I get to see a lot of amazing places in my travels for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, but my recent stay at Pocantico -– the Rockefeller estate near Tarrytown, New York -- just might top them all.  For a couple of days, I got to live like a Rockefeller.  Let’s just say there were Picassos, Calders and many more sculptures scattered throughout the estate grounds (to say nothing of Nelson Rockefeller’s private art gallery), and my bathroom was only slightly smaller than my entire condominium in DC.  As I write this blog post in said condo, I get a little sad looking at my futon and dining set from Target.  Somehow they lack the elegance of Pocantico.

In early November, 30 preservationists, architects, green builders and energy experts gathered at Pocantico thanks to the generous support of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which manages the estate. The group met to discuss the future of historic preservation in light of global warming, and specifically the implications of climate change for preservation policy.

We know that we are at important crossroads, in which our country will either rise to the challenge of addressing global warming, or face disastrous consequences. It is the belief of the Pocantico Symposium attendees that preservationists are uniquely able to help reduce the environmental impacts of our buildings. The tradition of stewardship that we’ve always embraced and the knowledge that we’ve gained from decades of experience can help to transform our built environment to one that is more sustainable.

After two days of intense discussions – some of which went on way too late into the night -- the group developed the core of what we are calling the Pocantico Proclamation on Sustainability and Preservation. This Proclamation outlines six preservation-based principles to sustain our built environment. We believe these principles can inform and strengthen efforts by preservationists and green-building advocates to reduce environmental impacts -– especially carbon emissions -– that are associated with the built environment.

On Thursday, November 20th, National Trust President Richard Moe will unveil these six principles at his speech to Greenbuild, the U.S. Green Building Council's annual conference. Following the introduction of these principles, a working group from the Pocantico Symposium will be refining a draft of the Pocantico Proclamation and will post the document for review and comment by all members of the preservation community.

So please check back Thursday to learn more about the Pocantico Proclamation –- my colleagues Barbara Campagna and Charlotte Bonini will be blogging from the conference, and we will post the full version of Richard Moe’s speech.

I’ll be looking forward to your comments.  And perhaps looking for a new couch.


Photo: Kuykit, another Rockefeller family home -- and National Trust Historic Site -- in Tarrytown, NY.

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.


Downtown Buffalo - Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Downtown Buffalo - Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Western New York in the Spotlight: The city of Buffalo may be focused on hosting the Monday Night game this evening, but there is plenty more to get excited about as well. Back in May, the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed Buffalo's Peace Bridge Neighborhood on its list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.  Now, the New York Times is on board as well.  "Buffalo is home to some of the greatest American architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with major architects like Henry Hobson Richardson, Frederick Law Olmsted, Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright building marvels here. Together they shaped one of the grandest early visions of the democratic American city." [New York Times - Art & Design] And check out the Buffalo Slideshow featured on the Times' website.

Olmstead in Rochester: Besides his impressive work in Buffalo, Frederick Law Olmstead designed several parks in the Queen City's neighbor of Rochester. In addition to Highland Park--home of the annual Lilac Festival--Olmstead worked with the city on Genesee Valley and Seneca/Maplewood Parks.  [Confessions of a Preservationist]

Preservation in Spartanburg: The Preservation Trust of Spartanburg has launched a new website. [Preservation Trust of Spartanburg]

Reembracing the High-Rise: "Tall buildings are back in vogue internationally at present, and South Africa appears alive to this international property-development trend. Partly, the attraction comes down to sensible space management. But urban planners assert that tall buildings can also make positive contributions to city life by serving as beacons of urban regeneration, assisting with changing negative perceptions of a particular area and stimulating further investment." [Engineering News]

Texas Canyon Escapes Suburban Sprawl: A San Francisco-based group called The Trust for Public Land has stepped in to help preserve Palo Duro Canyon  from increasing development. [NPR]

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.

Restored Homan Square Chimney to Empower Students

Posted on: November 14th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation


In 2007, the Homan Square Power House in Chicago was selected as a grant recipient of the Partners in Preservation program.

Great care was taken to preserve pieces of the historic machinery throughout the building that were so integral to the Power House’s function. For instance, the massive overhead crane will serve as the platform for a large, mobile screen.

Care was taken to preserve pieces of the machinery that were integral to the Power House’s function -- this massive overhead crane will be the platform for a large, mobile screen.

The Power House was constructed in 1905 in the Lawndale neighborhood in Chicago as part of the Sears, Roebuck & Company complex designed by Chicago architectural firm of Nimmons & Fel­lows. It served as the heating and cooling plant for the massive Sears complex until it was decommissioned in 2004.  Now it is part of the $35 million, award-winning Homan Square redevelopment project, undergoing restoration for use as Henry Ford Power House High, which will answer a deep community need for high-quality schools.

The lower levels of the chimney will remain open and surrounded by a new internal staircase that will allow student to see its features up close.

The lower levels of the chimney will remain open and surrounded by a new internal staircase.

One of the most iconic exterior features of the building is the 185 foot tall, 14 foot wide, radial brick chimney, which will be preserved as a neighborhood landmark, but also as an educational tool to facilitate student experimentation with the dynamics of heat, airflow and energy generation. To stabilize the chimney and preserve its structural integrity, a portion of the top was removed and all of the brick masonry is being repointed. Once this step is complete, a chimney liner will be installed and a transparent chimney cap placed on top, to allowing daylight into the heart of the building while also giving students access to the structure of the chimney.

The Power House is expected to be complete in time for Power House High to accept students in the fall of 2009, but they are still seeking additional funds to support the retention and restoration of historic mechanical elements in the building, such as the “Link-Belt” coal bucket system that carried coal to the furnaces in the basement.

– Christina Morris

Christina Morris is a program officer in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Midwest Office.

Learn more about the Partners in Preservation program here.

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.

Make Your Voice Heard: LEED 2009 Closes for Member Vote Tomorrow

Posted on: November 13th, 2008 by Barbara Campagna


If you are your company’s U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Member Company primary contact, tomorrow is the last day to vote on the LEED 2009 ballot. This year USGBC unveiled its most comprehensive amendments to LEED since 2000: LEED 2009, also referred to as Version 3 (v3). We have reported on the various changes to LEED, many of which directly affect historic and existing buildings positively. See our previous blog postings for more detail, and for additional information, also see my Forum News article* in this month’s newsletter. I will be reading through the final documentation today myself prior to voting.

Next week is also USGBC’s annual Greenbuild conference in Boston, where Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation will be presenting a “Master Talk” about our Sustainability Initiative Thursday morning (November 20, 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.). If you’ll be at Greenbuild, don’t miss this session!

As per the USGBC website: Voting on LEED 2009

Voting is an important part of your membership in USGBC and it’s vital to the development of the LEED Rating System. The draft includes LEED for New Construction, Core and Shell, Schools, Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance and Commercial Interiors with future plans to incorporate other LEED rating systems into the structure.

Member Ballot

The USGBC is seeking member approval to release LEED 2009 for use. The member ballot is the final step in the process used to develop, test, evaluate, revise and publish LEED rating systems and credit mandates. Your organization is strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to contribute to the evolution of LEED.

Period for Vote

In accordance with the USGBC Balloting Procedures, the ballot period is open for 30 days from Tuesday, October 14th through Friday, November 14 at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

In order to pass, LEED 2009 needs to reach a quorum of 10 percent of USGBC members and two-thirds affirmative votes.

Who can Vote

All USGBC member organizations in good standing are entitled to one (1) vote. Your organization's primary contact is the only individual from your company permitted to represent your organization in this vote. According to the USGBC Bylaws, liaison organizations are not eligible to vote. To identify the primary contact for your organization, visit the USGBC Member Directory to enter the name of your organization. If you are not the primary contact for your organization and are receiving this email, please contact us at leedinfo@usgbc.org.

Each member organization may vote to approve with or without comments, disapprove with comments, or abstain. There is no option to disapprove without comment. You may view comments and responses from the public comment periods below. USGBC is not required to respond to comments submitted during the ballot. Once a ballot is cast it cannot be modified.
To vote, please go to the LEED 2009 ballot.


* Forum News is a bimonthly publication of National Trust Forum. Click here to learn more about Forum membership.

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.

Barbara Campagna

Barbara A. Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C was formerly the Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust in the Stewardship of Historic Sites office. She is currently a sustainability consultant to the National Trust and can be reached at bcampagna@bcampagna.com.


In the continuing discussion about the future of Charity Hospital, the firm of RMJM Hillier responded last week to a letter released on October 24 by Angele Davis, Commissioner of Administration for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. In this Ms. Davis attempts to refute the RMJM Hillier feasibility study commissioned by the Foundation for Historical Louisiana, a partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Foundation asked RMJM Hillier to address point-by-point the issues raised by Ms. Davis. Click here to see the entire RMJM Hillier response.


Learn more about our ongoing struggle to save Charity Hospital, one of 2008's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

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.