It's true. The final Harry Potter movie came out at midnight last night/this morning. And please, no need to be embarassed if you were the one standing in line at the local cineplex (or historic main street theater ...he says hopefully). The taped glasses, the crooked wands, the cloaks, the lightning-scars-drawn-on-the-foreheads, the Gryffindor scarves, the Bertie Botts-branded Jelly Bellys. We all have our obsessions.
Speaking of all things spellbinding and whimsical...
The Wall Street Journal covered the unveiling of the fantastically-restored St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London. Not only was this building used as the exterior for the adjacent Kings Cross Station in the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets film, but it has a very Harry Potter-esque staircase inside. (Seeing as we're the American National Trust for Historic Preservation, we typically only push stuff on this side of the pond. But with a story this great and Pottermania on the rise, the urge to publish was just. too. strong.)
Now if there was any building in Boston worthy of Harry Potter, its the Old Corner Bookstore on
Diagon Alley the city's Old Newspaper Row. The cambrel-roofed brick building is the oldest commercial building in Boston, and will soon be home to the city's second Chipotle Mexican Grill.
The United States doesn't have much in the way of castles and moats, but the ornate mansions of historic Newport, Rhode Island come pretty close! A hearty congratulations to The Preservation Society of Newport County for winning the first place $25,000 prize in our This Place Matters Community Challenge!
Like Hogwarts, America prides itself on its diversity. "...For preservation to be relevant to most Americans in the 21st century it will have to take on more than aesthetics and architectural objects and also incorporate the political and cultural life of non-whites and other minorities." Agreed. The Architect's Newspaper shows what California is doing to make this progress happen.
"As preservationists we understand that Charleston is diverse, complex and inextricably linked to its maritime past. We do not involve ourselves in this issue because we seek to be frivolous nags. We are involved because we love our city." Read Preservation Society of Charleston executive director Evan R. Thompson's terrific op-ed in The Post and Courier.
Historic preservation is all about balancing old with new in a culturally and aesthetically sensitive way. Unless you're a complete purist (or like me when I lived in an old house, prioritized the kitchen and bathroom renovations before moving on to the central AC), most of us flip on the air conditioning to battle sweltering summer days. Read The Atlantic's "Keepin' it Cool: How the Air Conditioner Made Modern America," then Preservation in Pink's post on the potential for window AC units to mess with the look of historic houses.
Building on the legacy of Philip Johnson and David Whitney, who brought people from diverse backgrounds together to shape the cultural dialogue of the 20th Century, The Glass House is hosting "Glass House Conversations." Chime in to the current convo by answering the question "What would you do, if you could pursue your interests without compromise?"
Alright friends, have a great weekend. Oh, and Wingardium Leviosa! (I just made you fly. You can thank me later.)
David Garber is a member of the Digital and New Media team at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He's read all the Potter books but has yet to see the final movie. Keyword yet.
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