Adaptive Reuse

 

Part 3 of our guest series on the remarkable transformation of a hospital power plant in St. Louis. Last week detailed how the hospital complex modernized over the first half of the 20th century; today's post explores how the second half brought closure and neglect. Read the series to date.

The Power Plant’s windows were missing by 1994. Credit: Preservation Research Office
The Power Plant’s windows were missing by 1994.

The closure of Homer G. Phillips Hospital in 1979, along with gradual cutbacks in Saint Louis and Washington University medical student interns, increased the burden on City Hospital. Mayor Vincent C. Schoemehl, Jr. set up an Acute Care Task Force to study the hospital in 1983, strongly hinting that he wanted to see the hospital closed. Frustrated, the task force soon voted themselves out of existence.

That same year, Schoemehl told the Saint Louis Globe-Democrat, "We are shooting for a November 1st [1983] close date. City Hospital is finally so far out of repair that it cannot continue to operate." But others, especially African-American members of the board of aldermen, balked at the idea of shutting down the city’s last public hospital.... Read More →

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.

Michael R. Allen

Michael R. Allen is the Director of the Preservation Research Office in St. Louis, which he founded in 2009. Recent activities include learning video editing and naming his cat after Oscar Niemeyer.

Modernizing St. Louis' City Hospital and the Power Plant Building

Posted on: January 16th, 2013 by Michael R. Allen

 

Part 2 of our guest series on the remarkable transformation of a hospital power plant in St. Louis. Last week detailed how the hospital complex developed; today's post explores its expansion phase in the early 20th century. Read the series to date.

The Power Plant in 2008. Credit: Preservation Research Office.
The Power Plant in 2008.

... Read More →

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.

Michael R. Allen

Michael R. Allen is the Director of the Preservation Research Office in St. Louis, which he founded in 2009. Recent activities include learning video editing and naming his cat after Oscar Niemeyer.

 

Today we're pleased to kick off a new series from guest blogger Michael Allen, founder and director of the Preservation Research Office in St. Louis. Over the next few weeks, he'll share the remarkable transformation of the power plant at St. Louis' City Hospital building -- the only historic power plant building in the United States that has been reused for a large-volume recreational purpose (in this case, a climbing gym!).

Our hope: that Michael's example of inventive preservation from his hometown inspires you to look at your local places with new eyes and fresh ideas. So if you have any questions or insights during the series, please share in the comments! -- J.R.
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Postcard view showing the completed group of Georgian Revival hospital buildings designed by Albert B. Groves, sometime after 1912. Credit: Preservation Research Office.
Postcard view showing the completed group of Georgian Revival hospital buildings designed by Albert B. Groves, sometime after 1912.

The stately red brick Power Plant at City Hospital today stands as a testament to the transformative power of adaptive reuse. The building now houses an indoor climbing gym as well as two restaurant spaces currently being built out. Few traces remain of the building’s long period of vacancy after City Hospital closed in 1985, and the boilers and generators that made this building an integral part of the hospital for 48 years have been removed.

Yet the form of the building, the lofty machine hall inside, and the building’s tall smokestack appear much as they did when drawn under the supervision of municipal architect Albert A. Osburg as part of a Public Works Administration-aided reinvention of the crowded City Hospital into a modern medical facility serving the city’s poor. After completion in 1937, the Power Plant has been a key part of the hospital’s three phases of life: service, abandonment, and renewal.... Read More →

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.

Michael R. Allen

Michael R. Allen is the Director of the Preservation Research Office in St. Louis, which he founded in 2009. Recent activities include learning video editing and naming his cat after Oscar Niemeyer.

The Historic Tax Credit Takes Center Stage at the Timmy Awards

Posted on: December 19th, 2012 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

Written by Erica Stewart, Public Affairs Manager

Old Naval Hospital, Washington, DC. Credit: MacRostie Historic Advisors
Old Naval Hospital, Washington, DC.

Each year the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA) celebrates exceptional preservation real estate projects with its J. Timothy Anderson Awards for Excellence in Historic Rehabilitation (or, more casually, the Timmy Awards). Awards are based on overall design and quality; interpretation and respect of historic elements; innovative approach to construction and use of building materials; impact on the community; sustainability; and financial and market success of the project.

This year’s winners take the practice of historic rehabilitation and community revitalization to new heights, featuring exemplary work to restore the past while breathing new life into communities. From a 1920s apartment hotel in Kansas City renovated for affordable senior housing, to unique residential units in a mid-century Quonset hut in a small Virginia town, these projects are sure to motivate and inspire preservationists nationwide.... Read More →

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.

Viva La Concha: Mod Motel Recast as Las Vegas' Neon Museum

Posted on: December 14th, 2012 by Gwendolyn Purdom 1 Comment

 

Original La Concha Motel postcard. Date and photographer unknown.
Original La Concha Motel postcard. Date and photographer unknown.

They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but when it has come to keeping the city’s glittering architectural history in place in recent decades, that adage has often been overlooked. So the October opening of the 1961 La Concha Motel’s dramatic lobby as part of the city’s Neon Museum after years of preservation efforts is an especially remarkable triumph.... Read More →

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.