Notes from the Field: New Orleans

Posted on: September 17th, 2007 by Walter Gallas

 

New Orleans WindowsI visited the warehouse operated by our partner the Preservation Resource Center this week to see what kinds of materials are coming in from the selective salvage of buildings which the city had declared an imminent structural threat and slated for demolition. These were buildings which, according to FEMA’s historic preservation staff and the State Historic Preservation Office, still retained features making them contributing buildings in a National Register district.

Materials from a total of 53 houses have been salvaged through Friday, with the contractor telling the PRC warehouse manager that they will begin on another group next week. The materials include numerous mantels, complete windows with casings, decorative brackets, interior doors, front doors, wooden screen doors, French doors, shutters, and some interior and exterior light fixtures. This is already becoming a source for the PRC’s and the Trust’s Home Again projects. We fought long and hard to get FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers (which is in charge of demolition and debris removal through the end of this month) to come up with a plan to at least save some elements of these structures, which otherwise would have been completely lost.

Walter Gallas is director of the New Orleans Field 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.

Beyond Green Building: Morning Round-Up

Posted on: September 17th, 2007 by Patrice Frey

 

News to Keep you in the Know....

Clean coal to qualify for Kyoto carbon offsets -Reuters. Very efficient coal-fired power plants will be able to sell carbon offsets under the Kyoto Protocol, in an expansion of project eligibility under the carbon trading scheme, U.N. official Jose Miguez said.

Nations ink deal to provide safer atomic power - Reuters. Sixteen nations signed a U.S.-initiated pact on Sunday to help meet soaring world energy demand by developing nuclear technology less prone to being illicitly diverted into making atomic weapons.

N.Y. Group Trying to Eat Only Local Food – ENN. Dick Shave got a duck for dinner. It was firm, fresh and — this is very important when you're only eating food grown within 100 miles — raised nearby.

New fingerprinting method tracks mercury in environment – ENN. With mercury polluting our air, soil and water and becoming concentrated in fish and wildlife as it is passed up the food chain, understanding how the potent nerve toxin travels through the environment is crucial.

U.S. Climate Program Flawed, Threatened by Budget Cuts – ENS. The Bush administration's climate research program has helped scientists clarify some basic facts about global warming, but has done little to provide much-needed information about how society might mitigate or adapt to the changing climate, a National Academy of Sciences committee said today.

What Should We Really Be Doing About Global Warming? A Freakonomics Quorum – NYT. The authors of Freakonomics “thought it would be a good idea to host a Freakonomics Quorum in which we asked a few smart people a very straightforward two-part question: What should the U.S. government be doing about global warming, and what should individuals be doing?”

Safeway Unveils First Solar-Powered Grocery Store - Press Release.

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.

 

Brooklyn’s view (Municipal Art Society of New York)"To get a true feeling of New York's industrial, 19th-century waterfront, you really have to go out to Brooklyn —specifically, Red Hook. … One is privileged to see the little canal, the fishing boats, the warehouses, all as it must have been forever, or at least the past hundred years. The factories and warehouses on the canal have that brilliantly additive, piece-by-piece, higgledy-piggledy look of tropical green stucco alongside corrugated aluminum that Frank Gehry works so hard to achieve." —Phillip Lopate, Waterfront

 

It wasn't long ago that Brooklyn's East River coastline, from the Newtown Creek on the Queens border to Red Hook, was considered no-man's land, with aging infrastructure and unsightly power stations marring its shores. After their heyday during the early 20th century as the nucleus of the manufacturing and shipping industries in New York City, these riverside areas were largely ignored by developers and city officials. The seven-mile sliver, just a stone's throw from Manhattan, became home to artists and a handful of intrepid, out-of-the-box thinkers.

 

Then, in the 1990s, real-estate prices in the borough climbed to mesmerizing heights and a debate ensued, no longer over whether the area had potential, but how to extract the most bang for the buck. All along the waterfront, it now feels as if a ship is setting sail and no one wants to be left behind.

 

"We're headed toward a rapid takeover by everyone who wants a piece [of land] for themselves," says David Sharps, owner of the Waterfront Museum since 1994, housed on a historic barge docked in Red Hook.

 

Should the historic warehouses and docks, many of which date back to the Civil War, make way for big-box stores (a relatively new trend in Brooklyn), high-rise housing or parks? Should they be repurposed or preserved? The city's answer is a complicated balancing act between the needs for jobs, housing, and preservation.

 

"There has been a failure to protect the maritime infrastructure," says Lisa Kersavage, historic preservation fellow at the Municipal Art Society of New York. "So much development is happening; historic resources need to be considered." Because of these changes, the National Trust for Historic Preservation in June named Brooklyn's industrial waterfront one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America.... Read 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.

Beyond Green Building: Morning Round-Up

Posted on: September 14th, 2007 by Patrice Frey

 

The Untapped Green Within Graying Buildings GreenerBuildings.com. An excellent article highlighting the greening of the 80 year old Joseph Vance Building in Seattle by Jonathan Rose Companies LLC. The company launched a $100 million smart growth investment fund in 2006 to green existing buildings. The company explains the impetus behind the fund: “In terms of the building stock, only 1 percent is new construction annually, so it is critical to focus on the existing 99 percent, which are huge consumers of energy.”

The article discusses the company’s climate sensitive approach to heating and cooling, and extensive lighting improvements. The developer’s approach to historic windows is particularly noteworthy. The company “weighed installing new windows against restoring existing windows. Since operability was key for tenant comfort, the company chose to restore the existing wood windows because the sashes of many had been nailed shut. Weather stripping was added, as well as mecco shades and light shelves to the south and west facades for proper interior shading.”

... Read 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.

Volunteers Help Restore 18th-Century House

Posted on: September 13th, 2007 by Margaret Foster

 

The Hasbrouck House, built by Huguenots in 1721.The bulging wall of a 1721 house in New Paltz, N.Y., has been repaired with the help of preservation-minded volunteers.

Last month, volunteers from a French group and two U.S. nonprofits re-plastered the repaired wall of the Jean Hasbrouck House, which has been open as a public museum since 1899.

The wall repair project won a $250,000 matching grant from Save America's Treasures, a partnership between the National Park Service and the National Trust, in 2003. Two years later, workers began shoring up the wall as part of a complete restoration.

The Hasbrouck House is one of a collection of stone houses built by 12 French Huguenot families who founded New Paltz in 1678, now part of a National Historic Landmark district.

The seven volunteers found their way to the house through the Heritage Conservation Network, based in Boulder, Colo., New York-based Preservation Volunteers and the 100-year-old French organization REMPART.

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.