Author Archive

 

If you’re looking for THE Sustainability Symposium of the Season, then look no further. The APT (Association for Preservation Technology International) Annual Conference this year has a Sustainability track and a separate Symposium following the conference. Where? Montréal, Quebec. When? October 13-17th.

Downtown Montreal from Mount Royal Park.

Downtown Montreal from Mount Royal Park.

APT is one of the founding members of our Sustainable Preservation Coalition (and okay, full disclosure, I am the immediate Past President of APT) and the APT Bulletin on Sustainability which came out of APT’s first symposium on Sustainability and Preservation at the Halifax conference in 2005, set the tone for much of the current thinking and policy creation. This is also the 40th Anniversary of APT (a joint American – Canadian organization) and the Conference whose theme is "Moving Forward, Looking Back", is on target to be one heck of a good time too.

So the good news – there are still spots available for the Symposium (description below)  being held at the Centre des Sciences in the Old Port and the  totally cool, hip and modern Biosphere . (Worth the $450 just to get to hang out at these inspiring places and pontificate for 2 days!). The bad news – it’s filling up quickly as is the conference. Most of the field sessions are booked and the special events are close to selling out. If you really want to be a part of the dialogue between people creating the baseline for “green preservation” – then this is a must.

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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 Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, designed by Green & Wicks and Gordon Bunshaft/SOM

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, designed by Green & Wicks and Gordon Bunshaft/SOM

Puppies, National Historic Landmarks and Living the Green Life in Buffalo? Believe it or not there is a theme here. I find myself in Buffalo again for the second time this summer. Originally intending to just come for 2 days for a board meeting, I decided instead to stay for a week (which morphed into 10 days), so I could sit quietly in my sister’s backyard and actually get some work done. When Joanne discovered that I would be here for that length of time, it motivated her to buy that rare Barbet puppy she’d be thinking about. So my first day here we drove up to Kitchener, Ontario and came back with our new little immigrant, Finley. Now I would suggest that there are very few places in America where you can walk out the front door and take your puppy for a walk by National Historic Landmarks built by Sullivan, Richardson, Wright, Gordon Bunshaft, McKim Mead & White and Saarinen, without ever getting in a car (let alone a plane!).

A Sustainably Built Urban Fabric

Kleinhan’s Music Hall, Buffalo, a National Historic Landmark modernist masterpiece designed by Saarinen

Kleinhan’s Music Hall, Buffalo, a National Historic Landmark modernist masterpiece designed by Saarinen

If you’ve never been to Buffalo for the architecture, you’re missing one of the greatest architectural experiences ever. Really, no kidding. I grew up here and went to architecture school here and I can think of almost no other place that can give you such a perfect living laboratory for what’s great about architecture. (It is also a living laboratory for what can go so wrong with cities, but that’s a topic for another blog.) With a streetscape and park system inspired by L’Enfant and then expanded by Olmsted & Vaux, Richardson’s first use of the “Richardsonian Romanesque’, Sullivan’s first skyscraper and Wright’s best Prairie House peppering neighborhoods whose background buildings surpass landmarks found in any other city, Buffalo is a tapestry of the innovative, the beautiful and the best. And much of it remains intact because the economy is one of the worst in New York State and has been for a very long time. When there’s no development pressure, there’s no need (or less need) to tear down the bungalows for the McMansions. Of course there are the heartbreaking losses like the demolition of Wright’s seminal Larkin Building, whose site 30 years later, remains a parking lot. But stories such as that are rare compared to what is still here. So, in some respects, in a place like Buffalo, we have preservation and sustainability by neglect.

The Richardson Complex and Early passive climate control

H.H. Richardson’s largest building is in Buffalo – the former Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane, and has been vacant and deteriorating on and off for 40 years. New York State assigned $70 million to a new nonprofit board created in 2005 to oversee the development of the site. A portion of that is dedicated to creating an Architecture Center as one use in the complex. I wrote my first architectural history paper in college on the complex and continued to be involved in saving the site since 1980, including writing my master’s thesis on a reuse for the site. I was appointed to the Richardson Architecture Center Board in 2007 – so I always tell my students and interns to choose a topic for your thesis that you love because if you are as fortunate as I’ve been, you may find it carrying you through your career.

Building 10 at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center, designed in 1872 by Richardson, Olmsted & Vaux.

Building 10 at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center, designed in 1872 by Richardson, Olmsted & Vaux.

The complex was designed by Richardson with Olmsted & Vaux using the Kirkbride Plan which promoted the use of architecture and landscape as key to the actual treatment of mental illness. Here was an incredibly sustainable approach to architecture and living. The buildings were placed to gather the best possible southern light, used 15 foot high ceilings with cross ventilating windows and transoms and took advantage of 2 foot thick sandstone bearing walls. When I designed the adaptive use of one of the ward buildings into an office in the late 1980s, we went back to incorporating this smart, passive climate management system into the "new" building, and successfully opened the office using no air conditioning. No one complained, and in fact there was a wait list for offices in the building. But then unfortunately, just a few years later in the mid 1990s, a new director at the Psychiatric Center decided he didn’t want to be in the historic buildings at all, despite the rehabbed one confirming that it could be done. The complex was vacant yet again. So, with a dedicated board and some decent seed money, one can hope that this National Historic Landmark (only one of 7 in Buffalo) will find a way to become a vibrant center to Buffalo’s primary cultural neighborhood – the Elmwood Village and Buffalo’s West Side. And that we can remember the inherent sustainable design aspects of the original design.

Living Locally, Living Green

A local arts festival in Buffalo, the Elmwood Arts Festival, that focuses on selling and buying from local businesses.

A local arts festival in Buffalo, the Elmwood Arts Festival, that focuses on selling and buying from local businesses.

I don’t know about where you grew up or you live now, but our new green world is encouraging the growth of local businesses in every urban environment around the country. I did my best on this trip to go everywhere on my bike or walking. I rode my bike to the Richardson complex to check out its latest condition, spent an afternoon photographing Buffalo’s astonishing modern heritage on my bike, and walked to the farmers market and the Art Festival that only had local artisans and a whole area called “Environmental Row”. Every meal we cooked was filled with fresh vegetables and pastries from local businesses. Sometimes I worry that this new focus on local will make us all too insular, but I hope that after so many decades of global blandness, it will just help to balance our lives instead. So, as I get ready to drive back the 435 miles to DC and contribute heavily to global warming, I hope also that my carbon offsets, support of local businesses wherever I am, and walking as much as I can with our new puppy, will offset my job-induced carbon guzzling.

And mark October 2011 in your calendar – that’s when the National Preservation Conference comes to my hometown of Buffalo, one of the most perfect centers of American architecture!

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.

Upcoming Green Preservation Programs

Posted on: August 7th, 2008 by Barbara Campagna 2 Comments

 

Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio - a National Trust Historic Site in Oak Park, Illinois

Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio - a National Trust Historic Site in Oak Park, Illinois

If you’re in Chicago or Louisiana in August or September, you can attend an upcoming event which focuses on sustainability and preservation.

CHICAGO – August 12th, 2008

I will be giving the same presentation twice on Tuesday, August 12th: New Directions for the National Trust: Going Green With Historic Preservation . First, I will give this talk at the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Sustainable Architecture Lunchtime Series at 12:15 pm. Then at 5:30 I will be presenting it to the AIA Chicago at 5:30pm, where it is called Are Older Buildings Green? I believe that the AIA Chicago presentation is sold out, but there is a waiting list.

LOUISIANA, September 4-5, 2008


The National Center for Preservation Training & Technology (NCPTT), with 5 partners including AIA South Louisiana, are presenting a 2 day workshop in Vermillionville, LA entitled Built for the Bayou: Environmental Adaptations in Design Workshop . The workshop will be exploring environmental adaptations in design in Louisiana's historic Gulf Coast architecture and their application in sustainable renovation. This looks like a really interesting regional approach to this topic. Wish I lived closer!

CHICAGO – September 24-26, 2008

NCSHPO (the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers) is presenting a 2 plus day workshop entitled the National Historic Tax Credit Conference at the historic Blackstone Hotel. This conference marks the one time each year that everyone involved in Historic Tax Credits – public agencies, private owners and developers, and nonprofit organizations – assemble to update their knowledge on the rehab tax credits and meet colleagues from around the country. This year special attention will be paid to completing projects using both LEED and the historic tax credit. My colleagues, Patrice Frey and Emily Wadhams and I, will be presenting a session with California SHPO Wayne Donaldson on Thursday afternoon.

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.

 

Staying cool in Key West.

Staying cool in Key West.

So I treated myself to almost an entire month of vacationing in the less humid parts of the country than DC can be in the summer. And everywhere I went, I noticed several things: 1. Everyone wants to tell me what they are doing to be “green”. 2. People apologize for their air conditioning, gas guzzlers and driving and 3. Seems like a lot more people are thinking about how to use their windows and shutters in the way they were intended. (Note: I'm having trouble importing photos on our new and improved blog site - hopefully I'll have it resolved over the weekend, so check back for more pretty pictures!)

Heat and the City

First, that awful humidity and heat in DC. I moved to Seattle in 2003 after 20 years in Manhattan primarily to live in a more temperate area of the country (and those gorgeous mountains and the Space Needle didn’t hurt either). And now I find myself back on the East Coast, in probably one of the worst cities for weather I could ever imagine. Now, full disclosure, I grew up in Buffalo . But hey, you can always put more clothes on when it’s cold, but what to do when it’s 100 degrees and 90% humidity? Well, the answer is, leave the city!! Which I did for most of July. But now I’m back and that humidity is still here.

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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.

Preserving Modernism in a Green World

Posted on: June 24th, 2008 by Barbara Campagna

 

The National Building Museum is sponsoring a panel, Monday, June 30, 2008 at 6:30 pm on the intersection of Modern Heritage and Sustainability as part of its Modern Architecture series. They are offering the member rate ($12) for all National Trust staff and members. 

AIA Headquarters, Washington, DCLearn about when preservation and sustainability meet--or don't meet--in the preservation of buildings of the modern era.  These structures tend to pose significant environmental challenges for those who are interested in preserving them for their significance, yet also want them to achieve better energy efficiency.  Using the AIA’s 21st Century Workplace as a case study, panelists will consider whether new technologies and renovation strategies provide a plausible future for these often unloved buildings from the recent past.

Moderator:
Vernon Mays, Editor-at-Large, Architect magazine

Panelists:
Barbara A. Campagna, AIA, LEED® AP, Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust

Christopher Davis, LEED® AP, Assoc. AIA, LEED Certification Coordinator,
U.S. Green Building Council

James A. Gatsch, FAIA, Managing Director, 21st Century Workplace,
American Institute of Architects       

      
Abram Goodrich, Associate Principal, STUDIOS Architecture  

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.