I learned something interesting on last week's #builtheritage Twitter chat: So-called "white elephant" buildings are not just an issue for preservationists in the United States. Historic building advocates from Canada, the UK, and Turkey all actively participated in the conversation. Happily, everyone seemed to have as many great examples of saves as they did of buildings in need of saving.
While much of the chat centered around the planned questions, there was also an active side conversation on the language we use when we talk about hard-luck buildings, and how we might be able to do better just by changing the way we speak about them.
Case in point: Rather than call the buildings "white elephants" -- which places the blame for a building's state on the structure itself -- why not instead call them something like "buildings in need of creative solutions," which empowers a community to think differently about them.
Here are some highlights from the chat:
There were too many success stories share to include them all in the slide show above, so here are links to more of them:
- Toronto Distillery District
- 401 Richmond
- John Street Roundhouse
- Loudon County, VA
- West Chelsea Railroad Tunnel
- The High Line
- The Hill Center
- Midtown Exchange
- Mill City Museum
And, of course, there's a full transcript available if you want the complete scoop.
Save the date: Our next chat will be Wednesday, October 3 at 4:00 EDT. We’ll be chatting about window rehab with the Preservation Green Lab.