More than 60 architects flocked to the side of Bertrand Goldberg’s embattled Prentice Women’s Hospital Wednesday, calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to ensure the concrete cloverleaf’s permanent place in Chicago’s skyline. “The legacy of Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital is unmistakable. It stands as a testament to the Chicago-led architectural innovation that sets this city apart,” reads the open letter, whose cosigners include Frank Gehry, Jeanne Gang and the partners of SOM. “Chicago’s global reputation as a nurturer of bold and innovative architecture will wither if the city cannot preserve its most important achievements.” Northwestern University, Prentice’s owner, announced their intention to tear down the vacant hospital last year. But Alderman Brendan Reilly helped secure a stay of execution for the building, galvanizing a preservation movement that has earned the support of the Chicago AIA, Landmarks Illinois and AN's editorial page. Prentice Women’s Hospital moved to a new facility down the street in 2007, opening up the distinct building to arguments of functionality in a high-density neighborhood. Coming from a major research university, Northwestern’s demolition plans suggest preservationists stand in the way of progress. But a reuse study by Landmarks Illinois found rehabilitation as a lab, office or residential tower would take less time and cost less than new construction on the site. Preservation would also “provide visual relief,” they wrote, “for this portion of the Streeterville community, which is increasingly dominated by dense and boxlike high-rises.” Indeed Prentice’s structurally unique cantilevered concrete shell is an architectural asset in the neighborhood. It is the only hospital Goldberg designed for his hometown, and its quatrefoil plan emerged from his belief that architecture should strengthen community through human relationships. The worldwide list of architects calling for its preservation shows Prentice continues to bring the design community together, almost 40 years later.
Posts tagged with "Preservation":
As part of ongoing subtle austerity measures, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced Monday that as part of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, they will transfer ownership of 12 lighthouses to willing non-federal-government organizations. Eligible state or local governments, non-profit corporations, historic preservation groups, or community development organizations have 60 days to file a letter expressing interest in the properties. If no suitable taker is found, then a public auction will take place. The measure is part of President Obama's initiative to save $1.5 billion in federal money by reducing overhead costs of maintaining federal real estate, and the GSA claims that they are on track to save $3.5 billion by the end of the year. According to GSA's Acting Commissioner of Public Buildings Linda Chero, "Through the preservation program, GSA helps find new stewards for excess lighthouses that are no longer considered mission critical to the United States Coast Guard." GSA will soon issue Notices of Availability for the following light stations: Ontonagon West Pierhead Light, Manistique Light, Stannard Rock Light, and Fourteen Foot Shoal Light in Michigan; Liston Rear Range Light in Delaware; American Shoal Light in Florida; Ashland Light in Wisconsin; Butler Flats Light, Graves Light, Edgartown Light in Massachusetts; and Halfway Rock Light and Boon Island Light in Maine. Since the NHLPA eneactment in 2000, 84 lighthouses have been transferred from the federal government.
Hadrian's Villa—the real one, the 2nd century site of pilgrimages by architects, classicists, and any human interested in the origins of culture—has been selected as the site of a new garbage dump by a Berlusconi-appointed sanitation minister. That stinks! An international effort with a petition already signed by the likes of Richard Meir and Salvatore Settis, former director of the Getty Research Center is fast making the rounds in order to stop the ruling before it gets final approval within a month. Here's the best account in English of the situation prepared by the American Institute of Roman Culture. The potential Corcolle dump serving Rome is less than a mile from the villa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was placed on the 100 Most Endangered Sites 2006 list of the World Monuments Watch because of the rapid deterioration of some of its 30 buildings. The selection of the Corcolle dump was affirmed when an alternative site was deemed too close to an intelligence agency building; five other sites were in the running but apparently rejected because they could not be up and running fast enough. It is unclear why a local archeological society said the land just meters away from one of the richest archeological sites in history could be deemed "archaeologically sterile." The hope is that an international uproar will make Berlusconi's garbage man realize he's holding the wrong bag. Please sign.
The perplexing yet bewitching jumble of concrete boxes known as Paul Rudolph's Orange County Government Center in Goshen, New York has been granted a reprieve. The county legislature voted 11 to 10 against a bond issue which would have funded the demolition of the Paul Rudolph designed building. Preservationists and architects have been following the project closely, and have made compelling arguments against the demolition and in favor of renovation. No word yet on whether the county will move to renovate the building, which suffers from leaks as well as damage from tropical storm Irene.
Preserving mid-century modern architecture has become a hot-button issue around the country as aging icons are becoming old enough to be called historic. Last year a citizen-led preservation effort to save the unlikely icon in St. Louis, a threatened gas-station-turned-fast-food-restaurant with a distinctive concrete saucer, was launched. Now, it looks like the building will once again become a burrito stand as the developer has confirmed the building will house a Starbucks and a Chipotle. NextSTL has the details.
Recently AN put a spotlight on Rudolph's threatened Orange County Government Center, through photos and reporting, and many others are coming to defense of this challenging and bewitching building. The World Monuments Fund declared the building a culturally significant site, and a local group is protesting the planned demolition. Bloomberg's James S. Russell just visited, declaring it, "insistently attention-grabbing in photos, the building reveals a surprising delicacy in person. Rudolph’s complicated shape-making domesticates the building’s institutional scale." Will prominent architects from around the country rally to around Rudolph's singular creation? Time is running out.
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Laser scanning technology helped a Minnesota bridge find its third homeOne of 24 historic bridges chosen for preservation by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Bridge 5721 is one of the state’s only remaining wrought iron bridge structures. The bridge was originally built to carry pedestrians over a river in Sauk Center, Minnesota, in 1870, before modern steel production methods had become available. In 1937, the bridge was disassembled and moved to span the Little Fork River near the town of Silverdale. But more than two years ago, the structure began its journey to a third incarnation, this time as an equestrian and pedestrian bridge for the Gateway Trail in the town of Stillwater, near Minneapolis. Because of the bridge’s provenance and the desire to keep its wrought iron parts intact, the Minnesota DOT worked with new owner Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and structural engineers at HNTB and Olson & Nesvold Engineers (O.N.E.) to collect crucial data for the rehabilitation using new 3-D laser scanning technology. While the project’s main goal was to preserve the 162-foot-long bridge’s historic character, the team nevertheless recognized that certain parts would have to be replaced to ensure the structure’s safety and longevity. Because original plans for the span were unavailable, MN DOT surveyors used a Leica laser scanner to create a 3-D map of the structure before it was disassembled. The scanner fires a laser more than 50,000 times per second, collecting data from reflected light. Placing the camera in nine different locations over the course of two days, the team collected more than 13,000 million data points with x, y, and z coordinates. After each truss member was removed, it was placed on a scanning table and fastener patterns were scanned. The geometric data created a point cloud of the bridge, allowing the team to isolate specific members or generate and view sections even after the span was dismantled and put into storage. See a video of the laser scan below: The team also made detailed drawings of two floor beams to be replaced at either end of the structure. These were given to steel fabricator White Oak Metals, who was able to create new beams that would fit into the structure with the original connections. Other updates included the replacement of roller nest bearings with elastomeric bearings and replacement of 10 steel stringers that had been added after the 1937 move. The 17-foot-wide wooden deck was replaced with lightweight concrete deck to minimize the structure’s dead load. Photos taken more than 100 years ago show that the bridge’s portals originally had a clearance of 14 feet. These had been raised two feet after the move to Silverdale. Using their laser scans, the team determined the fastener patterns of the existing portals and used these to detail replacement portals that would return the bridge to its original clearance. Once steel fabrication was completed last year, erection crews reassembled each truss on the ground in its new Stillwater location. Two cranes slid it into place on new concrete abutments, then the concrete deck, safety railing, and a new four-coat sealing paint system were added to ensure the structure’s continued longevity under its new title, Bridge 82524. See a video of the installation below:
A High Line education. A $75 million for-profit school called Avenues will open next year at the High Line, reported the NY Times. Funded by private equity firms, the school is slated to move into a converted ten-story, 215,000-square-foot historic Chelsea warehouse in September of 2012. Cyclopedia. Finally, we have a well-curated, refreshing book celebrating vintage bicycle design. Publishers Thames & Hudson recently released Cyclopedia: A Tour of Iconic Bicycle Designs that explores 90 years of classic and racing bicycle history through bright, crisp photographs and an uncluttered layout. More info at Cyclodelic. Plaza politics. Beginning September 7th, Cheonggyecheon Plaza in Seoul, South Korea will host an installation titled Itjanayo (You Know…) featuring the work of Soo-in Yang. The project is comprised of a mirrored cube on the outside and a recording studio and viewing room on the inside allowing visitors to record their opinions to be replayed for others.
“Throughout history, a plaza has been a place for airing statements of opinion, historical statements are limited by time and forgetfulness, but the statements inside Itjanayo are recorded and replayed for others to hear. Others who subsequently enter the box can add responses to the earlier statements as though they were adding online comments”, wrote e-flux.Saving the ranch. Ranch houses, those one-story dwellings once popular in the suburbs following World War II, are now turning fifty years old, making them eligible for preservation. While some deride the houses for their plain style, preservationist Richard Cloues argues that they must be saved as an important markers of U.S. housing development in the mid-twentieth century. More at the WS Journal.
When St. Louis architects Schwarz and Van Hoefen designed a 120-foot diameter flying saucer in 1967 along the city's Grand Boulevard, historic preservation was likely the last thing on their minds. Today faced with demolition, the structure's concrete cantilever has garnered tremendous public outcry and has become a local icon. (It's facebook page numbers over 11,600 fans, trouncing the 850 fans of Chicago's threatened Prentice Tower.) It's hard to imagine a gas station turned drive through restaurant could muster such support with such an anti-urban background, but the Del Taco building isn't leaving without a fight. Developer Rick Yackey has asked to tear down the National Register-nominated building to construct what he is calling a more pedestrian-friendly retail strip along the boulevard. His plans have already won approval from the St. Louis Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority, but a number of hurdles remain. St. Louis Mayor Slay has promised extra review before a number of commissions including the Preservation Review Board. Tomorrow, the St. Louis Board of Alderman will take up the issue. Writing on his blog, the mayor said:
Whatever they believe “aldermanic courtesy” requires, I hope that aldermen take notice of the building’s popularity, particularly among younger residents for whom buildings of the 1950s and 1960s really are old buildings. If aldermen, after mature consideration, approve a plan that allows the demolition of the Del Taco building and the developer subsequently applies for a demolition permit, I will ask Cultural Resources Office director Betsy Bradley to review the permit and make a professional recommendation to the Preservation Board about further action.Meanwhile, the prospect of preserving the unlikely icon is pushing the issue of mid-century-modern preservation to the fore.
Splash House. Graduate architecture students at the Parson's Design Workshop are ready to get to work this summer on a pool-deck pavilion for the Highbridge Park Swimming Pool in Washington Heights--that is, if they can raise enough funds for their project via a Kickstarter campaign. Mammoth has more details on the pavilion. Preservation Month. Richard Layman isn't wasting any time in celebrating National Preservation Month, going on all May long. He has collected 33 ideas for an action-packed DC-based month of preservation. Taxi of the Future. WNYC's Transportation Nation reports on the city's choice of Nissan to build the Taxi of Tomorrow, finding there's likely to be a controversial road ahead for the bright-yellow mini-van.
The Congress of Curious Peoples has touched down in Brooklyn. Part symposium, part festival, and part freak show, the event celebrates Coney Island's rich history as a vacation and amusement destination. Starting on April 8th, the 10 days of freaky fun begins with Coney Island USA’s annual Sideshow Hall of Fame Inductions and ends on the 17th with Alumni Weekend, where you can catch legendary sideshow performers from the Coney Island Circus Sideshow as well as a scholarly conference on the past, present, and future of this unique and historic part of NYC.