Author Archive

NY Times on "The Greening of Pittsburgh"

Posted on: April 1st, 2009 by Sarah Heffern

 

Yesterday's New York Times featured an excellent story, "The Greening of Pittsburgh," which talks about the city's successes with sustainable development and historic preservation:

A number of century-old landmarks have been revived as energy-efficient buildings in the last decade, and several major projects, both new and retrofits, will open this spring.

Years before national environmental building standards were set in 2000, Pittsburgh began experimenting in sustainability as local architects, engineers and academics debated how to reuse old industrial sites.

Included in the examples cited by the article is the Children's Museum project, which won an Honor Award in 2006:

The Children’s Museum sought to blend a historic 1897 post office with a 1939 planetarium that had stood vacant since 1991. The solution — a glass lantern shape that appears to float between the grand older structures — reused original materials, like terrazzo, marble and copper. In 2006, the design won awards from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the American Institute of Architects.

You can read the full story here.

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.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

Cemetery Mystery Makes Local News

Posted on: March 13th, 2009 by Sarah Heffern 1 Comment

 

It's not every night that I'm flipping the channels and see one of my co-workers on the promo for the evening news -- but that's just what happened a couple of days ago. And not just any colleague, mind you, but the guy who sits in the office right next to mine. How I missed the film crew in my hallway I'll never know.

Our local Fox affiliate stopped by to interview Rob Nieweg, director of the Southern Field Office, for a truly fascinating story about how gravestones from one of DC's African-American cemeteries made their way to the banks of the Potomac River.

It's a story I hadn't heard before, and to me, it really demonstrates the breadth of work that happens at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. I've worked with Rob on projects like the Tomb of the Unknowns and the fight against the Wilderness Wal-Mart and sit literally in the next room -- yet, here's a whole piece of his work that's entirely new to me. As a chained-to-my-desk headquarters staffer, I am constantly blown away by the work our field staff are involved in. And so, since I know Rob isn't the sort to toot his own horn about being on television, I thought I'd share it here.

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.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

Facebook Marketplace Offers a New Way to Show Your Support

Posted on: March 12th, 2009 by Sarah Heffern 1 Comment

 

Jennifer Coolidge in the dress she is selling to support the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Jennifer Coolidge in the dress she is selling to support the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Everyone has stuff lying around that they don’t need or want anymore – things that are too good or useful to throw away, but are no longer really needed. For most people, these items eventually make their way into thrift store donation boxes and garage sales. Now, however, they can be sold through the new Facebook Marketplace – with proceeds supporting the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

To kick off this new marketplace, Facebook is launching an initiative called "Celebrities Selling for a Cause,” and we’re a part of it. Actress Jennifer Coolidge is selling a custom made dress she wore when starring as Paulette in "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde" and donating the proceeds to benefit the National Trust's "Rebuilding New Orleans" project.

Happily, you don't have to be a celebrity to sell for a cause. Anyone can buy an item or sell one on behalf of the National Trust and all the proceeds will go toward our efforts along the Gulf Coast. I'm not sure what I’m going to buy yet, but I know my colleague Caroline has her eye on the collectible sock puppet up there now. I know I'll be going through my closets when I get home tonight – and I suggest you do the same. Together, we can make a real difference in rebuilding New Orleans.

And, even if you can't buy or sell an item, there are several other ways that you can support the National Trust:

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.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

Go Green with the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Posted on: February 23rd, 2009 by Sarah Heffern

 

The newest issue of Preservation magazine is our second annual "green" issue -- and it's chock-full of hints and tips that help save energy, save money and preserve homes. If you're a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, it should be in your mailbox any day now. (What? You're not a member? C'mon... join now!) We've supplemented it online with a host of great online extras, including the welcome video below from Editor-in-Chief James Schwartz.

While the historic preservation community has known for years that the greenest building is the one that already exists, not everyone is aware of that -- so we're making the connection even more clear with our new, green website. By which we mean that it is literally green in color... after all, we like a pun as much as the next bunch of folks.

So, swing by the magazine's page and take a look at all the great features in the March/April issue.

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.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

Columnist Takes on Illinois Appellate Court Decision

Posted on: February 5th, 2009 by Sarah Heffern

 

Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin has taken on the Illinois Appellate Court ruling that threatens the thousands of buildings now protected by Chicago’s landmarks law – and could set a dangerous precedent for landmarks laws nationwide.

The ruling… takes direct aim at the seven standards by which Chicago decides whether a building or district can be safeguarded from demolition or defacement—association with a significant historic event, evidence of important architecture and so on. A site must satisfy at least two of the seven standards to become a landmark.

While these criteria are expressed in common, easily understood language, that is not sufficient for the judges, who seem to yearn for hairsplitting, legalistic exactitude. "We believe," they write, "that the terms 'value,' 'important,' 'significant,' and 'unique' are vague, ambiguous, and overly broad."

Kamin takes the judges to task, asking if they reviewed any similar laws, featuring the same sort of terminology, in other cities, including New York, Boston, and Houston.

Take a moment to click through and read the full article. It’s a great take, and breaks down what could be a complex legal argument into an easily-understandable story.

Also... stop by our website to read Preservation magazine's Story of the Day on the issue by Margaret Foster.

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.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

Video: Saving Architectural Onomatopoeia

Posted on: January 28th, 2009 by Sarah Heffern 4 Comments

 

It's a gray, icy day here in Washington, DC, so I thought it was a good time to share a video of a cheery, bright preservation success story -- a former gas station in North Carolina that is now the home of the northwest regional office of our statewide partner, Preservation North Carolina. This may not sound all that exciting, but it's a gas station that's the building equivalent of onomatopoeia -- a Shell station shaped like a shell. (My officemate, who has been in the preservation game a few years longer than I have, says this is called a "duck" in the architectural world. Is that true?)

Learn more about our Statewide & Local Partners program.

Learn more about preserving Modernism + the Recent Past.

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.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.