Posts tagged with "Preservation":

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Astroland, Gone But Not Forgotten

Astroland may be gone, and much of Coney Island with it, but it least its most iconic symbol will be saved. (No, not the Tilt-a-Whirl.) As per a press release we just received, Carol Hill Albert, a co-owner of Astroland, has donated the amusement park's namesake rocket, which once rested atop Gregory & Paul's hot dog stand (an AN favorite).
"This one of a kind Rocket simulator was the very first ride to arrive at Astroland Park, when it was founded by my late father in-law Dewey Albert in 1962," Hill Alpert said in the release. "My husband Jerome and myself are donating this in his honor and on behalf the Coney Island History Project.  It is especially fitting that this Rocket, which was the first to arrive, will be the last item to leave Astroland Park. On the sad occasion of closing Astroland, which has been Coney Island's largest amusement park for 47 years, my husband Jerome and I are heartened to know that the City will be displaying the Rocket in a prominent location as part of the new Coney Island where it can continue to educate and entertain."
The release also said the city has agreed to afix a bronze plaque to the rocket to honor Astroland. And here's a video of its removal a few weeks ago:
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The Apple Store Falls Far In Georgetown

While it is relatively old news that Apple (and ur-designers BCJ's) efforts to build a new Apple Store in Georgetown are being foiled by a group of local preservationists--I first stumbled upon it on Apple Insider while reading reports from MacWorld--it was a Bloomberg report in today's ArchNewsNow (h/t) that really got me thinking about the reality of such a store and just how it might take shape. When I read that "Apple’s architects, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, proposed building a store with an all-glass front at street level, topped by a slab of masonry with an Apple logo cut through it," I was rather surprised by the proposal. After all, one need look no further than Apple's three Manhattan stores to see a thorough going commitment to historic preservation and adaptive reuse. Apple's first, and most sensitive, venture in the city was the 2002 conversion (as always, by BCJ) of a sumptuous 1920s post-office in perhaps our most chicly historic neighborhood into an intensely sleek and yet extremely demure flagship. Despite all the straight lines and polished glass inside, the exterior of Apple Soho remains almost untouched, a respectful gesture to the cast iron beauties that surround it. While its--much ballyhooed--24-hour sibling on 5th Avenue has a decidedly more modern look, so does its surroundings, at the foot of the GM Building. Not to mention that, as MAS president Kent Barwick once told us, the new store resurrected an otherwise insufferable plaza. And while slightly more ostentatious than the Soho store (and really, isn't the entire Meatpacking District?), Apple's latest store on 14th Street still manages to adeptly combine a classic concrete loft building with a glassy electronics outlet. Why, then, would Apple make such a radical proposal for such a buttoned up community as Georgetown? Again, the Bloomberg article provides some interesting clues:
It’s not the first time Cupertino, California-based Apple was asked to revamp the design of one of its stores. Three years ago, a Boston architectural commission reviewing the glass façade that Apple proposed for a local store said the design “didn’t have a sense of place” in the neighborhood. Apple amended the design and worked with the Boston Redevelopment Authority to make sure the store--noteworthy for a giant wall of glass--fit in with the area. The Boston shop opened last year.
You can see the Boston store here, in The Wall Street Journal's brief account of the Apple Georgetown affair. Just looking at it, the Boston store is a far more modern proposal than its historical cousins in New York. Back in Georgetown, the local board that has so far denied the designs is obviously not opposed to a store being located on the premises. Not only is that section of Wisconsin Avenue essentially an outdoor mall, but the building was previously occupied by a French Connection boutique. The only explanation, then, is the old preservationist saw that the developer and architect have put forward an outlandish proposal they have no intention of actually building so that when the actual design comes up for review, it looks rosy by comparison. Now where have we heard that before?
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Diane Keaton Mourns the Ambassador

We've followed the slow, sad demise of LA's Ambassador Hotel until it came down to the final, last-ditch effort to save just the Cocoanut Grove. Of course that didn't work out either, so look for a story in this month's issue about the park planned for the space, which will reference the Ambassador's history through an audio installation. Overall, though, it was an unhappy ending. But there was some solace knowing that, the whole time, Annie Hall was right there sobbing with us. National Trust for Historic Preservation trustee Diane Keaton's love affair with historic buildings is well-known around town (and best chronicled in her latest book on Spanish Colonial houses, California Romantica, co-written by DJ Waldie and designed by Lorraine Wild.) In her LA Times op-ed "The Ambassador Hotel lesson" she begins with the same swooning prose of her first visit to The Grove with her father, yet she ends with an authoritative, well-sourced, five-point plan for making the case for preservation strictly a sustainable one. In Keaton's world, we would treat these buildings with extreme care, as if we were wearing white gloves during every waking hour. Oh wait, that's just her. [via Curbed LA]
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After the flood

On September 14, the Farnsworth House was engulfed by the Fox River, sustaining significant damage to its interiors and furnishings. The house, designed by Mies van der Rohe and now a National Trust Historic Site, is reopen for tours through October 29 to benefit the restoration. According to a new blog covering the effort, estimates for repairs are still being tallied. While restoration work is proceeding, some suggest that the house should be moved to a more secure location.