Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Hospital has become the cause célèbre for architectural preservationists from across Chicago and beyond, now garnering five more Pritzker-toting allies amid mounting pressure for demolition. Robert Venturi, Tadao Ando, Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, and Eduardo Souto de Moura added their names to a letter sent to Mayor Rahm Emanuel last month from more than 60 architects, including Frank Gehry. Dan Coffey and Jack Hartray of Chicago, George Miller of New York City, Denise Scott Brown of Philadelphia, and Bjarke Ingels of Copenhagen also joined the chorus of designers calling on Chicago city officials to grant the iconic cloverleaf structure landmark status. The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently completed a landmark recommendation report, but Chicago’s Commission on Landmarks, the City Council, and the mayor will ultimately determine whether its owner can proceed with its plans to demolish. AIA Chicago and Landmarks Illinois have long supported landmark designation for the building, which Northwestern University wants to demolish so it can construct a medical research tower. Preservationists counter Northwestern owns vacant land nearby that should be considered for new construction. Reuse options for Prentice, vacant since 2007, abound—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. Goldberg designed the hospital to actualize his vision for community-building through architecture. The four bays in the building’s unique quatrefoil floorplan were meant to preserve sightlines and encourage interaction between and among patients and staff. Its concrete shell, designed uncharacteristically for the time with the aid of computers, is a unique feat of engineering permitting column-free floors. It was hailed as a structural engineering milestone upon its completion in 1975. “The legacy of Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital is unmistakable,” the letter reads. “Chicago’s global reputation as a nurturer of bold and innovative architecture will wither if the city cannot preserve its most important achievements.” There is a Commission on Chicago Landmarks meeting this Thursday, and Prentice supporters are trying to put the issue on the agenda, but the Commission has not responded. They have not weighed in on the issue in more than a year, even ruling a coalition representative who tried to broach the topic out of order during the last meeting. UPDATE: The Commission's agenda does not include Prentice.
Posts tagged with "Preservation":
In an about face, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie reversed a decision to demolish Athena Tacha's Green Acres, a site specific installation at the State's Department of Environmental Protection. Tacha is largely credited with bringing the land art movement into the social context of architecture. The 1985 sculpture's staying power remains contingent upon private funding to restore the piece. With Art Pride New Jersey, Preservation New Jersey, and The Cultural Landscape Foundation all rallying to the cause, Green Acres looks like it will remain the place to be.
Just a couple months ago, a house by Frank Lloyd Wright's son Lloyd—the Moore House—was destroyed in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. AN called its loss the "archi-crime of the year," but now developers in Phoenix, Arizona could one-up the razing with the demolition of an original Frank Lloyd Wright designed for another of his sons, David. The threatened David Wright House is a spiral-planned textile block masterpiece that predates the Guggenheim (the most famous Wright spiral), and an effort is underway to save the property. A petition from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy urges the City of Phoenix to designate the structure as a historic landmark, preventing its destruction. According to the conservancy, no Wright house has been willingly destroyed in nearly 40 years. At press time, just under 800 names are still needed on the petition to reach its goal of 5,000 names. The conservancy has already helped the house receive a temporary stay of demolition while the city desides what to do, but time is running out. You can sign on with your support here. According to the FLLW Building Conservancy, developers hope to demolish the home as soon as possible and build two luxury mansions on the site. You can stay up to date with the preservation process and read more about the conservancy's efforts on their website. [h/t ArchDaily]
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.
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.