Plans for a utopian city based around the Mormon design principles of Joseph Smith have been scuttled by their Salt Lake City-based developer, after the National Trust for Historic Preservation put out a warning about the project. The sprawling sustainable city first made waves in 2016, when it was revealed that Utah millionaire David Hall had already purchased 900 acres in Vermont’s rural White River Valley through his nonprofit NewVistas Foundation. Those 900 acres were part of a larger plan to collect 5,000 acres across the four towns of Royalton, Sharon, Strafford, and Tunbridge, and carve out a walkable, mixed-use urban development for 15,000 to 20,000 people. Hall claims that the project isn’t religious, just an experiment in ecologically sensitive urban design (despite its location near the birthplace of Joseph Smith) and that the LDS isn’t involved in any way. Still, NewVistas' plan for the town hewed closely to Smith’s 1833 City of Zion plan; each square city block would be arranged in a rectangular grid along wide streets with prescribed setbacks on half-acre lots. NewVistas wanted to combine Smith’s 19th century ideas with 21st century technology and New Urbanist principles. The city would have been composed of smaller villages of 160 to 210 people each on 960 half-acre lots, all centered around common areas, with the villages eventually coming together to form an urban conglomeration that could be scaled up to house millions. The trippiest of Hall’s ideas? In a Bloomberg interview, Hall claimed that residents would live in 200-square-foot apartments, with Roomba-like robots that would shuffle furniture around when needed to create more space. Hall had picked up a total of 1,500 acres in Vermont since his purchases first went public. Now, after the nonprofit National Trust for Historic Preservation placed the four towns and surrounding valley under “Watch Status” on their annual list of the 11 most endangered historical sites, Hall has dropped his plans. “The charming village centers and idyllic surrounding farms and forests in four historic towns,” reads the Trust’s statement, “would be permanently altered by a development proposal calling for construction of a new planned community in this rural part of Vermont.” The move was abrupt, coming only one day after the Trust’s designation on June 26. Despite being met with fierce local resistance in the past, Hall directly cited the Trust’s mention and has now placed his land holdings up for sale. All 1,500 acres are reportedly being sold as one parcel to prevent overdevelopment in the future, though the plots are not all contiguous. Fans and aspiring utopians shouldn’t be discouraged. Hall has already dropped $100 million on kickstarting a chain of global NewVistas, and a prototype community in Provo, Utah, close to Brigham Young University, is still on track.
Posts tagged with "National Trust for Historic Preservation":
In partnership with The National Trust For Historic Preservation, the U.S. Army announced its support today to restore and reuse one of the last surviving World War II–era officers' clubs for African Americans in the country. With the Army's go-ahead, project stakeholders will adapt the Mountain View Officers’ Club in Arizona into an events space that honors the contributions of black soldiers and the struggle for civil rights. The Mountain View Officers’ Club is one of only two surviving officers' clubs from the WWII era. Located inside Fort Huachuca, the country's largest training ground for black soldiers during WWII, the club was a social nexus, giving hundreds of officers in a segregated military a place to unwind with drinks and dancing, as well as cultural programming, like exhibition fights with boxer Joe Louis and performances by Lena Horne. The base, which sits about 15 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, hosted over 25,000 soldiers at its peak. Real estate developer and frequent military contractor Del Webb built the wood-frame, two-story structure from the Army's design codes, and the club is a prime example of World War II Mobilization architecture. The National Register–eligible property recently found itself on a different, more precarious list: Vacant since 1998, the structure was added to National Trust's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list back in 2013. To give the building new life, the National Trust is partnering with a host of stakeholders, public and private, to preserve the building and adapt it as a flexible events space. The Army has "conditionally" accepted a proposal to transform the building into a community site, one that would offer upscale dining and meeting options to military and civilians alike. A 4,400-square-foot deck at the rear of the building would be used for screenings and outdoor dinners, and low-slung outbuildings would add additional restrooms and storage. “We are delighted to have the interest and support of Fort Huachuca in exploring the untapped potential of the Mountain View Officers’ Club,” said Christina Morris, field director for the National Trust, in a statement. “Reactivating the Mountain View Officers’ Club is a creative solution that answers the local need for a new social, event and recreational center, while keeping alive this chapter of Civil Rights history for future generations of soldiers and civilians.” For inspiration, the team looked to a similar reuse project in Riverside, California. A former officers' club of the same vintage is the centerpiece of Homefront at Camp Anza, an affordable housing development for veterans and their families. The club now serves as a gathering space for residents and those in the surrounding neighborhood. The National Trust and the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Huachuca partnered with local and state groups to bring a site proposal to fruition this summer. The group includes Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers, a preservation organization dedicated to saving the Mountain View club; Tuscon, Arizona–based architects Poster Frost Mirto; Kadence Restaurant Group, a Tucson hospitality company; as well as state preservation and arts groups. With the Army's blessing, the stakeholders can now court developers and investors for the project. To pay for the work, one of those organizations, Arizona State Parks and Trails, turned to the National Park Service’s African-American Civil Rights Fund, a program to document, preserve, and interpret the 20th century's civil rights movement. If the application is approved, the half-million-dollar capital grant would pay for the restoration of select elements of the dance hall and fund an exterior restoration that would bring the building back to the way it looked when it was erected in 1942.
A tax reform bill introduced in the House of Representatives on Thursday would eliminate a widely used measure for combatting urban decay, even as developers and preservationists argue that the program more than pays for itself. The Historic Tax Credit (HTC), introduced in 1981 by the Reagan administration, provides a 20% tax credit over five years for projects that revitalize historical buildings that would have otherwise fallen into disrepair. Paying out only after the project has finished, the program generates $1.20 in tax revenue for every dollar spent, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Shifting the cost burden entirely to the private sector, the tax credit has made it easier for developers to find funding for rehabilitation projects that lenders are typically wary of. A 2015 report by the National Park Service and Rutgers University has shown how the credit has ultimately generated over $131 billion in private investments and preserved over 42,000 buildings across the country. By offsetting the increased design and construction costs associated with saved these blighted buildings, HTC has also created over 2.4 million construction, administration and local business jobs. bi-partisan letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Congressman David B. McKinley, (R-WV), rallied for the credit even while acknowledging that he was expected to vote for the proposed tax reform bill. “Since its inception in 1978, this tax credit has spurred economic activity and has directly aided in the revitalization of Main Streets and rural communities nationwide. Over 40% of the projects using this credit have been in rural communities, breathing new life into their downtowns and attracting investment,” said McKinley. With the program funding everything from asbestos abatement to insulation replacement, the backlash to eliminating the HTC is only expected to grow as this latest attempt at tax reform makes its way through the House.
Last week, the youth corps of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, called HOPE Crew (short for Hands-On Preservation Experience), launched a week-long project to save Grand Teton National Park's historic Crandall Studio in the Jenny Lake Historic District. The project was formed in partnership with the National Park Service's Western Center for Historic Preservation and the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. The Crandall Studio is the cabin of photographer and painter Harrison R. Crandall, later used as a dancehall, studio, general store, and visitor center for the park. The cabin is the gateway to Jenny Lake – a placid glacial lake surrounded by the cragged peaks of the Tetons. This rehabilitation is part of HOPE Crew's broader mission to foster a preservation ethic in youth through firsthand exposure to preservation philosophy as well as to the physical work of preservation, from stabilizing walls to repairing roofs in historic buildings. It also serves to fill a gap in the lack of manpower and expertise many national parks are experiencing. Having already completed upwards of 100 projects since the project's inception in 2014, HOPE Crew builds a knowledge base they can bring from one site to the next, applying restoration techniques learned from work at neighboring parks like the Old Santa Fe Trail, Mesa Verde National Park, and Tuzigoot National Monument. The program has contributed nearly $14.3 million in preservation work to parks and buildings across the western United States, with a membership roster that is ever growing. With the possibility of massive cuts to the National Parks budget on the horizon, casting doubt on the ongoing maintenance of historic sites, HOPE Crew seems to demonstrate a productive model for public-private partnerships that encourages preservationist values in the next generation who, like it or not, will inherit these public lands.
June, 8th marks the 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright's birthday. To celebrate the National Trust for Historic Preservation has launched an interactive map charting many of Wright’s projects across the country. Along with the map a virtual tour of Wright’s Pope-Leighey House in Alexandria, Virginia, was also launched. The National Trust worked with the geographic mapping company ESRI to compile the interactive resources. The map encompasses Wright’s lengthy career, from this work on the Jones Unity Chapel in 1886 through many of his unbuilt visions. Covering more than 60 projects, the map highlights the most famous of Wright’s estimated 400 built works. Each entry includes images and links to additional information. The virtual tour of the Pope-Leighey House gives a more intimate look into a single project from 1941. Designed in Wright’s low-slung Prairie Style, the interior of the home is open and visually connected to the rich surrounding forest. Through custom furniture and fixtures, Wright’s signature designs abound, from intricate patterning to extensive brick and woodwork. According to the tour, years after the house was complete the owners wrote to Wright saying, “we don’t think anyone ever built a house with more warnings in their ears than we did... but we were aware that a man isn’t shot at unless he towers too high above the herd.” Along with the map and tour, the National Trust has also posted a short quiz that matches your personality with one of Wright’s eccentric houses. I was matched with Falling Water, which somehow makes sense. The interactive map from the National Trust for Historic Preservation map can be found here.
As part of its ReUrbanism initiative, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has produced interactive maps which chart the age and character of cities across the United States. The Atlas of ReUrbanism is meant to be a new tool for urbanists and advocates, one that better utilizes massive amounts of data on the age of cities. Along with the interactive map, the report draws connections between the physical character of cities and social, economic, and environmental concerns. Used together, the report and maps help give a complex understanding of American cities. The maps highlight the median age of buildings and the size of buildings and parcels. Information is distilled into 200-by-200-meter squares and color coded. The atlas gives each grid square a Character Score, which is a function of its buildings' sizes and ages. This score can be compared to other measurable quantities, such as economic growth, to better understand the impact of older buildings within the city fabric. Other layers in the maps include National Historic Landmarks, City Landmarks, and National Historic Districts. The National Trust’s Preservation Green Lab has led the development of the maps. Information was gathered from the sources such as the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey. Currently, maps for 10 cities have been released, including New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago, Louisville, Houston, Los Angeles, and Portland. Forty other cities were included in the study and will be added to the collection of maps. The Preservation Green Lab is an initiative that works to find new uses for old buildings. The lab is based on the belief that the continued use of older buildings is a key to creating sustainable, equitable, and affordable cities. By conducting research and creating tools, the lab hopes to bring together different urban stakeholders to encourage economic development through the use of existing and underutilized spaces and buildings.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has released its 29th annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The list highlights spaces across the country which the trust believes are at greatest risk of being lost. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately funded non-profit organization that works to save endangered places and structures across the United States. The trust works with local governments, communities, and urban planners and architects to identify and save the countries most endangered places. This year’s list adds 11 new places to a list, which since 1988, has included more than 270 sites. Dozens of these sites have been saved and many more are on a positive path to rescue. Though the program has been decidedly successful, the list has also had its losses. Prentice Women’s Hospital was one of the structures from the list that was lost in 2014. The 2016 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places includes: Azikiwe-Nkrumah Hall at Lincoln University, Lincoln, Pennsylvania Azikiwe-Nkrumah Hall is the oldest building on the Lincoln University campus. Lincoln University is was the first institution in the country to grant degrees to African Americans. Bears Ears, Southeastern Utah Bears Ears is a 1.9 million-acre landscape filled with archaeological sites, cliff dwellings, petroglyphs, and ancient roads reaching back 12,000 years. The site is now threatened by mismanaged recreational use and energy development. Charleston Naval Hospital District, North Charleston, South Carolina A historic district, the Charleston Naval Hospital District played an important role during World War II. Currently, a proposed rail line is threatening the site. Chihuahuita and El Segundo Barrio Neighborhoods, El Paso, Texas These neighborhoods in the heart of El Paso are filled with homes and small businesses that are threatened by demolition. Delta Queen, Houma, Louisiana A 1926 steamboat, the Delta Queen is among the last of its kind. Historic Downtown Flemington, Flemington, New Jersey A proposed development is threatening this historic downtown, which was the host of the “Trial of the Century,” the Charles Lindbergh baby kidnapping trial. James River, James County, Virginia The James River is the site of the first permanent English settlement in America. Proposed transmission lines are threatening the scenic integrity of the area. Lions Municipal Golf Course, Austin, Texas Credited with being the first desegregated municipal golf course, this civil rights landmark is facing redevelopment. Mitchell Park Domes, Milwaukee, Wisconsin The Mitchell Park Domes are considered a marvel of midcentury engineering. Degrading concrete has lead the county and city officials to discuss demolition. San Francisco Embarcadero, San Francisco, California San Francisco’s iconic waterfront is in need of long-term planning to address the threats of rising sea levels and seismic instability. Sunshine Mile, Tucson, Arizona The Sunshine Mile is a two-mile stretch of some of the Southwest’s most significant mid-century modern architecture.
Detroit’s Jefferson-Chalmers District has been named a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The early 20th-century commercial district is the first neighborhood in the National Trust’s new ReUrbanism initiative. Built primarily in the 1920s, Jefferson Avenue on Detroit's Lower Eastside was once a key commercial district for the city. In the past 40 years the Jefferson-Chalmers District, like much of Detroit, has struggled with economic instability due to loss of manufacturing jobs and population. The area currently has a significant number of vacant properties, many of which are in desperate need of maintenance. Jefferson-Chalmers is Michigan’s first National Treasure. The area is home to many of Detroit’s more historic 1920s structures, including the iconic Vanity Ballroom. This portion of the community, located along the along the Detroit River, also includes a series of canals. Recent years have seen an increased commitment from residents and business owners to revitalize the neighborhood. The Trust’s goal is to encourage urban areas to utilize their current built assets to realize affordable, sustainable, and livable cities. The ReUrbanism initiative follows a set of ten principles, which range from “Cities are only successful when they work for everyone” to “Preservation is adaptive reuse. Adaptive reuse is preservation.” The "Heart of Louisville," Kentucky, has also been included as a National Treasure in the ReUrbanism initiative. Another program within the National trust is the Preservation Green Lab, a research guided initiative to reimagine uses for old urban buildings and blocks. Research conducted at the Preservation Green Lab led to a report and recommendation to list the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood, while project managers in the neighbor outline a path forward. Using big data, mapping, spatial analysis, the initiative bridges the gap between preservationists, developers, and policy makers. The Preservation Green Lab takes the positions that reusing and retrofitting vacant and underused buildings is key to helping cities become more sustainable, economically and environmentally.
Frequent visitors to Washington’s Union Station may notice on their next trip that something is missing. For the first time in half a century, managers say, the Main Hall of Daniel Burnham’s Beaux Arts train station is free of all construction-related scaffolding and other obstructions and can be viewed as the architect intended. For once, in other words, there is no major repair work underway, no blocked-off construction zones to walk around to get to the train. Also missing are the Center Café and two indoor planters that were added in previous renovations and took up much of the space under the barrel-vaulted ceiling. “Today, Washington Union Station reveals a restored, historic Main Hall,” said leaders of the Union Station Redevelopment Corp. (USRC), steward of the building at 50 Massachusetts Avenue N. E., in a statement dated May 9. “Covered for the past four years in scaffolding as rehabilitation work was underway, the historic space is now unobstructed, as originally designed, for the first time in almost 50 years.” Scaffolding went up after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the region in 2011, damaging the train station and other historic structures. Besides replastering the coffered ceiling, contractors introduced a new “seismically sound” support structure for the ceiling and improved the heating and air conditioning systems in the attic. Before that was a series of modifications designed to make the station more of a destination for residents and travelers, including a National Visitor Center timed with the nation’s Bicentennial in 1976 and subsequent plans to make it a festival marketplace. Part of the just-completed restoration involved removal of a large café and round planters in the center of the Main Hall, a move that represented the culmination of several years of discussions between the Federal Railroad Administration and the State Historic Preservation Office. The Center Café closed on March 1, and removal of the restaurant enclosure and planters began soon afterwards, opening up the Main Hall. “We are very excited to reveal a fully-restored Main Hall for the public to enjoy that is also consistent with the original design envisioned by the world-famous station architect, Daniel Burnham,” said USRC President and CEO Beverley Swaim-Staley. “This is the first time in many of our lives where we can fully appreciate this space as it was historically designed.” The Main Hall opened in 1907 as the General Waiting Room for the station and was known for its impressive scale. It measures 219 feet by 120 feet, and its gold-coffered ceiling is 96 feet high. Lined with mahogany benches, the Main Hall functioned as a large open space until the 1940s, when World War II brought an increase in passenger traffic and ticket counters were expanded from the West Hall into the Main Hall to meet demand. In the 1970s, as train travel declined and air travel became more popular, managers considered new ideas to keep the station active. They designated the train station a National Visitor Center in honor of the nation’s Bicentennial. The Main Hall was reconfigured to contain an elaborate slide show that featured scenes of Washington and other tourist attractions. The slide show proved unpopular and was closed in 1985. That same year, the entire station was shut down for a renovation that included the Center Café prominently positioned in the center of the Main Hall, and other stores and restaurants nearby to make more of a hub for shopping and entertainment. The August 2011 earthquake provided an opportunity to rethink the station again. Besides causing damage that required immediate attention, it triggered a larger discussion about the best way to preserve and restore the Main Hall. In 2012, contractors began restoration of the damaged ceiling. As part of the work, they installed an elaborate system of steel framing to provide a new support structure for the ceiling, designed to help protect it in case of future earthquakes. The entire ceiling bay was also repainted and new gold leafing was applied, with help from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a $350,000 corporate donation from the American Express Foundation. The grant helped repair the ceiling by aiding in the replacement of more than the 120,000 sheets of 23-karat gold leaf. Besides the repair work on the ceiling itself, the heating and air-conditioning systems in the attic, behind the ceiling, were improved by realigning ductwork and creating new connections to the ceiling diffusers that will allow them to be cleaned and serviced more regularly. In April, once the ceiling restoration was completed, deconstruction began on the Center Café and the two circular planters, which once served as fountains. Swaim-Staley said the last four years’ worth of repairs were a team effort, involving the Federal Railroad Administration; Union Station Investco, an entity of Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation, (manager of the station’s retail spaces); the State Historic Preservation Office, and other historic agencies. London-based Hayles and Howe led the plaster ceiling restoration. Preservationists say they’re glad to know the work is done. “Over the last 30 years both Union Station and the adjacent Capitol Hill neighborhood have been transformed by restoring the historic urban and architectural fabric,” said Lisa Dale Jones, president of Capitol Hill Restoration Society. “The restoration of the Main Hall’s open floor plan, together with repairs to the coffered and gilt barrel vault ceiling, are important milestones in this recovery.”
Philip Johnson's New York State Pavilion, located in Queens, was once part of the 1964 Worlds Fair. Now it is the only remaining structure from the event. Years of neglect has seen the pavilion fall into a state of disrepair. However, all does not appear to be lost thanks to The National Trust for Historic Preservation, People for the Pavilion, and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. Together, they have organized an ideas competition in an attempt to bring the pavilion back to life. The competition so far has received a number of submissions up for public vote. The current frontrunners are a hydroponic farm (essentially a farm that uses nutrient water instead of soil) and a flexible exhibition space. The former an ambitiously wants to demonstrate a process that could "feed cities into the next century" while the latter envisions an outdoor performance area and park. In recent memory, the pavilion's only claim to fame was its appearance in Iron Man 2 where it played host to the Stark Expo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bchp8boR0Dc The pavilion's appearance on screen however, has done little to bolster its circumstances, although a fresh coat of paint was added in fall last year. The New York State Pavilion Ideas Competition now hopes to "spark a conversation about the value of historic preservation," citing Johnson's work as an "irreplaceable structure" that is one of Queens' "most significant assets." Submissions so far mostly depict colorful scenes that refer back to the pavilion's original red and yellow coloring. These include the "Queens Pavilion Cheeseburger Museum," "Trampoline Castle," "The Funland of art" (that promises to be "the most fun your kids will ever have"), and the "Pavilion for the People." Others proposals include an observatory, ice-rink, and planetarium. There are few constraints on putting forward an idea. Participants must be over the age of 13 and submit an original idea complete with an image. A Sketchup model of the pavilion has been made available to download to aid contributors. The competition is also free to enter. For now, the public has until July 1 to submit their ideas, with Deborah Berke, founding partner of Deborah Berke Partners and soon to be Dean of the Yale Architecture School and critic Paul Goldberger among others judging the submissions. The jury will select first, second and third place, of which will receive $3,000, $1,000 and $500. The voting system however, will be used to select a "fan favorite" with the winner taking home $500.
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.
Until recently, the Tent of Tomorrow looked very yesterday. Part of the Philip Johnson–designed New York State Pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair has been restored to its original color, "American Cheese Yellow," earlier this month. New York City has allocated almost $8.9 million to shore up the tent, the pavilion, and other relics of the World's Fair in Queens' Flushing Meadows Corona Park (including the Unisphere). Designs for the structural reinforcement and preservation of the pavilion will be in by fall 2016, with construction to begin in 2017. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and preservation group People for the Pavilion, in partnership with the city, will begin soliciting ideas for design and programming in the space early next year. New Yorkers got a rare glimpse inside the relic at last week's Open House New York Weekend. Sixteen, 100-foot-tall columns support a 50,000-square-foot ceiling with colored clear panels. Three towers of 60 feet, 150 feet, and 226 feet—most recently famous as spaceships from the film Men in Black—stand adjacent to the tent. The shorter towers held cafeterias, while the tallest supported an observation deck. To fulfill apprenticeship requirements, 30 bridge painters from Painters DC 9 and the Painting Contractors Association worked for a combined 8,000 hours to bring the Tent of Tomorrow's steel diadem back to its original color. This phase of the project was done pro bono, with an estimated value of $3.25 million (really). The city estimates that the fresh paint will extend the life of the structure by about 15 years.