Modern Architecture

Preserving our Present

Posted on: July 30th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

Written by Priya Chhaya

First there was the voice that everyone recognized, an activist actress, and the pop star who defied gravity with a moonwalk . Then we lost a newscaster whom everyone believed in, a jazz genius and a choreographer of the sublime and avant garde.

Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Walter Cronkite, George Russell, Merce Cunningham. Individually these deaths seem fleeting—the loss of someone who defined their fields and made a place in their particular corners of the world. Together they represent an America defined by television, movies and pop culture—of innovation and radical creativity; an America whose history cannot be documented solely by the written word or the preservation of a single building (although conversations are already ongoing about making Neverland the next Graceland) but through various sources of multi media. While the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the preservation field as a whole have been thinking about America at mid-century and the associated challenges, I find myself asking myself the age old question—how will we be remembered? How can we preserve a culture that is quickly moving towards the intangible? While the homes, and structures of our past will always be important, and rightly so, how do we preserve the other “stuff” of our history to ensure a clearer vision of our own age? Is that even possible?

I know that there are some great projects out there that explore how we can do this. Some examples include the collection websites surrounding 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina (for example: the Center for History and New Media’s 9/11 Digital Archive, the Library of Congress, and Hurricane Digital Memory Bank) but I would love to see more.

Priya Chhaya is the program assistant in the office of Training and Online Information Services at the 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.

Farnsworth House to be Managed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Posted on: July 9th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Statement from Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The Farnsworth House, Plano, IL

On January 1, 2010, the National Trust for Historic Preservation will assume the management of the Farnsworth House, an international icon of Modern architecture located in Plano, Illinois.  While the National Trust has owned the site for the past six years, Landmarks Illinois has managed and operated it.  The National Trust is very proud of the Farnsworth House and the work that both organizations have put into the site, and we are determined to do right by it.  We expect a very smooth transition for the site, including no change in visiting opportunities, as the National Trust and Landmarks Illinois have been terrific partners for many years, well before our collaboration on the Farnsworth House.  Finally, we are delighted that Whitney French will continue as the Site Director by joining our staff and providing us with her experience and knowledge of this unique place.

We look forward to this opportunity because it will strengthen our newly created  Modernism + Recent Past program, which focuses on the significant architecture of the mid-20th century, as well as those places of social, economic, and cultural importance.  Furthermore, it allows even closer collaboration with the Farnsworth House's "sister" property, the Philip Johnson Glass House (another Modernist site owned and operated by the National Trust).  Philip Johnson was inspired in his design of the Glass House by plans Mies van der Rohe developed for the Farnsworth House.

Read the full statement on PreservationNation.org.

Learn 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.

Student Proposals, Structural Analysis Study for Miami Marine Stadium

Posted on: June 25th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments

 

Written by Karen Nickless

Grafitti at Miami Marine Stadium (Photo: Spillis Candela DMJM Archives)

Grafitti at Miami Marine Stadium (Photo: Spillis Candela DMJM Archives)

The City of Miami closed Miami Marine Stadium in 1992. Since then it has been neglected, sitting in a sea of empty asphalt. Almost every square inch is covered with graffiti. The city plans to redevelop the site and the rest of Virginia Key, but they are lukewarm about preserving the Stadium.

Fortunately, there are a large number of people and organizations dedicated to saving Miami Marine Stadium. The Friends of Miami Marine Stadium, working with Trust local partner, Dade Heritage Trust, have led the effort. The National Trust for Historic Preservation recognized Miami Marine Stadium as a stunning but endangered work of modern architecture when we named it to this year’s list of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

Jorge Hernandez, National Trust trustee, architect and University of Mimi professor of architecture, involved his architecture students in a semester-long Preservation Planning Studio, studying the site and designing plans for its revitalization. The Stadium’s architect, Hilario Candela, participated, giving the students great insight into his thought process while designing the structure.

Miami Marine Stadium (Photo: Spillis Candela DMJM Archives )

Miami Marine Stadium (Photo: Spillis Candela DMJM Archives )

On May 8 the students presented three plans to the public. Their challenge was to find a reuse for the site that met the specifications of the City of Miami, including a certain number of boat slips, parking spaces, etc. The city did not insist on the preservation of the Stadium. The students did.

The students looked at every detail of the site. Just a few of their innovative ideas:

  • Replace the current parking green space with tree-shaded remote parking laid out like old Florida attractions, with short roads feeding larger arteries. Use a pervious surface where possible, reducing the impact on the environment.
  • Expand and reorient the marina to create more boat slips than required by the City. Use an innovative new storage system to fit more dry slips into less space.
  • Place the ticket booth on the lawn to create room in the Stadium for other needs. This will encourage visitors to linger on the lawn and appreciate the architecture of the Stadium. The newly designed ticket booth resembles a Fresnel lens.
  • Move concessions, originally inside the Stadium, to the ground floor. Orient them to the exterior, allowing them to be open even when the stadium is closed. Spaces will be available for temporary vendors and permanent businesses.
  • Preserve some of the graffiti as part of the history of the Stadium, either as panels or as mosaics that will give visual interest and take visitors by surprise at various locations as they take their seats.

The students were so enthusiastic about their project that they requested meeting every day instead of three times a week and added extra tasks to their project, such as writing a National Register nomination. Working with Hilario and Jorge in a unique multi-generational collaboration resulted in innovative and yet practical solutions for the reuse of Miami Marine Stadium. The students’ plans have been presented to the City of Miami.

In addition to the design plans, the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium will be able to give the city a current a structural analysis and cost estimate for reuse of the structure. The $50,000 study is funded by a coalition of local, national and international preservation organizations: the National Trust, World Monuments Fund, The Villagers and Miami Dade County Commissioner Carlos Jimenez’s office.

With these tools in hand and continued public support, Miami Marine Stadium has a good chance of again hosting boat racing, concerts and other events and becoming a vital part of Miami. See you at the next Jimmy Buffett concert!

Karen Nickless, PhD is a field representative for the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Southern Office.

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.

Demolishing Tiger Stadium "is a Mistake"

Posted on: June 9th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

Statement from Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The remaining portion of Tiger Stadium. (Photo by Marvin Shaouni)

The remaining portion of Tiger Stadium. (Photo by Marvin Shaouni)

With General Motors and Chrysler in bankruptcy and the Michigan economy in tatters, Detroit residents are looking for some good news. Unfortunately, city leaders refused to extend fundraising deadlines for the redevelopment of Tiger Stadium, so the beloved old ballpark-yet another emblem of Detroit's storied past-entered its final inning this morning. Unless the city council or the mayor intervenes, Tiger Stadium will be gone by the end of the week.

Demolishing the stadium is a mistake. Even in its diminished, partly demolished state, the stadium served as a defining feature of the historic Corktown neighborhood-a reminder of better days, but also a cornerstone for future revitalization of the community. Redevelopment of this iconic historic place for, among other things, youth baseball leagues, could transform it back into the thriving center of community activity that it once was. Now, city leaders have chosen a course that will in all likelihood lead to yet another empty lot in Detroit-the last thing the city needs.

Learn 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.

Take Action to Help Save Detroit's Tiger Stadium

Posted on: June 5th, 2009 by Sarah Heffern 4 Comments

 

June 3, 2009 protest at Tiger Stadium. (Photo by Marvin Shaouni)

June 3, 2009 protest at Tiger Stadium. (Photo by Marvin Shaouni)

UPDATE, MONDAY, JUNE 8

Detroit's WXYZ news station is reporting that the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy's request for an injunction to prevent further demolition of the ballpark has been denied.

We will be issuing an official statement on this loss later today.

ADDITIONAL UPDATE:

An injunction has been granted and the demolition ceased late Friday afternoon, with a hearing to follow on Monday morning. The link in the update below has more information on this developing situation.

Please read to the end of the post for information on how to contact Detroit's Mayor and City Council to ask them to stop this needless demolition.

UPDATE:

Despite the fact that demolition was scheduled to begin as early as Monday, June 8th, we recently learned that the City of Detroit has moved up its schedule and demolition in fact began the afternoon of June 5th at 3:45 pm Eastern Time.

Please express your outrage at this action by contacting Mayor Dave Bing's office at 313-224-3400.

Thank you for your support on this issue.

***

Yesterday, my colleague Royce from the Midwest Office wrote about the plight of Tiger Stadium -- where bulldozers had appeared suddenly in response a vote by the city of Detroit's economic development arm to follow through with complete demolition of the remaining portion of the stadium.

Today, we're asking you to join other preservationists, baseball enthusiasts, and local activists in taking action to save Tiger Stadium.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Write to the City Council

Express your outrage with demolition of Tiger Stadium. Let them know that redevelopment of this iconic historic place could transform it back into a thriving center of community activity.

Call the Mayor's Office

Mayor Dave Bing's office can be reached at 313-224-3400.  He needs to know that you support protection of Tiger Stadium, and that it is important to the City of Detroit and people across the nation.

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.

Tiger Stadium Protesters Seek “More Vision and Less Demolition”

Posted on: June 4th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 3 Comments

 

Written by Royce Yeater

June 3, 2009 protest at Tiger Stadium. (Photo by Marvin Shaouni)

Save Tiger Stadium! (Photo by Marvin Shaouni)

Refrains of “Take me out to the Ball Game” interspersed with chants of “Save Tiger Stadium” rose in the late night air at the corner of Trumbull and Michigan in Detroit last night. About 100 protesters gathered before midnight outside what remains of the famous but long-abandoned historic baseball park. They carried neon-colored handmade posters with the “Save Tiger Stadium” message, along with signs reading “More Vision and Less Demolition” and “This Place Matters.”

The protest was in response to the appearance on the site earlier in the day of demolition equipment poised to do its work. It was apparently ordered into that position by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) after they determined that the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy had failed to meet a $15 million dollar target for fundraising toward their plan to preserve the field itself and the most historic portion of the Stadium (once known as Navin Field) as a venue for youth baseball surrounded by office space.

For nearly 20 years, Tiger Stadium has been the focus of  local and nationwide efforts to preserve it as an icon of baseball, after rumors of intentions to build a new stadium surfaced. We listed Tiger Stadium on our annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 1991. After the Tigers relocated to Comerica Park in 1999, the city agreed to continue to maintain the stadium until an appropriate adaptive use of the stadium, or a viable new use for the site, could be identified.

The remaining portion of Tiger Stadium. (Photo by Marvin Shaouni)

The remaining portion of Tiger Stadium. (Photo by Marvin Shaouni)

Neither of those things happened, in spite of extensive efforts by preservationists to find an adaptive use, and by the city’s economic development staff to find another productive use of the site. In 2008, with funds for maintenance ever-tightening and the Corktown Neighborhood in which the stadium sits asking for some resolution, a compromise was established in a Memorandum of Agreement between the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (a quasi-governmental economic development agency) and the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy (a non-profit advocacy and development group organized to save and reuse the stadium). The agreement accepted demolition of the less historic parts of the stadium seating and that work ensued in July, 2008, demolishing all but the infield corner of the stadium seating. The MOA documented an agreement to preserve that element as retail, hospitality, office and community space, and preserve the playing field itself and the lower deck seating as a venue for youth baseball, all at a cost estimated to be about $27M.

June 3, 2009 protest at Tiger Stadium. (Photo by Marvin Shaouni)

June 3, 2009 protest at Tiger Stadium. (Photo by Marvin Shaouni)

The Conservancy has made great progress, even in these economic times. They have secured significant dollars in private contributions from foundations and individuals and, with the help of Senator Carl Levin, had been granted $3.8M in federal funding to advance the plan. They have confirmed through the State Historic Preservation Office the eligibility of the remaining stadium elements for as much as $18M in state and federal historic tax credits. While they had indeed failed to meet a specific fundraising target by March 1, they were meeting fundraising goals to cover the cost of continued maintenance and security and they felt they were demonstrating sufficient progress to sustain their efforts.

When the DEGC suddenly moved into position to demolish the remaining and most historic parts of the stadium, the Conservancy was shocked -- and issued a statement saying so, stressing the economic benefits of their plan to a city struggling in the face of the current recession and the melt down of the automotive industry.

June 3, 2009 protest at Tiger Stadium. (Photo by Marvin Shaouni)

More vision, Less demolition. (Photo by Marvin Shaouni)

In contrast, the DEGC and the city have no alternative plan for the site with any real viability, and certainly no developer or use that is at all shovel-ready. So why the sudden rush to spend significant money to tear it all down? Complete demolition at this time will result only in another empty parcel in a city filled with vacant land awaiting new construction.

We believe the city should extend deadlines for the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy and encourage continued progress toward a significant redevelopment of an iconic historic resource that will cost the taxpayers of Detroit little and provide a much needed shot in the arm the cash-strapped city desperately needs in these trying times.

But the city is currently saying no to that logic and demolition could begin next week. The DEGC has indicated only that demolition will begin within the next two weeks. Ironically, demolition is being held up by a film crew shooting a feature length movie in which the stadium will stand in for Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, itself demolished in 1995.

Please check back tomorrow (Friday, June 5, 2009) to learn how to make your voice heard in the fight to save Tiger Stadium.

Learn More:

Royce A. Yeater, AIA, is the director of the Midwest office of the 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.