Notes from the Field: New Orleans

Posted on: December 3rd, 2007 by Walter Gallas

 

The Housing Authority of New Orleans approved nearly $31 million in contracts for demolishing the four largest housing developments, with a HANO spokesman saying demolitions will begin December 15.

I spoke to the deconstruction program manager of Mercy Corps, who told me he was waiting for another meeting with a representative of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the State Historic Preservation Office to find out whether there will be any salvage of the mountains of material. Mercy Corps has looked at all four developments and of course there is plenty to save—windows, doors, terra cotta tile roofing, not to mention millions of bricks. No one has answered our questions about where the demolition materials might go.

I joined some public housing activists on the steps of City Hall, who vowed they would stop the demolitions.

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Philip Johnson's Alice Ball House in Jeopardy

Posted on: November 30th, 2007 by Preservation magazine

 

Alice Ball HouseA tiny house with enormous glass walls sits on some of the priciest property in New Canaan, Conn. A town of 20,000, its proximity to New York City (about an hour's commute by train) continues to fuel a steady climb in local real-estate values. And with the current trend toward larger homes, many smaller ones face destruction—even gems.

Christened the "little jewel box" by its designer, Philip Johnson, and named after its original occupant, Alice Ball, the glass-walled house stands at the center of a controversy. But it's not simply a local controversy—it's one that touches not only New Canaan, but also many other upscale metropolitan suburbs. At stake could be the future of post-World War II architecture and the legacies of its architectural pioneers.

The Impasse

The Ball House, built in 1953 as a residence for a single woman, is a doll-sized home that the real-estate listing puts at 1,773 square feet, perched on a 2.2 acre tract of land. The one-story dwelling sports a flat roof and glass walls, all in keeping with its International Style.... Read More →

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Rare 18th-Century Tavern Saved

Posted on: November 29th, 2007 by Margaret Foster 2 Comments

 

DeJarnette’s Tavern A preservation group has found a new owner for one of the country's few remaining taverns, the DeJarnette Tavern, built c.1780 in Halifax County, Va.

Named after Daniel DeJarnette, son of a Revolutionary War captain, the building was a colorful stagecoach inn and watering hole. "The tavern is said to have attracted a fun-loving clientele, particularly those who enjoyed horseracing, card playing, and cockfighting," according to the National Register nomination, which APVA Preservation Virginia prepared.

The Oct. 15 sale transferred the dilapidated tavern to a Connecticut couple whose name have not been released. Using state historic tax credits, the owner plans to restore the 1,300-square-foot building to its Civil War appearance, APVA Preservation Virginia announced this week.... Read More →

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Illinois Villa Stripped of Landmark Status

Posted on: November 28th, 2007 by Preservation magazine 1 Comment

 

Villa de Chantal, Rock Island, Ill.The city of Rock Island, Ill., rescinded the local landmark designation of the century-old Villa de Chantal on Nov. 12, clearing the way for its demolition.

The Rock Island-Milan School District has proposed a new $9 million building on the National Register-listed villa's 14-acre site.

The Gothic revival Villa de Chantal was built in four portions, two of which were designed by George Stauduhar and completed by 1906: the chapel, dormitories, and classrooms. ... Read More →

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Googie Diner Reopens in California

Posted on: November 27th, 2007 by Margaret Foster

 

Mel’s Drive-InA Googie-style restaurant reopened yesterday, almost three years after its owners decided to demolish the 1967 structure in Seal Beach, Calif.

After fans of the Parasol rallied to save the building—more than 12,000 supporters signed a petition—Santa Monica-based owner Century National Properties switched gears and spent $1 million to renovate the building, which has an umbrella-shaped roof designed by Mayer & Kanner.... Read More →

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