelos, the first Latina Treasurer of the United States. The bank, still in operation, has served as a vehicle for commercial and economic development in East Los Angeles’s Latinx community for generations. The New Formalist-style bank building was built between 1964 and 1966 and designed by architect Raymond Stockdale. Most strikingly, the two-story, steel-reinforced masonry structure features a series of five archways at its main entrance. The groins the arches are decorated with a series of narrative mosaic murals designed by Jose Reyes Meza that are inspired by the history of the Mesoamerican peoples and depict various Mesoamerican motifs, including religious and celestial iconography. See here for the structure’s National Register nomination. The structure was nominated to the National Register using Underrepresented Community Grants funding provided to the Los Angeles Conservancy in order to “support the survey, inventory, and designation of historic properties that are associated with communities currently underrepresented in the National Register of Historic Places and among National Historic Landmarks,” according to the NPS website. The California Office of Historic Preservation—a public entity responsible for administering funding for federal- and state-level historic preservation programs across California—distributed funding to the project as part of a larger set of grants aimed at supporting National Register nominations for structures and sites associated with Latinx history in the cities of Fresno, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Francisco. The move for increased diversity among the NPS’s recognized sites comes amid efforts to boost levels of non-white visitors to National Parks and other sites. Among funding initiatives like those described above, the NPS also announced a series of National Historic Landmarks earlier this year aimed at preserving sites important to Civil Rights and indigenous cultures.
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Buildings by Goodhue, Richardson and Vonnegut (yes, Vonnegut) among those named National Historic Landmarks

The novelist Kurt Vonnegut Jr. came from a family of architects, including grandfather Bernard Vonnegut I, a partner of Vonnegut & Bohn, and father Kurt Vonnegut Sr., who later joined the firm. Now one of his grandfather’s buildings, the Athenaeum in Indianapolis, Indiana, has been named a National Historic Landmark. The Athenaeum, by Vonnegut & Bohn, is one of 10 buildings or places that were named National Historic Landmarks this month, along with works by Bertram Goodhue and H. H. Richardson and a film studio and school associated with African American history. The designations, announced this month by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, recognize the properties as places that possess exceptional value and quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. They also mean that the properties will be added to the National Register of Historic Places, if they aren’t already listed. “These 10 new national historic landmarks reveal important pieces of our nation’s diverse heritage through art, architecture, and stories of community and identity,” said Jewell. The designation “ensures future generations can trace, understand and learn from these properties, which join more than 2,500 other landmarks nationwide.” During the National Park Service’s Centennial year, “we are celebrating the places that tell America’s stories, and these newly designated National Historic Landmarks recognize important experiences that help us understand our history and culture,” said Jarvis. The 10 National Historic Landmarks, with text and images from the designation announcement, are: Ames Monument, Albany County, Wyoming The Ames Monument is a pivotal and highly significant work in the career of Henry Hobson Richardson. The simple massing and naturalistic materials of the Ames Monument, designed midway through his career, are a pure manifestation of a critical shift in his architectural design away from a reliance on references to historical stylistic motifs. Athenaeum (Das Deutsche Haus), Indianapolis, Indiana The Athenaeum was the home of the Normal College of the North American Gymnastic Union for 63 years and the nation’s oldest, continuously active school of physical education. The program educated teachers who directly contributed to the development of physical education programs in public schools across the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The foundation for the success in making physical education mandatory in public schools derived from the Turner movement, an important expression of German-American culture in the 19th century. Gaukler Pointe (the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House), Macomb County, Michigan Gaukler Pointe is a leading example of the mature work of landscape architect Jens Jensen, a foremost proponent and practitioner of the Prairie Style of landscape design. This country estate was Jensen’s largest private commission and represents a fruitful collaboration between the landscape architect, Edsel Ford, and architect Albert Kahn. Interior remodeling of the house by renowned industrial designer and Ford collaborator Walter Dorwin Teague in the 1930s further illustrates the Fords’ interest in modern design. James Merrill House, Stonington, Connecticut The James Merrill House is nationally significant for its association with one of the most significant American writers of the second half of the 20th century. Merrill had a long and prolific career; during his lifetime he published 13 collections of poems, as well as novels and plays, prose, and a memoir, which won every major award for poetry in the U.S. Over time, he introduced more radical material into his poetry, including well-crafted examination about homosexuality, art and spiritualism. He wrote with subtlety and sympathy of gay life, illuminating its anxieties and fulfillments. Man Mound, Sauk County, Wisconsin Man Mound is the only surviving earthen anthropomorphic mound in North America. The form of the figure emphasizes both the skill of its designers and creators and the importance of the entity depicted – most likely either a shaman or a Lower World human/spirit transformation – and thus represents a figure at the very heart of the effigy mound ceremonial complex. Mississippi State Capitol, Jackson, Mississippi The Mississippi State Capitol is a nationally significant example of Academic Classical Revival architecture, providing a remarkably vivid illustration of the nationwide spread of Academic Classicism following the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. Designed by St. Louis architect Theodore Link, the building is notable among state capitols for its unity of design and construction, having been built by a single general contracting firm, W. A. and A. E. Wells of Chicago, within a single three-year construction program. Norman Film Manufacturing Company, Jacksonville, Florida Norman Film Manufacturing Company is a rare, extant silent film studio and the only surviving race film studio in America; it never transitioned to sound production. Richard E. Norman used Norman Film Manufacturing Company as a location for the production and distribution of what were known in the early 20th century as “race films”: those that were made for African American audiences for exhibition in African American theaters and featuring African American actors. Race films featured African Americans in leading roles as agents of action and change. During the early era of film production, Florida, and in particular Jacksonville, was a “winter film capital” hosting a number of studios based in New York, and on-site facilities allowed year-round production of films. St. Bartholomew's Church and Community House, New York, New York St. Bartholomew’s Church is a pivotal example of the work of Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue and an outstanding example of early 20th-century ecclesiastical architecture. Begun in 1918 and completed in 1930, St. Bartholomew’s is a colorful Romanesque structure with Byzantine features and rich decoration. Goodhue’s masterful design is a successful realization of complex functional, aesthetic, and spiritual requirements: a harmonious setting for the Romanesque triple portal and the best spatial arrangement and distribution of masses in which all can see and hear the preacher, view the altar and participate in the service. The design is especially significant within the totality of Goodhue’s work leading to the final stage of his artistic expression embodied in the Art Deco style of the Nebraska State Capitol. The Steward's House, Foreign Mission School, Cornwall, Connecticut The Foreign Mission School (FMS) remains the first and last experiment in a domestically located “foreign” mission and represents educational and social politics concerning racial tolerance, Asian and Native American migration, and American identity in the early 19th century. The Steward’s House was part of a three-building complex that provided an evangelical education for over 100 students from approximately 30 different nations, primarily Asia, the Pacific Islands and North America. The interracial marriages of two FMS students with local white women evoked a substantial public response and brought early 19th-century assumptions about race-mixing into the open, providing a context for national conversations on race and religion in the early 19th century. Zoar Historic District, Zoar, Ohio Zoar was the only permanent home of the Society of Separatists in the U.S., a utopian society based in one location in the mid-to late-1800s. The Zoar Historic District expands the understanding of communal utopian societies in 19th-century America by representing a significant and distinctive community reflecting the traditional landscape design, architecture, and way of life inherent in the Society of Separatist’s world view and beliefs. Many of the intact 19th-century buildings reflect medieval building traditions transplanted by its German-American settlers as well as their customs, traditions and religious beliefs, including their varying attitudes toward gender equality and the role of women within the social and economic organization of these communities.
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Richard Meier house added to National Register of Historic Places

The Richard Meier–designed Douglas House has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Harbor Springs, Michigan house was built in 1973 for Mr. and Mrs. James Douglas. Clad in Meier’s signature white, the Douglas House is sited dramatically over Lake Michigan. Due to the steep site, the house is entered from the roof level by way of a foot bridge. This long entry sequence enforces a strict separation between the public and private. Once inside the house is oriented to exterior views. The roof deck and the living room provide uninterrupted views out over Lake Michigan. Richard Meier commented on the early stages of working with the Douglases: “One day I received a letter from a Mr. and Mrs. James Douglas inquiring if I would sell them the blueprints for the Smith House. I replied that while I was not prepared to sell the drawings, I would certainly be willing to design a new house for them along similar lines. They accepted, and I started designing a house for a site that they had purchased in a residential subdivision in northern Michigan. As it happened, the developer who had sponsored the subdivision insisted on reviewing the design of any house that would be built within its boundary. He asked me to submit photographs of my work, whereupon he immediately refused to permit a house designed by me since it did not have the prerequisite classic pitched roof. To my delight, the Douglases responded to this impasse by promptly selling the plot and looking for another site, and that was the beginning of a very gratifying collaboration." The National Register of Historic Places is maintained by the U.S. Department of the Interior via the National Park Service. The goal of the register is to support “public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archaeological resources.”  Properties added to the register can be either buildings, structures, objects, or sites.
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Cincinnati preservationists fight to save 124-year-old Dennison Hotel

Spearheading the efforts to save the Dennison is the Cincinnati Preservation Collective (CPC). Preservationist have argued that if the Dennison is razed, then no historic buildings in the downtown are safe. The owners of the property, Columbia Development Corp., have said that they want to build a Class-A office tower on the site to attract a Fortune 500 company. The CPC is skeptical, citing the fact that Columbia Development Corp. has bought and razed buildings claiming to have development plans only to leave the property as a surface parking lot. In one case an entire block was demolished and has sat as a parking lot for 29 years. Columbia Development has gone through the steps to assess the feasibility of redevelopment or complete rebuilding of the site. A document filed with the Cincinnati Historic Conservation Board outlines the condition of the building as well as the cost of redevelopment. The document states that the building's poor condition currently poses a public safety and that redevelopment would be cost prohibitive. The document also describes one of the reasons Columbia Development bought the property: “This acquisition was necessary to protect the family’s investment in this block of downtown Cincinnati,” referring to the investments made by the Columbia Development Corps. and its parent Joseph Auto Group in the nearby area. The hotel's previous owners had planned to redevelop the building as affordable housing or transitional housing for persons with disabilities or addiction transitioning out of homelessness. Columbia Development Corp. will present their vision for the site, and request a certificate of appropriateness to demolish the building, in a public hearing in front of the Historic Conservation Board at 4pm EDT on Monday, April 18th at the Cincinnati City Hall.
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Plans for D.C.’s Pershing Park mired in debate over protection and progress

Adored by some who consider it a neatly sculpted Modern landscape worthy of protection, and loathed by others who see it as an alienating 1980s byproduct that perpetually falls short in its public duties, Pershing Park conjures up some polarizing perspectives. Located in Northwest D.C. on Pennsylvania Avenue, the park's condition is shopworn, but its redevelopment continues to divide opinions. Home to the WWI General John Pershing memorial (a protected monument) Pershing Park was designed in 1981 by landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg. At the time it was a tranquil environment, a welcome contrast to the hectic urban surrounding. Its layout is ordered, and clean lines run through the park, maintaining a harmonious and symmetrical relationship with the water and greenery—at least, that was what was meant to be. Once upon a time, the park promised to be a place to ice-skate in the winter and relax in the summer. The fountain and ice-skating framework however, have been defunct for years. The water's serenity and sense of calm is easily disrupted when upkeep is ignored as litter fills the pool and steps become dirty. Paving slabs are riddled with cracks and are uneven, the slick lines now lost. It's no coincidence that that idyllic images shown on the American Society of Landscape Architects's website (via The Cultural Landscape Foundation, TCLF) are clearly dated (though the date of the photographs is unknown). Now, the World War I Memorial Centennial Commission is eager for change. A competition which the commission ran in 2015 resulted in architect Joseph Weishaar, landscape architect Phoebe McCormick Lickwar and sculptor Sabin Howard winning with their proposal: The Weight of Sacrifice. The design does away with the water. A problematic feature, seen as a catalyst to the park's downfall, it is replaced by a lawn that is partially surrounded by 10-foot-high walls that hug the perimeter, using bas-reliefs to inform visitors about WWI.
  The aim is to provide more space to relax, but it also sees a change in the park's role, becoming a place for historical education too. Costs are estimated at $38 million by the commission who has currently raised $6 million in their bid to bring about change. Change however, may not come so easily. On the other side, those who fight for the parks protection are attempting to place the park on the National Register of Historic Places. If successful, any changes, regardless of money raised, would be significantly curtailed. It's not hard to see both sides of the argument. On one hand, to maintain the current style and layout of the park pays respect to the WWI General John Pershing memorial of which it was designed to do. On that note, any change would disrupt the relationship between the park and the memorial. Conversely, the space's decline surely implies that it is unsuccessful, so much so that none bother to maintain it. For this to be fixed, more need to be welcomed in and more space is needed to facilitate this. Joe Weishaar argues that the dropped water feature is a “blind spot” and is hence ignored. Sculptor Sabin Howard envisions an “uplifting story of transformation, showing how noble the human race can be.” While the campaign for change gathers steam, the fight for protection does have some weight in the form of Charles Birnbaum, president and CEO of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF)  and Darwina Neal, former president of ASLA among others. Here, Birnbaum argues for “making some changes, but keeping the signature and character-defining features intact.” From a withdrawn perspective, one cries out for collaboration between the two parties. Jared Green of The Dirt points out: "Whatever the outcome, one long-term question is: can this park be well-maintained moving forward? If not, we may be back to where we are now 30 years in the future."
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Two groups renew the effort to save the all-concrete Miami Marine Stadium

Can decay on the Bay be forestalled? In 2014, a local group floated the idea of murals, and now, two nonprofits, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Dade Heritage Trust, are renewing efforts to restore the Miami Marine Stadium on Biscayne Bay. Shuttered since 1992, both organizations have had their eyes on saving the seaside stadium for years. The National Trust listed the structure, built in 1963, on its annual 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2009, and declared it a National Treasure three years later. In a bid to cement its preservation in perpetuity, the stadium has been nominated for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. If approved, the cost of the restoration would be reduced by $6 million, as the project would qualify for federal historic tax credits. To introduce attendees to the preservation cause, the Dade Trust and the National Trust will run an information kiosk at the Miami International Boat Show, in Virginia Key, from February 11 to 15. A petition that circulating there and online asks City of Miami commissioners to prioritize the stadium's restoration this year. Already, the city has created an advisory committee to decide on future directions for Virginia Key, which includes the restoration and reopening of the stadium. An RFQ for engineering and architectural services for the stadium is out, and so far Miami has spent more than $20 million on restoring land around the stadium. Designed by Hilario Candela, a 27 year old Cuban architect, the all-concrete, 6,566 seat stadium was built to watch speedboat races. The roof, as long as a football field, was the longest span of cantilevered concrete in the world when it was built. The folded plate roof is anchored by eight concrete columns set back as far as physics would allow to afford almost unimpeded views of the bay. To draw attention to their cause and highlight the stadium's design, the National Trust will project vintage stadium footage in the evenings onto the structure this Friday through Sunday.