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Architecture Week: future historic properties

  • 1.  Architecture Week: future historic properties

    Ambassador
    Posted 04-24-2019 22:04
    I am constantly amazed at how people connect with architecture and place. The devastating fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral reminds us of how long-lasting and influential certain places can be - both for the built environment and for the things that happen within it.

    It's architecture week and with both Architecture Month and World Landscape Architecture Month celebrated in April, I've been wondering what sort of properties/places being built/inhabited today might be worthy of preservation decades from now. Not just the award-winning designs, but places where people connect with what will become our future history. For example, in Minnesota, the work of Julie Snow and Snow Kreilich Architects is instantly recognizable (and award-winning) and is likely to be looked upon fondly 50 years from now. But what might be more significant is how the City of Minneapolis and architects respond to homelessness in our community (the Franklin/Hiawatha Encampment has been a major focus over the last year; there was also an update a couples months ago in MinnPost with additional information).

    So, thinking about future preservation, what properties built recently or home to recent significant events do you think will resonate with the public in 50 or 100 or more years? What role can we play now to help capture that future history?

    Barbara

    p.s. Be sure to check out the National Trust's latest style quiz, promoted in relation to architecture month. I'm apparently International Style: a bit cold but artistic. I'm not sure how I feel about that...

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    Barbara Howard
    Stonebridge Learning, LLC
    Minneapolis MN
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  • 2.  RE: Architecture Week: future historic properties

    Posted 04-26-2019 10:58
    So, my thoughts aren't so much on physical buildings but more communities. There's a community outside of DC (Langley Park) that is home to a very rich immigrant population, and while right now there's nothing historic about it, I feel like in 20+ years there will be an important story to tell about a place in time of this community. It's cultural significance, what now (we're talking in the future now!) famous people had lived there and brought their cultures and perspectives from their home countries to this community.
    How do we right now (back in 2019, not in the future 20+ years) capture that future history is an interesting question. I think it's all in the storytelling of the place. The connections with the people.
    AND, of course I had to take the quiz, I agree, I'm not sure I'm that Classical, though I do love Drayton Hall!


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    Colleen Danz
    Forum Marketing Manager
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Washington DC
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  • 3.  RE: Architecture Week: future historic properties

    Ambassador
    Posted 04-26-2019 13:24
    Colleen, the community you describe near DC reminded me of Cedar Square West here in Minneapolis (also known as Riverside Plaza) and our Somali community. Although already listed on the National Register (when it was less than 40 years old!), the complex continues to serve the immigrant community today. 50 years from now, we will look back and consider the significant contributions the Somali community (and other recent immigrant communities) have brought to the Twin Cities and the state. The changes made to the built environment within and surrounding Cedar Square West and throughout the Twin Cities will also be important to consider for preservation. And of course Rep. Ilhan Omar will certainly be considered significant for her roles in the Minnesota legislature and Congress, so there will properties associated with her to consider. You are absolutely correct, one thing we can do to help future preservationists is to capture these important stories as they happen.

    Barbara

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    Barbara Howard
    Stonebridge Learning, LLC
    Minneapolis MN
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  • 4.  RE: Architecture Week: future historic properties

    Ambassador
    Posted 04-27-2019 16:32
    Edited by Jamesha Gibson 04-27-2019 16:39

    Hi Colleen and Barbara,

    This is a very interesting thread! I like Colleen's perspective of looking at whole communities as places that will engender significance that will resonate with people 50-100 years from now, because communities draw a larger portrait of the narrative of their significance, with individual buildings/places acting as different points within that narrative. With this in mind, I do believe that one way preservationists can help capture the enduring significance of these communities is to expand our view beyond a specific point or period of when these communities are (or will become) significant, and begin to look at the continuous evolution of these communities' significance over time. After all, communities' significance-their impact and imprint on the social, cultural, and historic backdrop of their country and world-does not begin or end at a static period or point of significance.

    For example, the story and significance of Langley Park, particularly its inclusion in WMATA's plans for the pending Purple Line, is already being documented. Not by preservationists, but by urban planners who are using new technology and techniques to record the community members' attachment to place, the everyday meaning of places in the community, and the community members' fight for social justice during the planning and building process of the Purple Line. Similarly, the story of Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl or "Neza" and its growth from slum to city, is being documented by journalists. The citizens' victory in getting basic utilities installed in Neza, how Neza is continuously perceived by both outsiders and inhabitants, and what Neza's evolution means on a local, national, and international scale is already being considered, documented, and explored.

    With both of these examples, the problem is that though opportunity abounds for preservationists to become involved in considering and preserving the significance of these places; they tend not to recognize and take advantage of the opportunities. Particularly because the opportunities do not mesh with preservation/conservation regulatory, doctrinal, and ideological limits of practice, especially that of determining a significant period, person, or event associated to the community, or a place in the community. If we begin to accept the perspective of continuous and constant evolution of significance, I think preservationists will be better equipped to take advantage of the abounding opportunities that are present today to preserve community significance.

    Also, I took the style quiz, and I got Second Empire. I was surprised at first, then I read the description and I was like…makes sense! Lol.

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    P.S. If anyone is interested in more information about Langley Park, see the links below:

    "Report: Purple Line threatens affordable housing in Langley Park." Washington Post, January 24, 2017.

    "New study finds Purple Line threatens, but provides solutions for affordable housing in Langley Park." The Sentinel, February 1, 2017.

    "For low-income communities, the Purple Line is an opportunity and a threat." Washington Post, February 18, 2017.

    "Prince George's County allocates funds for affordable housing initiatives, Purple Line.The Diamondback, June 6, 2017.

    Lung-Amam, Willow, Casey Dawkins, and Brandon Bedford. 2017, August. Story Mapping in Action: Engaging an Immigrant Community in Planning for a New Light Rail. National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education and Enterprise Community Partners.

    Lung-Amam, Willow, Casey Dawkins, Zorayda Moreira, Gerrit-Jan Knaap, and Alonzo Washington. 2017. Preparing for the Purple Line: Affordable Housing Strategies for Langley Park, Maryland. National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education and CASA. With the support of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.







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    Jamesha Gibson
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  • 5.  RE: Architecture Week: future historic properties

    Ambassador
    Posted 04-28-2019 18:14
    @Jamesha Gibson, I love love love your contribution to this thread. Even when looking at a specific building, I have long advocated for looking at the layers of history and the building's evolution over time. Nothing that we experience today was born in a specific date-based vacuum. I often feel like one of the few people who believes that this can be done both on a building by building basis and on a neighborhood level within the current statutory structure for the National Register and for some local designations. However, I think we all need better guidance to do that effectively and I do not believe that designation is the right tool for preserving or recognizing all communities (it really is just an honorific, after all).

    One of the things we need to be doing now is helping to develop new tools that look beyond National Register/local designation of specific buildings/districts (and everything tied to it, including tax credits) and look to preserving/supporting the community at large. Hopefully those new tools expand the perception of what preservation can be in 50 years and come along with additional incentives that can also help preserve various types of places important to community members.

    Coming from an architecture/building-based background, I continually struggle with assessing and adding effective community-based tools to my personal preservation toolbox. Forums and discussions like this are critical to widening my perspective and providing leads to new ideas.

    Thanks for adding to the discussion!

    Barbara

    p.s. This oddball is extremely jealous of your style description!

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    Barbara Howard
    Stonebridge Learning, LLC
    Minneapolis MN
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  • 6.  RE: Architecture Week: future historic properties

    Posted 04-29-2019 18:10
    Preservation is people. The National Trust has said as much, and if we are brutally honest, what else could be the reason to preserve? Historic Preservation is a very big part of documenting and saving heritage overall. Heritage is what supports a sense of identity and authenticity, but I also think it is critical to human health in general that people have a sense of their own heritage and a sense of belonging both socially and geographically.

    If you look at what UNESCO is doing with the Historic Urban Landscape Guidelines (HUL), you will see that they are trying to document and support culture in situ. This strategy is highly sustainable, economically viable and supportive of good human health outcomes.

    Story mapping looks interesting, and of course, I am a big fan of Enterprise; they do such great work. What HUL does is it bases a multi-faceted, multi-level discovery of sense of place on a foundation of heritage preservation. All actions taken under HUL implementation have historic preservation as a foundation. We could talk about that at length, what it means and how we all benefit, but mainly I mention this because story mapping sounds like it could be part of something larger that already exists and is called cultural mapping. Cultural mapping supports heritage preservation in a broader way than story mapping probably can.

    My only critique here is that we try to be careful to look around at what is already being done before we struggle to create new solutions. Good links and interesting commentary.

    I am also second empire. Totally fits. though I would not mind having gotten Greek Revival. And while I am at it, may I suggest that Archives, documentation, archivists and other information professionals like oral historians might be good people to reach out to as you struggle to document community. Those folks have been at it for centuries, so PLEASE work with them. They might have answers for these new challenges that would surprise you. Don't reinvent the wheel, right?

    Kobi

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    Kobi
    HP Student, Professional Archivist
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  • 7.  RE: Architecture Week: future historic properties

    Ambassador
    Posted 04-29-2019 23:56
    Hi Kobi,
    I understand your critique about recognizing the tools, techniques, and partnerships already available to preservationists when it comes to preserving communities' heritage. However, the tools and techniques used in preservation are subject to expert values and are undergirded by regulatory standards that tend to exclude communities and landscapes that do not match these expert values nor correspond to the criteria of these regulatory standards (this is often because environmental, political, social, and economic injustices impact these communities' and landscapes' ability to match the aforementioned values and meet the regulatory criteria. However, preservationists/conservationists don't always consider how these factors impact the meaning and/or condition of some communities' heritage and this may cause them to exclude it from recognition and protection).

    Even the HUL, though it champions a values-based approach, faces issues of implementation because, according to Ginzarly, Houbart, and Teller, "even though the discussion about values is intense, it remains generic … [and] [t]he direction towards a value-based and people-centred approach to heritage management is… challenging because of the mutable and contested character of heritage[.]" Additionally, some of the information professionals you listed share similar expert values and face some of the same practical limitations as preservationists.

    Going back to my previous examples, Langley Park is not recognized by preservationists for its rich immigrant population, nor this community's participation in the planning of the Purple Line because these two themes fall outside of the 50-year significance perspective, among other preservation significance criteria. Similarly, Neza in Mexico City is not recognized as "official" heritage (as far as I can tell), because it doesn't fit aesthetic values often championed by conservationists. Even though the stories, culture (tangible and intangible), and community values attached to place thrive in these two locations, preservationists don't seem to be present to accommodate them because of values and tools that restrict their recognition of the richness in these places.

    So, although it is good to recognize what we have, it is also good to assess the limits of these values, tools, and partnerships and to try to find new solutions and partnerships that will help address existing gaps, expand our toolbox, and increase preservation's effectiveness in accommodating critical and complex issues.

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    Jamesha Gibson
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  • 8.  RE: Architecture Week: future historic properties

    Posted 04-30-2019 14:14
    I totally agree with what you have to say, especially the conclusions you draw in your last paragraph. And by having this discussion, I think we are already sharing different yet valid perspectives! We are all connected and have to work together to find solutions.

    HUL was intended to be general, so as to be applicable in a variety of circumstances. It is a framework. With frameworks isn't it up to each separate group of implementers to explore the tools they have that might meet the framework requirements, implement, adjust, and hopefully share case studies that we can all learn from?

    I have been a professional, certified archivist for 20 years and suffered through the transition to digital records, which was marred internally by our own professional perspective (I have heard it described as hubris): archivists are super curious folks with a ton of grit. So we have overextended ourselves into technological realms, partly to avoid having to learn how to truly collaborate.

    Now archivists are beginning to turn their attention to documenting communities, calling for "cultural competency" within the field. Do you see what is happening here? More wheel factories being built!! We all need to make a special effort to look around and choose other professionals/experts/amateurs for our teams: archivists, preservationists, community development agencies, neighborhood association members, ethnologists, grandmothers. Everybody has something to contribute.

    I would like to continue our discussions as I head for my thesis, as it will likely be about the intersection of community development and community archives and I need help!!!


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    Kobi, C.A.
    Archivist and Student
    Boston Architectural College
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