What Do You Think?



How should we preserve architecturally significant buildings?

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8 comments:

saveyourself said...

The proposals outlined in the movie are compelling alternatives to the traditional mode of preservation as an "all-or-nothing" solution. I wonder, however, if a possible 5th alternative could be "preservation as: concept" where the original ideas of the existing building are preserved, but its physical form is not.

Is it really the physicality of the Rudolph building or is it the inherent concepts that makes it a critical piece of architecture [i.e. innovative mechanical and structural systems, facade texture]? I imagine a solution where the physical building is demolished, but a new building is put in its place that embodies the essence of the original BCBS building. As you say, it doesn’t have to be “all-or-nothing," but it can be all-AND-nothing.

Anonymous said...

if you ever worked in that building you would realize how it would need to be gutted for long term future use... nothing is working properly.
Elevators were a trick- often closing on someone getting in or not even opening on the correct floor. Alarms that someone was stuck in side was a daily constant.
A major point of the preservation movie was the innovative mechanical system in the facade, well if you worked in there during the winter you would be sitting at your desk with the gloves with the finger tips cut off. So this heating and cooling problem is either caused by the building or management. Either way something needs to be addressed and corrected.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that anybody will disagree with what you are saying. This building might be confronted with mechanical problems because it is old and dilapidated.... that doesn't mean that it isn't historically significant or worthy of memorial. A bit of lovin' [equally innovative mechanical upgrades] would probably cure your problem, but please don't blame the building. I currently work in a building that has recently been gutted and renovated and I have the same frozen phalange problem that you describe.

I think that the real message here is that there are other ways to preserve buildings. If in fact the building is useless and outdated, lets at least respect what it was and give it some honor, even if that means that it is no longer the physical "building" that it once was.

Anonymous said...

That was really amazing! Really thought-provoking and presented in a very effective manner.

CF said...

You guys take a very cool approach to the subject that I've never really thought of. I never really thought of the idea that preservation could exist outside of the vacuum-sealed, plague-protected state it occupies today. the preservation as integration and as disection were really cool ideas. The expression of the parts that made the building famous in the first place are also such great ideas. If we preserve buildings without the general public knowing why, what's the point? The displaying of aspects of the building as public art is also really cool. It gives the nature of a building's status as exitance or demolition a whole new spin.

R.D. said...

sweet movie. it brought up a bunch of links in my mind. im sure youve seen many of them- but just in case you havent, here they are:
the mass eye and ear infirmary - i think payette did it.
http://www.meei.harvard.edu/edu/images/meei2.jpg

temple of antoninus and faustina - in the roman forum - its an anicent roman temple with renaissance church built inside of it. i love the way the front door is way up in the air - they never bothered to excavate the temple - the just built around it.
http://www.dkimages.com/discover/previews/777/270281.JPG

theater of marcellus - a renaissance apt. building built into/out of/on top of an ancient roman teater
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Theatre_of_Marcellus-Rome1.JPG

not much to say about these two images, other than whoa:
http://tinyurl.com/32hopv
http://tinyurl.com/3333x6

Robin Abraham said...

It is a great point that we need to protect modern buildings now or down the road they will be an endangered species. The comment that it doesn't need to be all or nothing is powerful. Developers and building owners have to be careful that they don't preserve part of an older building and slap a new building right next to it because tenants will not want to be in the old part. The creation of public space on the other hand would compliment the new offerings of the state-of-the-art buildings.
I was recently in Portland Oregon and there were a lot of examples of facade-only preservation. The old four and five story brick facades were being repurposed as gates, entry ways and boundaries. While the new construction was set back. it almost seemed like "building as fence." but it did present an obvious historical connection between the two structures and preserved a lot of the character of the streetscape, at least at the sidewalk level. This seemed important as I got the impression that it is a very pedestrian city. Here is a project where one building was fully salvaged and parts of the facade of the adjacent building remain to create a place for eco-friendly parking. The lot is also home to a farmers market on specific days. http://www.ecotrust.org/events/

Chris Novelli said...

Giedion wrote that “history is not simply the repository of unchanging facts, but a process, a pattern of living and changing attitudes and interpretations.” Your idea proposals for the Rudolf building capture the concept that history is not static, but is very much a dynamic thing. With this building, and others like it who face a similar fate (Breuer, etc) there lies a potential to reinterpret a building whose typology the general public would not usually define as “beautiful” and to make visible the reasons “why” architecture of this style and from this period in time is just as important to our history as the historic monument. I foresee the potential of tapping into the theories of Rudolf and his contemporaries, who questioned convention, to not only inform the new development proposed for this site, but one that represents our current period of transition.