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Preservation

Call for Submissions: 2018 Fitch Funding

17:32 - 13 October, 2017
Call for Submissions: 2018 Fitch Funding, Featured work of Fellows past and present (clockwise from top left): Kress Fellow Tim Frank (2015), Blinder Awardee Rebecca Ward (2014), and Fitch Fellow Paul Kapp (2017).
Featured work of Fellows past and present (clockwise from top left): Kress Fellow Tim Frank (2015), Blinder Awardee Rebecca Ward (2014), and Fitch Fellow Paul Kapp (2017).

Since 1989, the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation has been in the vanguard of historic preservation practice and theory. The mission of the Fitch Foundation is to support professionals in the field of historic preservation, and to achieve this we provide mid-career grants to those working in preservation, landscape architecture, urban design, environmental planning, materials conservation, decorative arts, architectural design and history, and allied fields.

Iconic and Revered, Notre Dame de Paris Faces an Uncertain Future

12:00 - 9 October, 2017
Iconic and Revered, Notre Dame de Paris Faces an Uncertain Future, Courtesy of Livioandronico2013
Courtesy of Livioandronico2013

Broken gargoyles and fallen balustrades replaced by plastic pipes and wooden planks. Flying buttresses darkened by pollution and eroded by rainwater. Pinnacles propped up by beams and held together with straps.

According to the Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris, the iconic Parisian cathedral is in "desperate need of attention." Perhaps more concerningly, the holy site and French national monument is also in "a worrisome state of preservation." Built of limestone—a material notoriously susceptible to erosion—the building is in an accelerating state of wear-and-tear, demanding renewed funding efforts and expertise to secure its immediate and long-term future. From the lead roof to the stone buttresses, the world-renowned gargoyles to the stained glass windows, every inch of the structure requires differing levels of attention. 

How a Novel Saved Notre-Dame and Changed Perceptions of Gothic Architecture

09:30 - 5 September, 2017
How a Novel Saved Notre-Dame and Changed Perceptions of Gothic Architecture, © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/kosalabandara/17395160431/'>Flickr user kosalabandara</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>
© Flickr user kosalabandara licensed under CC BY 2.0

This article was originally published by Common Edge as "It’s a Book. It’s a Building. It’s a Behavioral Intervention!"

A few years ago, while visiting, or rather exploring, Notre-Dame, the author of this book found, in an obscure corner of one of the towers, this word carved upon the wall:

'ANÁΓKH

These Greek characters, black with age, and cut deep into the stone with the peculiarities of form and arrangement common to Gothic calligraphy that marked them the work of some hand in the Middle Ages, and above all the sad and mournful meaning which they expressed, forcibly impressed the author.

Demolition is Underway on Alison and Peter Smithson's Robin Hood Gardens in London

15:05 - 29 August, 2017
Demolition is Underway on Alison and Peter Smithson's Robin Hood Gardens in London, via <a href='http://https://twitter.com/saverobinhood/status/900359306658369536'>Twitter user @saverobinhood</a>
via Twitter user @saverobinhood

Demolition has officially commenced on East London housing development Robin Hood Gardens, bringing to an end any chance of a last-minute preservation effort for the Brutalist icon. Designed by British architects Alison and Peter Smithson and completed in 1972, plans for the site’s clearing and redevelopment have been in the works for more than five years, before government indecision and a spirited protest campaign led by architects including Richard Rogers, Zaha Hadid, Robert Venturi, and Toyo Ito put those plans in doubt.

Bauhaus Among 12 Modern Buildings to Receive Conservation Grants from the Getty Foundation

16:30 - 31 July, 2017
Bauhaus Among 12 Modern Buildings to Receive Conservation Grants from the Getty Foundation, Bauhaus Dessau © Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, Photograph: Yvonne Tenschert, 2011. Image Courtesy of Getty Foundation
Bauhaus Dessau © Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, Photograph: Yvonne Tenschert, 2011. Image Courtesy of Getty Foundation

The Getty Foundation has selected 12 significant 20th century buildings to receive 2017 grants as part of its Keeping It Modern initiative, which aims to advance the understanding and preservation of modern architecture through a focus on conservation planning and research. Since its founding in 2014, the program has supported the preservation of 45 projects from around the globe.

This year $1.66 million in grants were awarded to recognizable projects including the Walter Gropius-designed Bauhaus Building in Dessau; the Melnikov House in Moscow (the first Russian project to receive a grant); and Frank Lloyd Wright’s only skyscraper, Price Tower. 

See all 12 grantees below.

The Melnikov House. View from the courtyard. 2015. Photo © Pavel Kuznetsov. Image Courtesy of Getty Foundation Boston - City Hall Plaza. Image credit: Naquib Hossain/Dotproduct Photography. Image Courtesy of Getty Foundation View of MASP on Avenida Paulista, 2016. Photo: Eduardo Ortega. Image Courtesy of Getty Foundation Price Tower. Photo: Jessica Lamirand, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Image Courtesy of Getty Foundation + 13

Sydney’s Brutalist Sirius Building Saved from Demolition after Court Ruling

16:30 - 25 July, 2017
Sydney’s Brutalist Sirius Building Saved from Demolition after Court Ruling, © <a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/andreas/2951113717'>Flickr user andreas</a>. Licensed under CC BY 2.0
© Flickr user andreas. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

In a major victory for preservationists, one of Sydney’s few examples of brutalist architecture, the Sirius Apartment Building, has been saved from the wrecking ball after court ruled against the government’s attempt to deny it a place on the State Heritage Register.

Little-Known Floating Concert Hall Designed by Louis Kahn Faces Demolition

16:00 - 19 July, 2017
Little-Known Floating Concert Hall Designed by Louis Kahn Faces Demolition, © <a href='http://https://www.flickr.com/photos/spablab/3789270610/in/photolist-6LR18U-6fVSsc-6HZDsy-6LLR7H-6HZrQ7/'>Flickr user spablab</a>. Licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
© Flickr user spablab. Licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

One of Louis Kahn’s most unique and lesser-known projects, the floating concert hall known as Point Counterpoint II, is at risk of demolition, reports the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Built from 1964 to ’67  as part of celebrations for the American Bicentennial, the 195-foot-long vessel has since been used as the waterborne home of the American Wind Symphony Orchestra (AWSO), allowing the group to take their own venue places as far away as Paris, France and St. Petersburg, Russia. Along with circular doorways and portholes, the structure features a 75-foot-wide stage that can be opened and closed using a hydraulic lift system.

Summer School: MOYTIRRA 2017 Sketch design for deep-sea mining labour's housing

11:49 - 18 July, 2017
Summer School: MOYTIRRA 2017 Sketch design for deep-sea mining labour's housing, Moytirra
Moytirra

DINÂMIA’CET-IUL is delighted to announce the 1st Summer School on the Island of São Miguel in Azores.

“Moytirra 2017, Sketch design for deep-sea mining labour’s housing” includes Master-Classes, studio sessions and field trips, led by lecturers and researchers from ISCTE-IUL and University of Azores (Portugal), Northeastern and Dartmouth College (USA), Kuwait University (Kuwait) and University of Waterloo (Canada), with the support of local architectural offices. On 5th day, the final results of the workshop will be presented and discussed with the local community.

Iranian Case Study: Can We Build For The Future Without Forgetting About The Past?

09:30 - 2 May, 2017
Iranian Case Study: Can We Build For The Future Without Forgetting About The Past?, © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/novecentino/512652036/'>Flickr user novecentino</a> licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>
© Flickr user novecentino licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Taking a taxi from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport into the city, one cannot help but look at the seemingly random distribution of buildings along the road; an array of mismatched concrete blocks, worlds away from the images of Sheik Lotfollah Mosque that typically adorn the covers of Iran travel guides. “My observations about architecture in Iran are like that of many other countries that have changed in terms of architectural characteristics; Iran has changed too,” says Tehran-based architect, M. Reza Karfar. “Now we are in a time where everything is mass produced and we are just using and using, but not making memories with anything. That sense of belonging will, of course, go away. You see a 50 or 60, or 200-year-old house that just gets demolished and replaced by a 4 or 5-story building, and in 5 years they will demolish that 4 to 5-story building too.”

Not to say that Iran should be an exhibit for tourists, only consisting of beautiful tiled buildings, but this fear of memories fading in disappearing public spaces is one that, despite the numerous historical sites preserved around the country, is noticeable in Iran’s big cities. And while the subject is particularly pertinent in Iran, as Karfar points out this phenomenon is not unique to just one country. As a result, Iran might offer something of a case study for other countries around the world. 

Should Airbnb Help Save This High-Tech Gem?

09:30 - 14 April, 2017
Should Airbnb Help Save This High-Tech Gem?, The Columbus Occupational Health Association could be an ideal candidate for a partnership between Airbnb and Columbus, Indiana. Image Courtesy of H3
The Columbus Occupational Health Association could be an ideal candidate for a partnership between Airbnb and Columbus, Indiana. Image Courtesy of H3

This article was originally published by The Architect's Newspaper as "Why Airbnb should help save an architectural icon."

If I had to guess, I would say that it has been forty years since Columbus, Indiana, was the hot topic of cocktail conversations at design-related get-togethers in New York City. In those days, it was the supercharged patronage of industrialist J. Irwin Miller and his relationships with designers like Eero Saarinen and Alexander Girard that spurred a wave of innovative and provocative architecture in the small Midwestern town. Columbus, with a population of 45,000, has a Robert Venturi fire station, a John Johansen school, a park by Michael Van Valkenburgh, and several buildings by Eliel and Eero Saarinen, including the younger’s iconic Miller House.

Why Moscow's Massacre of Mass Housing Is a Huge Mistake

09:30 - 12 April, 2017
Why Moscow's Massacre of Mass Housing Is a Huge Mistake, © Max Avdeev
© Max Avdeev

The Moscow government has just launched the biggest demolition program in the city’s history. Its goal is to get rid of 8,000 5-story residential buildings constructed in the Soviet era—it is probably the biggest program of erasure of modernist architectural heritage in world history. The main assumptions of the plan, as well as the press comments following it, show that we have forgotten what modernism was about, and what the real values of this architecture are.

A few years ago I published an essay titled Belyayevo Forever, dedicated to the preservation of generic modernist architecture. I focused on Moscow’s microrayons—vast, state-funded housing estates built in the Soviet era. In the essay, I explained the spatial and cultural values these prefabricated landscapes had. I also speculated about how one would go about preserving architecture that completely lacks uniqueness. The essay ended with a provocative statement: we should put Belyayevo—the most generic of all Soviet estates—on the UNESCO heritage list.

© Max Avdeev © Max Avdeev © Max Avdeev © Max Avdeev + 13

Chicago Announces Controversial Plans to Replace Helmut Jahn’s Thompson Center with 115-Story Skyscraper

14:00 - 26 January, 2017
Chicago Announces Controversial Plans to Replace Helmut Jahn’s Thompson Center with 115-Story Skyscraper , 115 story skyscraper that could replace the Thompson Center. Image © Adrian Smith Gordon Gill Architecture. Via Crain's
115 story skyscraper that could replace the Thompson Center. Image © Adrian Smith Gordon Gill Architecture. Via Crain's

Chicago may be about to receive a new supertall skyscraper in the heart of the Loop – but it would require the demolition of one of the city’s most polarizing buildings, the James R. Thompson Center, designed by Chicago architect Helmut Jahn.

Owned by the state, the postmodernist Thompson Center and its colorful glass atrium have been the subject of both criticism and adoration since its opening in 1985. But wear on the building throughout the years has led to an estimated maintenance bill of $326 million, prompting the state government to find ways to rid itself of the potentially crippling costs.

Helmut Jahn's Alternative Proposal. Image © JAHN. Via Crain's 115 story skyscraper that could replace the Thompson Center. Image © Adrian Smith Gordon Gill Architecture. Via Crain's Thompson Center interior. Image © wikimedia user Tripp. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 Thompson Center from the street. Image © wikimedia user Primeromundo. Image released to public domain + 5

"Hardcore Heritage": How RAAAF is Redefining Historical Preservation

09:30 - 5 January, 2017
"Hardcore Heritage": How RAAAF is Redefining Historical Preservation, Rendering of Deltawerk 1:1. Image Courtesy of RAAAF | Atelier de Lyon
Rendering of Deltawerk 1:1. Image Courtesy of RAAAF | Atelier de Lyon

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "'Hardcore Heritage': RAAAF Reveals Its Latest Experiment in Historical Preservation."

In the practice of historic preservation, there is often a temptation to turn a building into an object on display—meticulously restored, unchanging, physically isolated—in order to remove it from the flow of history. The multidisciplinary Amsterdam-based studio Rietveld-Architecture-Art-Affordances (RAAAF) situates itself in opposition to this method of dealing with architectural remnants. Instead, it proposes to make history tangible by altering these decaying structures in a way that makes their stories plainly visible. The practice has a name for this approach—"hardcore heritage."

Want to Understand the Destruction of Cultural Heritage in the Middle East? Start Here.

06:00 - 5 January, 2017
Want to Understand the Destruction of Cultural Heritage in the Middle East? Start Here., © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/128659407@N02/17080649713/'>Flickr user Jiří Suchomel</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/'>CC BY-NC 2.0</a>
© Flickr user Jiří Suchomel licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative has organized a collection of essays, entitled The Destruction of Cultural Heritage: From Napoléon to ISIS, which examines several centuries of the demolition of monuments in the Middle East. With world events like ISIS and the protection of architectural heritage growing to be more and more topical, this collection is a useful tool in considering the role of violence, how ancient architecture is perceived as a cultural entity, what role the media has to play, and beyond.

Tetrapylon in the Great Collonnade. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/128659407@N02/17513452500/'>Flickr user Jiří Suchomel</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/'>CC BY-NC 2.0</a> Palmyra site overview. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/128659407@N02/17700957745/'>Flickr user Jiří Suchomel</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/'>CC BY-NC 2.0</a> Arch of Triumph (detail), destroyed by ISIS, October 2015. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/akocman/4602306192'>Flickr user Alessandra Kocman</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</a> Temple of Bel, Destroyed by ISIS, August 2015. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/128659407@N02/17078565884/'>Flickr user Jiří Suchomel</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/'>CC BY-NC 2.0</a> + 5

Campaigners Battle to Save Ove Arup's Brutalist Dunelm House in Durham

12:00 - 30 December, 2016
Campaigners Battle to Save Ove Arup's Brutalist Dunelm House in Durham, Dunelm House with Kingsgate Bridge in the foreground. Image © <a href='http://www.geograph.org.uk/more.php?id=2935919'>Geograph user Des Blenkinsopp</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>
Dunelm House with Kingsgate Bridge in the foreground. Image © Geograph user Des Blenkinsopp licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Campaigners in the UK have launched a petition to save Durham University's Student Union Building, also known as Dunelm House, after the university announced its intention to demolish and replace the brutalist structure earlier this month. Designed in 1966 by Ove Arup and the Architects' Co-Partnership, the building is perhaps the most important 20th-century edifice in a city that is better-known for its UNESCO World Heritage-listed cathedral and castle.

30-Hectare–Olive Grove Converted to Eco-Friendly Public Housing Development

06:00 - 30 December, 2016
30-Hectare–Olive Grove Converted to Eco-Friendly Public Housing Development, Courtesy of v2com
Courtesy of v2com

Philippe Barrière Collective (PB+Co) has created the urban plan for a new semi-rural/semi-urban development in Manouba, Tunisia. Utilizing an existing olive grove estate, the environmentally driven project includes collective housing pavilions among its ecological design composed of 4,475 salvaged olive trees, newly planted taller trees, and a wild botanical garden that fosters local biodiversity.

Courtesy of v2com Courtesy of v2com Courtesy of v2com Courtesy of v2com + 4

The Architectural Integrity of Josef Frank's Villa Beer May Be Irrevocably Lost

04:00 - 21 November, 2016
The Architectural Integrity of Josef Frank's Villa Beer May Be Irrevocably Lost, Villa Beer (1930) / Josof Frank. ImagePublic Domain
Villa Beer (1930) / Josof Frank. ImagePublic Domain

The Villa Beer (1929-1930) is considered to be one of Josef Frank's—the great Austro-Swedish architect—most important built projects. As reported by DisegnoDaily, the architectural integrity of the house—which was originally commissioned by the industrialist Julius Beer and built in the Viennese suburb of Hietzing—is now under threat despite being proposed for protection by the Austrian government as a historic site in 2007.

Planning for Conservation: Looking at Agra

03:30 - 4 November, 2016
Planning for Conservation: Looking at Agra, Courtesy of Unknown
Courtesy of Unknown

This volume presents the research and speculations produced by scholars, Loeb Fellows and graduate students at Harvard Graduate School of Design by looking at possibilities for the city of Agra in India and the agency of design between Architecture, Critical Conservation, Urban Planning & Design, and Landscape Architecture in heritage conservation, economic development, and the planning of medium-sized South Asian cities.