Modern Architecture

LA's Once-Endangered Ennis House Stabilized, on the Market

Posted on: July 31st, 2009 by Sarah Heffern

 

Yesterday morning as I walked into work, I ran into a colleague and, after exchanging the usual pleasantries, she told me about a great story she'd been listening to on NPR on her way into the office. It was about the Ennis House, an iconic Frank Lloyd Wright creation in Los Angeles that had fallen into such disrepair that it was included on our 11 Most Endangered list in 2005. After several years  -- and nearly 6.4 million dollars of stabilization and rehabilitation work by the Ennis House Foundation, with our assistance and that of the LA Conservancy and the Frank  Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy -- the house is now on the market.

NPR correspondent Karen Grigsby Bates shares the story of a house that starred in films, fell on hard times, and is now looking for its Hollywood ending.

Sarah Heffern is the content manager for PreservationNation.org.

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.

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

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.