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All Green Roads Lead To Boston This Week

Posted on: November 19th, 2008 by Barbara Campagna 1 Comment

 

The Convention Center and World Trade Center, South Boston Waterfront.

The Convention Center and World Trade Center, South Boston Waterfront.

The eighth annual conference of the U.S. Green Building Council -– Greenbuild –- has taken over Boston’s new Convention Center, bringing over 30,000 attendees to the South Boston waterfront. One of the most complicated things to do at this conference is to decide what to actually go to – during each time slot there are up 20 different sessions from which to choose. Tuesday was Member Forum and International Forum Day. The Conference proper began this morning with a keynote speech by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The USGBC Member Forum

The Member Forum Day is a tradition at Greenbuild. Employees of all member organizations are welcome to attend a plenary session and the USGBC business meeting free of charge. Last year, my first Greenbuild, I arrived too late to attend the Member Forum. This year’s plenary was first rate and got at the heart of the two key issues of our time –- the climate crisis and the economic crisis. The panel was moderated by Steve Curwood, executive producer and host of NPR’s “Living Earth” who asked a lot of challenging and insightful questions. The panel was composed of Ashok Gupta, air & energy program director and senior energy economist at the Natural Resources Defense Council; Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres (a coalition of investors and environmental leaders working to improve corporate environmental, social and governance practices) and Stockton Williams, senior vice president at Enterprise Community Partners.

Steve Curwood set the stage by asking the panelists to discuss how we impact climate change given the current debacle of the world economy. He rhetorically questioned whether we can pinpoint Hurricane Katrina as the bellwether event and harbinger of both climate change and the economic Armageddon. There is no doubt that the challenge is big, but to quote Ashok Gupta, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” The session began with a four-minute video of President-elect Barack Obama (taped for the Governors’ conference last week) discussing his policies for climate change. Obama proclaimed that we need to build a green economy and we must be aggressive and relentless. We must reduce our carbon footprint by 20% prior to 2020 and 80% by 2050.

... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Barbara Campagna

Barbara A. Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C was formerly the Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust in the Stewardship of Historic Sites office. She is currently a sustainability consultant to the National Trust and can be reached at bcampagna@bcampagna.com.

Greening Boston City Hall

Posted on: November 19th, 2008 by Barbara Campagna 1 Comment

 

Beloved & Reviled

Since 2006, the city of Boston has been one of the central venues for the sometimes heated discussion regarding preserving modern heritage, in particular Brutalist-style architecture. And the discussion has gotten even more heated since sustainability has been added to the conversation. Boston City Hall is at the same time one of the most beloved buildings in Boston and one of the most reviled. Kallmann McKinnell & Knowles designed the building and its plaza in 1962 and construction was complete in 1968. Boston City Council’s Special Committee on City Hall held a public hearing Tuesday evening in City Hall to consider the financial and environmental benefits of greening the current City Hall.

Demolish, Move, Keep?

There are several different factions in the city and in city government regarding the disposition of City Hall. One faction believes the building is so ugly and so inefficient that it must be demolished and a new one built in its place. Another faction believes the building is so unfriendly and inefficient that City Hall should move (perhaps to South Boston where the new Convention Center is) and let market forces determine what becomes of the current City Hall building. And yet another faction believes that the building is an icon and like any other building, it can be retrofitted sensitively to achieve everyone’s goals and needs.

The public hearing was well attended by the latter faction including sustainability and modern heritage experts who presented a variety of design ideas and philosophies on how to “green” the site. The hearing was called by Councillor Michael Flaherty who eloquently opened the session by declaring his desire to keep City Hall right where it was. Councillor Flaherty also had a very solid grasp on the environmental benefits of saving existing buildings. Unfortunately he was the only Council member present, so I am not sure if that was an overt signal of the rest of the Council’s opinion on the topic. I certainly hope not.

I think we will continue to hear more and more on this topic and not just in Boston. In Washington, DC next week there is a public hearing to determine the fate of I.M. Pei’s Third Church of Christ, Scientist. This may very well become the defining architectural topic of our time.

Public Testimony

Below is the testimony that I presented at the Boston City Hall public hearing. The testimony was prepared by me and Rebecca Williams, Field Representative at the Northeast Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation:... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Barbara Campagna

Barbara A. Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C was formerly the Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust in the Stewardship of Historic Sites office. She is currently a sustainability consultant to the National Trust and can be reached at bcampagna@bcampagna.com.

Make Your Voice Heard: LEED 2009 Closes for Member Vote Tomorrow

Posted on: November 13th, 2008 by Barbara Campagna

 

If you are your company’s U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Member Company primary contact, tomorrow is the last day to vote on the LEED 2009 ballot. This year USGBC unveiled its most comprehensive amendments to LEED since 2000: LEED 2009, also referred to as Version 3 (v3). We have reported on the various changes to LEED, many of which directly affect historic and existing buildings positively. See our previous blog postings for more detail, and for additional information, also see my Forum News article* in this month’s newsletter. I will be reading through the final documentation today myself prior to voting.

Next week is also USGBC’s annual Greenbuild conference in Boston, where Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation will be presenting a “Master Talk” about our Sustainability Initiative Thursday morning (November 20, 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.). If you’ll be at Greenbuild, don’t miss this session!

As per the USGBC website: Voting on LEED 2009

Voting is an important part of your membership in USGBC and it’s vital to the development of the LEED Rating System. The draft includes LEED for New Construction, Core and Shell, Schools, Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance and Commercial Interiors with future plans to incorporate other LEED rating systems into the structure.

Member Ballot

The USGBC is seeking member approval to release LEED 2009 for use. The member ballot is the final step in the process used to develop, test, evaluate, revise and publish LEED rating systems and credit mandates. Your organization is strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to contribute to the evolution of LEED.

Period for Vote

In accordance with the USGBC Balloting Procedures, the ballot period is open for 30 days from Tuesday, October 14th through Friday, November 14 at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

In order to pass, LEED 2009 needs to reach a quorum of 10 percent of USGBC members and two-thirds affirmative votes.

Who can Vote

All USGBC member organizations in good standing are entitled to one (1) vote. Your organization's primary contact is the only individual from your company permitted to represent your organization in this vote. According to the USGBC Bylaws, liaison organizations are not eligible to vote. To identify the primary contact for your organization, visit the USGBC Member Directory to enter the name of your organization. If you are not the primary contact for your organization and are receiving this email, please contact us at leedinfo@usgbc.org.

Each member organization may vote to approve with or without comments, disapprove with comments, or abstain. There is no option to disapprove without comment. You may view comments and responses from the public comment periods below. USGBC is not required to respond to comments submitted during the ballot. Once a ballot is cast it cannot be modified.
To vote, please go to the LEED 2009 ballot.

***

* Forum News is a bimonthly publication of National Trust Forum. Click here to learn more about Forum membership.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Barbara Campagna

Barbara A. Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C was formerly the Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust in the Stewardship of Historic Sites office. She is currently a sustainability consultant to the National Trust and can be reached at bcampagna@bcampagna.com.

 

The Washington D.C. Office of Planning’s Historic Preservation Office presented winners of the Sixth Annual Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation at the historic Carnegie Institution of Science Auditorium on Thursday, November 6th. The event was co-hosted by the DC Preservation League.

Highlighting the event were the Historic Preservation Review Board Chairman’s Award for Law and Public Policy to D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray and the Individual Lifetime Achievement Award to longtime Dupont Circle resident and preservationist Charles J. Robertson, III. A total of 12 awards were presented to individuals, businesses, and local organizations for exemplary work and commitment to historic preservation.

Excellence in Design – Restoration and Renovation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation received an Excellence in Design Award for Restoration and Renovation for the restoration of the President Lincoln’s Cottage and the renovation of the former Soldier’s Home Administration Building into the President Lincoln’s Cottage Visitor Education Center. The National Trust was honored for its authentic restoration of the Gothic cottage back to the era when President Lincoln and his family summered at the site and the President penned the early drafts of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Special commendation was given to the National Trust for its sensitive rehabilitation of the administration building into the Staff Offices and Visitor Education Center integrating the best of preservation standards with sustainability practices. The Visitor Education Center is on target to receive LEED Gold and is also being considered as a pilot project for LEED 2009’s new Alternate Compliance Path for Life Cycle Assessment of Building Assemblies.  Final LEED certification was submitted last week for the project.  Look for a future story on this project - a great example of the intersection of historic preservation and sustainability.

Also honored for their involvement in the project were:

The Christman Company; RMJM Hillier; Mona Electric Group; Oak Grove Restoration Company; and Strickland Fire Protection.

This has been a good month for the National Trust's Historic Sites.  Last week, Decatur House, also in Washington, DC received a Design Excellence Award for the restoration of the Entry Hall & Stair Hall from the AIA DC.  Interestingly, Decatur House also received a Mayor's Award for Restoration three years ago for the restoration of the Kitchen.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Barbara Campagna

Barbara A. Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C was formerly the Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust in the Stewardship of Historic Sites office. She is currently a sustainability consultant to the National Trust and can be reached at bcampagna@bcampagna.com.

Prestigious AIA Award for Decatur House Restoration Project

Posted on: November 7th, 2008 by Barbara Campagna 1 Comment

 

The Award

Restoration of entry & stair halls, standing in the entry hall looking into the stair hall. (Photo © Dan Redmond)

Restoration of entry & stair halls, standing in the entry hall looking into the stair hall. (Photo © Dan Redmond)

The AIA/DC awarded the Stephen Decatur House Museum in Washington, DC a Design Excellence Award for Historic Resources on Thursday, October 30 for the Restoration of Benjamin Latrobe's Entry Hall and Stair Hall. This is a beautiful and nuanced restoration project which demonstrates that if you couple a sound preservation methodology with a passionate and collaborative design and construction team, the result can be one which reactivates an entire building, even though its actual physical scope and budget may be small.

Background

Benjamin Henry Latrobe, one of the giants of early American architecture, designed this Federal townhouse for naval commodore Stephen Decatur in 1817. The Decaturs only lived there together for less than two years before Decatur was killed in a duel on March 22, 1820. The National Trust for Historic Preservation acquired the building as a historic site in 1956. In 1960, it was designated a National Historic Landmark and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. Located across Lafayette Park from the White House, Decatur House remains at the center of Washington’s social activities and indeed its carriage house rental space is one of the most sought after special event spaces in the city.

The Restoration Project
(condensed from the AIA Application prepared by Davis Buckley Architects & Planners)

Entry hall before restoration, looking at front door.

Entry hall before restoration, looking at front door.

Over the past century, evolving ownership led to architectural and decorative transformations within the structure. The National Trust undertook the restoration of the entry hall and the main stair hall – two of the building’s most significant intact architectural spaces. These rooms retain features of Benjamin Henry Latrobe’s original design, including: projecting and receding moldings, a vaulted and domed ceiling in the entry hall, cornerblocks decorated with rosettes, and niches in the entry hall and on the staircase. The entry hall is approximately 81 square feet and the main stair hall consists of approximately 162 square feet, on two levels.

The restoration project: conserved the original architectural fabric found in the entry hall and stair hall; removed later features (including telephone and electrical elements, door and window hardware, and a late 19th century wood floor); replicated the original paint colors; and re-established missing original features. The architect researched the documentation in the National Trust’s files, and reviewed a 1990 Historic Structures Report, HABS drawings, paint analysis, and primary resources such as Latrobe’s design drawing “Detail of the Hall of Commodore Decatur” house in a collection at the Library of Congress. The priorities were to restore the character and articulation of Latrobe’s original design while preserving as much of the existing historic fabric as possible. Various technical measures were taken to achieve these priorities.

... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Barbara Campagna

Barbara A. Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C was formerly the Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust in the Stewardship of Historic Sites office. She is currently a sustainability consultant to the National Trust and can be reached at bcampagna@bcampagna.com.

Flood Waters Have Receded at World-Famous Farnsworth House

Posted on: September 16th, 2008 by Barbara Campagna 2 Comments

 

After two days, staff and volunteers at Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois can finally reach it without a boat, albeit waders!

View into the Farnsworth House through the front door after the waters receded.

View into the Farnsworth House through the front door after the waters receded.

The flood waters started to recede yesterday morning, and unlike the flood of 1996 when the waters rose over 4’ into the house, it appears it was about 18” above the floor level this time. Our very ingenious low-tech way of raising the furniture on plastic milk crates worked and not one of them was displaced.

With that said, we are trying to evaluate the impact to the building and it will be some time before the full impact to the historic site and landscape can be fully understood. The existing primavera wood wardrobe does have water damage along the bottom which will be evaluated by a conservator, as do the other fixed-in-place wood panels. The famous primavera wood panels in the living room were demounted and safely stored on top of the “core”.

No glass was broken and the travertine floors on the interior seem only mildly dirty. We still don’t know the full impact to the mechanical and electrical systems but are hopeful since most of the equipment is located more than 18” above the floor. Several very large trees were literally uprooted and getting an arborist in to determine the safety of some of the other trees is a priority.

Because there is massive disaster recovery occurring all over the country right now, getting the insurance

The Farnsworth House as the waters recede.

The Farnsworth House as the waters recede.

adjusters to the house may take a week or more. In the mean time, our dedicated Director, Whitney French, and her staff and volunteers will be working with engineers, restoration recovery companies and conservators to make the most informed restoration decisions. As a result, the site is closed for tours for the remainder of 2008. While we understand that people who have planned trips in advance and purchased tickets are very disappointed that their tours have been cancelled, please understand that this is necessary, not only to facilitate the physical recovery of the building and landscape, but to ensure the life safety of our staff and visitors. Any questions, please feel free to email me at Barbara_campagna@nthp.org .

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Barbara Campagna

Barbara A. Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C was formerly the Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust in the Stewardship of Historic Sites office. She is currently a sustainability consultant to the National Trust and can be reached at bcampagna@bcampagna.com.