National Treasures

Vanity Fair: Paul Goldberger on the Fight to Save Chicago's Prentice Hospital

Posted on: August 15th, 2012 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 6 Comments

 

If you haven't ever seen Prentice Women's Hospital, the Modernist concrete structure that opened in Chicago in 1975, you can head to the Windy City -- or visit SavingPlaces.org, the new National Trust website about America's National Treasures.

There you'll discover that Prentice is much-loved and much-admired, but threatened with demolition by Northwestern University -- which is why the Trust is battling to save it alongside an impressive list of world-famous architects and Chicago-area preservation groups.

This week Paul Goldberger, the Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic (and National Trust board member since 2005) penned a blog post for Vanity Fair magazine where he serves as a contributing editor.  His post brilliantly captures Prentice's significance, and underscores the case for saving the innovative cloverleaf hospital.

Read it here: Paul Goldberger on the Fight to Save Chicago's Prentice Hospital.

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.

Historic Opportunity at Fort Monroe: Fuel Local Economy with Historic Tax Credits

Posted on: August 9th, 2012 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

In November 2011, President Obama created the Fort Monroe National Monument to honor the 193-year-old fortress’s deep historical significance. This place literally bookends the slavery experience in America: In 1619, the first enslaved Africans in the New World landed at what is now Fort Monroe, and in 1861, the fort witnessed the beginnings of the Civil War-era freedom movement.

President Obama’s declaration -- the culmination of collaboration between national, state and local allies since 2005 -- hardly signaled the end of the National Trust’s work there (it's now a National Treasure). In fact, it could be argued, the most important work lies ahead: finalizing the plan for Fort Monroe’s future.

The Fort Monroe Authority and the National Park Service share stewardship responsibility for the 570-acre site, and the Authority has hired a planning and design firm, Sasaki Associates, to develop a master plan that will describe the new mix of economically sustainable uses at the site, including museum, housing, and commercial space.

David Brown, National Trust Executive Vice President and Chief Preservation Officer, recently made the case for rehabbing and reusing the fort’s vast number of historic buildings in an opinion piece published by the Virginian-Pilot. The following is an excerpt from "The Economic Power of Preservation":

Historic preservation is a true economic engine. Researchers have found that $1 million invested in historic rehabilitation produces more jobs, income and state and local taxes than $1 million invested in new construction, highway construction, machinery manufacturing, agriculture or telecommunications. This bears repeating: Preservation beats out new construction in creating jobs -- more and better-paying ones, and ones that can't be outsourced.

This message is especially relevant to the conversations concerning the reuse of one of our nation's most significant historic sites, Fort Monroe, which the president wisely designated a national monument last fall. The site consists of 180 historic buildings that, given preservation's role as an economic engine, should be the building blocks of a new future for Fort Monroe.

So while the future of the fort is being decided, we urge the stewards of this national treasure, both at the state (the Fort Monroe Authority) and the federal level (the National Park Service), to recognize the important role that our historic resources play in strengthening our economies. We urge them to seize the tremendous opportunity at Fort Monroe to preserve our history and revitalize our communities.

Read the full op-ed as well as our April 2012 Daily Press op-ed, A Vision for Fort Monroe, to learn more about the National Trust’s recommendations for historic Fort Monroe.

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.

Washington, DC’s Union Station: Where the Future Intersects with the Past

Posted on: August 2nd, 2012 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments

 

Written by Erica Stewart, Public Affairs Manager

Union Station, a Washington, DC landmark (and one of our National Treasures) beloved by locals and visitors alike, is heading for an "extreme makeover," and we at the National Trust for Historic Preservation have joined with our preservation allies to make sure that what we know and love about the station -- its historic character -- is still intact after the construction dust settles.

Last week, Amtrak revealed an ambitious conceptual master plan that would increase the number of tracks, trains, and travelers that can be handled at what is now the East Coast’s second-busiest station. Commercial developer Akridge also intends to construct 3-million-square-feet of office, residential, and commercial space by decking over the tracks behind Union Station. Still other entities have designs on expanding the station.

These are indeed heady times for Union Station, and we’re excited about the potential to improve what can be a crowded and confusing place to navigate. It's important, however, that great caution be taken with the 1907 Daniel Burham-designed station, and that the several plans for new construction be coordinated by a thoughtful, integrated planning approach that restores the station and involves the voice of the public in the process.

To that end, the National Trust, as part of the Union Station Preservation Coalition, has helped prepare a report that recommends ways to best preserve Union Station’s historic integrity. The full report can be downloaded at www.PreservationNation.org/UnionStationReport. You can also learn more about our work to support Union Station’s redevelopment at www.Savingplaces.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.

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.

Our Op-Ed about the Future of Woodlawn, a National Treasure

Posted on: July 27th, 2012 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Located in Alexandria, Virginia, Woodlawn is a 126-acre estate that was originally part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon. The main Federal-style house was constructed between 1800 and 1805 for Washington’s nephew, Major Lawrence Lewis, and his wife, Eleanor “Nelly” Custis Lewis.

During the Lewis’ years in residence, Woodlawn comprised over 2,000 acres and was supported by scores of workers, at least 90 of whom were enslaved people of African descent. In 1846, the Lewis’s son sold the property to Quaker families who made Woodlawn a “free labor colony,” selling lots to free black and white farmers -- a tremendously controversial social experiment.

Today, Woodlawn -- which is a National Historic Landmark, as well as one of the Trust's National Treasures -- is facing a set of possible threats due to a planned widening or re-routing of Route 1, which currently crosses through the site.

The following is an excerpt from National Trust Executive Vice President and Chief Preservation Officer David Brown's op-ed on the subject in the Fairfax Times:

Woodlawn’s historical and cultural significance cannot be overstated. The 126-acre estate originally was part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and its main house dates back more than 200 years. During the pre-Civil War era, Woodlawn was established as a “free labor colony,” selling lots to both free black and white farmers. The owners of the estate employed only free laborers to undermine the argument that the abolition of slavery would mean the death of the Southern plantation economy. Today, Woodlawn stands as a symbol of liberty and equality that we are honored to help protect for generations to come.

Making difficult choices when it comes to preservation issues is nothing new at the National Trust. Our privately- funded nonprofit is guided by its mission to take on-the-ground action to support and encourage grassroots preservation efforts and protect historic resources when necessary. The National Trust has helped to save and enhance thousands of places across the U.S. since its inception.

As the Route 1 project advances, we are committed to working with the community and the FHWA [Federal Highway Administration] to protect our most valuable asset: our history.

Read the entire op-ed online: Route 1 project leaves no good options.

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.

Architects to Chicago: "Save Prentice Hospital!"

Posted on: July 27th, 2012 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Historic Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago received enthusiastic support from 60 remarkable allies today -- a wide swath of prominent architects from around the world, including Pritzker Prize winner Frank Gehry and MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang.

In an open letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the architects cited the historic significance of Goldberg’s Prentice as well as Chicago’s long-term leadership in architectural innovation, and called for creative reuse of the building. Of note from their letter:

“The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently completed a landmark recommendation report documenting the significance of architect Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital. The report confirms what we already believed: that the historic Prentice exceeds the criteria for Chicago landmark designation, that it is truly singular in construction and layout, and that it changed the course of modern hospital design.

As members of the architecture community, we believe Goldberg’s Prentice should be given a permanent place in Chicago’s cityscape. A building this significant – this unique in the world – should be preserved and reused.”

Prentice Women's Hospital -- named a National Treasure earlier this year (remember our Valentine’s Day Show Prentice Some Love contest?) -- has been a Modernist icon in the Chicago cityscape since 1975. Here are some fast facts:

  • Prentice Women’s Hospital was originally built to house Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s obstetrical and gynecological facilities.
  • It was a culminating work for native architect Bertrand Goldberg, renowned for his “corncob” towers of Marina City.
  • His unique cloverleaf design at Prentice helped redefine patient- and family-centered care. It exemplified the belief that patients should be grouped in communities around a nursing center that improved proximity and sightlines between nurses and patients.
  • Prentice also propelled advances in the fields of architecture and engineering with its cantilevered concrete shell, column-free floors, and groundbreaking use of computer-aided design.

As National Trust president Stephanie Meeks noted in the press release:

“This outpouring of support for Prentice Hospital is truly inspirational. The list of architects signing this letter represents many leaders in the field of architecture, and testifies to the depth of national and international respect for the work of Bertrand Goldberg.”

Join these architects in supporting Prentice -- sign the pledge and donate to the campaign!

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.