Author Archive

Sustainable Building Trades and "Biophilic Design" Take the Stage at Greenbuild

Posted on: November 20th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Revolutionary Green: Innovation for Global Sustainability is the theme for this year's Greenbuild conference. Being socially aware in our neighborhoods and our global community was the focus of the Opening Plenary session featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the African Children's Choir. Tutu's message was positive and energizing, but I must say that the highlight for me were the children. It was a group of about 20 ranging in age from 7 - 12. That is my inspiration -- the energy and joy radiating from these kids was deeply moving. They are part of the reason that I do what I do. This is why the places we are working so hard to save matter, not just for me, but for those that will come after me.

My first education session of the day was, "Greening the Trades of Tomorrow." Now I figured that this would be heavy on the technical aspects of building, but I figure that I have something to learn about how to engage teenagers in the preservation trades. The presenters were from Building Event Solutions, an education group focused on bringing the building trades to life in tech and trade schools throughout New England. Theirs is a hands-on approach, making the learning process fun for students in these programs. They are dedicated to introducing students and their instructors to green building best practices. They have been very successful in breathing life into the trade programs here in New England, garnering support from product and tool manufacturers. However, they also talked about window renovation, yes folks you heard me right, WINDOW RENOVATION! I almost leapt out of my chair and cheered - well, I was little more subtle than that, I did give them a thumbs up. While preservation was not a major feature of what the discussion it was easy to see that A) the ABCs of good construction and best practices are the cornerstone of their curriculum and B) these guys understand that the best practices include preservation. Stay tuned for more... a session at the National Preservation Conference perhaps?

"Biophilic Design and Sustainability in the Urban Context" was the other session I attended yesterday. Stephen Kellert is a professor at Yale University and I have seen him speak before. I wanted to learn more about this concept of Biophilia and Biophilic design.

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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.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Green Building: The International Perspective

Posted on: November 19th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments

 

Downtown Boston from the South Boston waterfront. (Photo: Barbara Campagna)

Downtown Boston from the South Boston waterfront. (Photo: Barbara Campagna)

Ready, set, go... it wasn't hard to miss that Greenbuild is being held in Boston this week. Almost as soon as I got off the plane there were welcome signs - stats from the city of Boston and the Transit authority on what they are doing to be green - as well as invitations to visit booths in the exhibit hall. So it's pretty clear that the city is excited about hosting Greenbuild.

I opted to attend International Day, wondering what everyone else is doing. I have had this belief that everyone is light years ahead of us, since we, the US, are the largest consumers of natural resources, we live by using more - so how can everyone else lead happy and successful lives with using less? I think that instead of taking you through the day, session by session, it is best to sum it up at this point. Building professionals from around the world are here to learn from us! Yes, that's right, the US the largest consumer in the world. Why? Because the USGBC has created the most widely adopted ratings framework world-wide and it works.

Developers and building professionals from British Columbia, Brazil, Abu Dhabi, Germany, and China participated in a series of fireside chats, panels and discussions to share their lessons learned and discuss the futures of their cities and countries given the LEED metrics.

Deutsche Bank has been so impressed with the results of the renovation of their headquarters building in Frankfort that they are going to be applying LEED to all of the buildings in their portfolio, from second tier cities in India to other Euorpean cities. One wonders when they will require LEED metrics to be applied to their clients portfolios as a condition of lending?

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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.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Preservation Success Honored in Lawrence, Mass.

Posted on: November 19th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Third in our series of videos highlighting the winners of the 2008 National Preservation Awards.

Today, National Trust for Historic Preservation president, Richard Moe, visited the City of Lawrence and presented them with an Honorary National Preservation Honor Award. Lawrence's Washington Mills Building No. 1 received a National Preservation Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation during its 2008 National Preservation Conference in Tulsa, OK.

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.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Historic Neighborhood in Buffalo Threatened by Peace Bridge Expansion Plan

Posted on: November 19th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

The sign reads: "Welcome to Historic Buffalo: Where your home can be destroyed by the City & Public Bridge Authority for the 'Good of All.' Say no to the plaza expansion."  (Photo: Lauren Tent)

Neighbors gather at a sign protesting the bridge expansion. (Photo: Lauren Tent)

This week, Buffalo’s preservationists got a big boost from a lavish New York Times spread celebrating the city’s architecture. Critic Nicolai Ouroussoff concluded that the city had a rare opportunity to use its historic neighborhoods and restored landmarks as potent tools for Buffalo’s economic recovery.

The Times’ validation is rewarding and useful, but it is also timely. Named both to our 2008 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Places, and to the Preservation League of New York State’s Seven to Save list, the residential area adjacent to the Peace Bridge remains under threat of needless, large-scale demolition for a massive transportation and security project.

The Peace Bridge crosses the US-Canada border at the Niagara River, entering Buffalo in the historic Prospect Hill neighborhood situated around Frederick Law Olmsted’s Front and Columbus Parks.

Local leaders’ vision of adding a new signature bridge as a gateway to the city -- and the goals of improving transportation and border security -– could be accomplished in a range of ways, locations, and configurations. Instead, these goals hardened into the Public Bridge Authority’s plan to add a new bridge alongside the old one, and expand the border entry plaza currently at the bridge deep into this neighborhood.

A family enjoys a walk in the neighborhood. (Photo: Lauren Tent)

A family enjoys a walk in the neighborhood. (Photo: Lauren Tent)

In the tree-lined blocks of homes dating largely from 1850 through the mid-20th century, some houses are modest and some are grand. Most are tidy, some are vacant. Overall, the neighborhood is stable and remarkably strong in the face of uncertainty. The Public Bridge Authority itself acquired several significant houses in the area over the years. Unmaintained, they are a demoralizing, inescapable reminder of the residents’ predicament. In a Rust Belt city struggling with real vacancy problems, it would be particularly wasteful to damage this viable neighborhood.

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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.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Give Lincoln a Lincoln

Posted on: November 18th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

First Lady Laura Bush listens to Frank Milligan, executive director of President Lincoln's Cottage, on her 2007 tour of the house.

First Lady Laura Bush listens to Frank Milligan, executive director of President Lincoln's Cottage, on her 2007 tour of the house.

On this chilly November morning, a white yellow sunlight raked the farmland and light industrial parks that skirt Hodgenville, Kentucky, a small town one hour south of Louisville and the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. Everyone was abuzz because First Lady Laura Bush was visiting to kick-off the "Give a Lincoln for Lincoln" program, developed by the History Channel to benefit six sites associated with the 16th president. "Give a Lincoln for Lincoln" permits people around the country to donate "Lincolns" (pennies and five dollars bills) to help preserve the sites, which includes President Lincoln's Cottage, the National Trust Historic Site in Washington, D.C.

As state and local officials, preservationists and citizens, and dozens of students from nearby Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, gathered at the birthplace, National Park Service employees with leafblowers battled wind gusts as they tried to clear the parking lot, sidewalks and lawn of leaves. In the visitors center, some students colored "Give a Lincoln for Lincoln" collection boxes, while others heard about the president's life from a Lincoln reenactor. Mrs. Bush and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, arrived at 10:30 in a grey Suburban, and spent the next thirty minutes getting demonstrations on wood splitting, flax spinning, and touring the visitors center. Shortly after 11AM, Mrs. Bush, Secretary Kempthorne, Libby O'Connell, and Park Service officials descended the steep staircase from the Greco-Roman Memorial Building, adjacent to the visitors center, that houses what may be Lincoln's boyhood home, and individually addressed the crowd about Lincoln's importance, the need to preserve sites associates with the former president, and how every "Give a Lincoln for Lincoln" donation will assist in that goal. By 11:45 the event was over -- the First Lady was headed for Fort Knox and her flight back to Washington, and the remaining guests headed for the visitors center to thaw. The atmosphere in the room was celebratory. Now it was time, some said, to get some biscuits and gravy.

-Nord Wennerstrom, Director of Communications, National Trust for Historic Preservation

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.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.