Houston Shopping Center Partially Demolished

Posted on: September 5th, 2007 by Margaret Foster

 

River Oaks Shopping CenterIt's a city landmark, but it was partially demolished yesterday. Despite an appeal from National Trust President Richard Moe, the owner of Houston's River Oaks shopping center, Weingarten Realty, bulldozed part of the art deco structure yesterday to make way for a Barnes & Noble.

"Once the demolition started, they didn't waste any time. It was basically finished overnight," says David Bush, director of programs and information at the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance.

Read the back story on Preservation Online >>

Read more about the River Oaks Center >>

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An online extra: Q & A With Wayne Curtis, author of "Block by Block: wo years after Katrina, a new New Orleans is finally taking shape," in the September/October issue of Preservation magazine.

Q: How have you seen New Orleans change since you moved there last October?

It's been slow. When we were first looking for a house, there were commercial strips where they had boarded up stores like Taco Bell and Rite Aid. They're still pretty bleak, but it doesn't look like a disaster zone anymore; it looks like any other rundown American city. For post-Katrina New Orleans, that's an improvement.

The second anniversary was interesting. People who fly in and don't really know it say it's a mess, but there were a lot of parts that were a mess before the flood. There's the upbeat reporting and the doom-and-gloom reporting. The perception when you talk to people who just read the AP stories is that things are still in horrible shape.

I'm more optimistic, and I think that was reflected in the story. There's a lot happening on the street level, bit by bit. My perception is that it'll take 10 years. If you look at it that way, we're 20 percent through a rebuild, and we're in good shape. There are a lot of [journalists] who are always incensed that the city hasn't rebuilt yet. That's sort of disingenuous because it's only been two years. If you look at it as a 10-to-15-year rebuild arc, things are in pretty good shape.

Read more on Preservation Online >>

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.

"Hawaii's Westminster Abbey" To Add New Building

Posted on: September 5th, 2007 by Preservation magazine 1 Comment

 

Kawaiaha’o ChurchAt the 1842 church known as the Westminster Abbey of Hawaii last month, workers broke ground for a new building beside the National Register-listed church in Oahu.

Kawaiaha'o Church, the first Christian church in Hawaii, will use the new facility in part to expand its homeless outreach program.

"Our membership is largely Hawaiian, and we recognize the needs [for greater homeless services] in some Hawaiian communities," Valerie Lota Trotter, Kawaiaha'o Church treasurer, told the Honolulu Star Bulletin.

Established by New England Protestant missionairies, Kawaiaha'o Church's "bricks" are actually giant slabs of coral hewn from Hawaii's reefs. The church is famous for hosting many Hawaiian alii, or royalty, throughout the 19th century and for holding services in the Hawaiian language.

The $12.7 million project won a $500,000 grant from Save America's Treasures, a public-private partnership between the National Park Service and the National Trust. is scheduled to be completed in October 2008. The two-story building will serve as a  house a bookstore, church archives, meeting rooms, a kitchen, and a mini-museum for the church's historical artifacts.

- Krista Walton

(Updated April 16, 2008 to delete incorrect Save America's Treasures grant information, remove Save America's Treasures tag, and revise planned site use details.)

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.

Why “Beyond Green Building?”

Posted on: September 5th, 2007 by Patrice Frey

 

There is great enthusiasm (understandably) among environmentalists about green buildings innovations, such as new materials that contain low embodied energy, highly efficient HVAC systems, and thermally resistant windows. And since about 40% of carbon emissions in the United States are attributed to buildings, there is good reason to construct more environmentally friendly buildings.

But I often find the exuberance about green building a bit troubling. In my view, we find ourselves facing significant environmental challenges largely because of our culture of disposability – whether it's plastic water bottles we toss in landfills, or buildings we mow down after 20 years when they’ve served their "useful life." Thermally resistant windows and green roofs won't fix the problem.

That's why I think this is such an exciting time for the field of historic preservation. As the antithesis of disposability, preservation encompasses two things that are essential to any sustainable society: valuing what we have and planning for the future. Preservationists inherently place value on what has been handed down to us from the past, and plan so that these resources can be enjoyed now and protected for future generations. That's the very definition of sustainability.

I've settled with the name "Beyond Green Building" because I hope this blog will help advance the discussion beyond our fixation with green building, to a conversation about what really makes for a sustainable society.

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Beyond Green Building: Morning Roundup

Posted on: September 5th, 2007 by Patrice Frey

 

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.