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Issue No 231July 18, 2014

 

FEATURE STORIES

1.test

 

IN THIS ISSUE


EVENTS

1. Heritage Toronto Legacies Gained, Legacies Lost?
2. Heritage Ottawa Walking Tour of Ottawa
3. Cultural Landscapes Course (HA489G)
4. Heritage Toronto Stare of Heritage Consultation
5. Heritage Ottawa Walking Tour

NEWS/ACTION

6. OMB Blockbusting Decision for Toronto's College Street
7. York Square Designation Moving Forward at Last
8. The National Trust Congratulates Saskatchewan on Renewal of Main Street Program
9. Heritage Day in Nova Scotia
10. Personal Message from Catherine Nasmith
11. Correct photograph of Broadview Hotel

LINKS

12. Blog TO: Sam's Sign
13. Heritage Canada National Trust Top Ten Endangered List
14. University of Toronto: Woodcliffe Gift to John H. Daniels honours Paul Oberman
15. Globe and Mail: Save Bala Falls Appeal
16. Globe and Mail: Save Bala Falls - Last Legal Appeal
17. Globe and Mail: National Parks Over-developed
18. Chronicle Herald: Ridiculous Design Attempt to Blend New and Old
19. National Trust for Preservation: Older, Smaller Buildings Are Key to Neighborhood Vitality
20. New York Times: Inferior Quality of Today's Construction
21. New York Times: Threat to a Paul Rudolph
22. Oregon Live: Public Pressure saves Willamette House
23. The Karachi Express Tribune: Make use of old Karachi to build new Karachi
24. MessyNessyChic.com: The Fake Rooftop Towns of World War II
25. Edinburgh Sunday Herald: Historic sandstone buildings crumble as rainfall levels increase in Scotland


EVENTS

1. Heritage Toronto Legacies Gained, Legacies Lost?
40 Years of Preserving Toronto's Built Heritage

Place:

Toronto Reference Library 789 Yonge Street Toronto, ON Canada

Date:

August 6 @ |

Time:

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Cost:

Free

Info:

Registration is requested http://heritagetoronto.org/event/legacies-gained-legacies-lost/

To help celebrate the upcoming 40th anniversary of the Heritage Toronto Awards, Heritage Toronto will be hosting a free symposium in August looking back on heritage preservation in the city over the last 40 years.

Sean Fraser, Director of Heritage Programs and Operations for Ontario Heritage Trust, will moderate the discussion.

Panelists:

Catherine Nasmith, President of the Toronto chapter of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and passionate advocate for the preservation of Toronto’s built heritage;

George Baird, former Dean of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto and partner at Baird Sampson Neuert Architects;

Harold Madi, Director of Urban Design for the City of Toronto; and

Mike Yorke, President of Carpenters’ Union Local 27.

The symposium will look at successes and failures in the preservation of its heritage sites over the past 40 years, the challenges we face when it comes to preservation and conservation of heritage sites, and what we can learn from other cities.

 Click here To Register 

 

Editor’s Note: Hope to see you there

2. Heritage Ottawa Walking Tour of Ottawa

Place:

Meet at the Parliamentary Information Centre, Wellington at Metcalfe Street.

Date:

Sun., July 6 - Sun., July 6

Time:

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Cost:

Heritage Ottawa members: $5.00, Non-members, $10.00

Info:

http://www.heritageottawa.org

This tour provides an account of Ottawa's financial institutions from Ottawa's first bank in 1842, to the 19th century Bankers Row on Wellington St. and banks by leading 20th century architects along Sparks St., ending at the Bank of Canada.
GUIDE: David Jeanes, vice-president Heritage Ottawa For further information: 613.230.8841 or info@heritageottawa.org

3. Cultural Landscapes Course (HA489G)
Cultural Resource Management Program, UVic

Place:

Victoria, BC

Date:

September 22 - 27

Time:

9AM - 4PM

Info:

http://www.uvcs.uvic.ca/Section/Cultural-Landscapes-/HA489G-2014F-C01/48383/

From the landscapes associated with historic buildings, industries and rural communities, to traditional use sites of First Nations peoples, cultural landscapes are tremendously diverse resources that present special conservation and management challenges. This course focuses on the complex nature of cultural landscapes and develops your ability to identify, evaluate, and develop conservation strategies for landscape resources that are integral to your community.

Topics include:

"defining cultural landscape types and their boundaries


"applying current best practices in heritage conservation


"recognizing evolving interactions between natural systems and human interventions


"evaluating heritage values, significance, and integrity


"consulting effectively with stakeholders and the community


"planning sustainable management strategies


"balancing conflicting resources and uses


This course is designed to meet the needs of professionals from a wide range of fields that come together in the management of cultural landscapes.

Registration Deadline: August 12, 2014; late registrations accepted if space permits

Fee: CAD $717.97 (Canadian funds, credit and non-credit participation options) including a CAD$75 materials fee and a CAD$100 tuition deposit is required with each registration form. The tuition balance of CAD$542.97 is due on or before the first day of the course. UVSS Fees will also be assessed to credit students only. Please refer to our registration and withdrawal policies.

Note: Fees have been adjusted to reflect a 2% tuition increase in May 2014

Instructor: Wendy Shearer FCSLA, is a Cultural Heritage Landscape Consultant in private practice in Guelph, Ontario. She has extensive expertise in the research, documentation, assessment and conservation planning of varied cultural heritage landscapes of local, provincial and national significance. Wendy Shearer is an active member of the professional heritage community with her involvement in the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation and since 1989, the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals. She has taught the Cultural Landscape course at UVic since 2007 and was adjunct professor at the University of Guelph between 1995 and 1999.

4. Heritage Toronto Stare of Heritage Consultation
Next Meeting

Place:

St. Matthews Lawn Bowling Club, 450 Broadview Avenue

Date:

Tuesday July 22

Time:

7pm

Info:

Stacey Rodas (nee Fowler) Director of Marketing Heritage Toronto Historic St. Lawrence Hall 157 King St. East, 3rd Floor Toronto, ON M5C 1G9 Phone: (416) 338-1339 srodas@toronto.ca https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SoHDowntownWest

Thank you to all those who attended the Downtown West State of Heritage Consultation.

For those of you who couldn't attend the Downtown West State of Heritage Consultation or who were there but have more to add, you can do so via this link anytime before Aug. 1: 

5. Heritage Ottawa Walking Tour
Patterson Creek/Linden Terrace/Monkland Avenue: A Built Heritage Treasure

Place:

Meet at the red clay tiled washroom at the corner of Queen Elizabeth Driveway and Linden Terrace.

Date:

Sunday, June 29

Time:

2:00 PM

Cost:

Tour prices: Heritage Ottawa members: $5.00, Non-members, $10.00

Info:

For further information: 613.230.8841 or info@heritageottawa.org http://www.heritageottawa.org


A little over a century ago, the Ottawa Improvement Commission built a landscaped scenic driveway along the west side of the Rideau Canal including a segment that cut across the Glebe to Dows Lake starting with Monkland Avenue and curving slightly at OConnor Street to join Clemow Avenue all the way to Bronson. At the same time, the OIC created the beautifully landscaped Central Park East and West and the walled Patterson Creek inlet and lagoon from the natural Patterson Creek waterway that extended from the canal to beyond Bank Street. Excavation of the Patterson Creek inlet provided much of the material to fill in and create the bordering parkland and Linden Terrace itself. Real estate development along the newly-created streets of Monkland Avenue and Linden Terrace followed rapidly creating one of Ottawas most scenic and desirable residential areas, significant in terms of residential and landscape architecture and rich in social history.
GUIDES: Bill Price, Secretary/Board member of Heritage Ottawa and Glebe resident; Lynn Armstrong, landscape architecture historian, heritage activist and Glebe resident.

 


NEWS | ACTION

6. OMB Blockbusting Decision for Toronto's College Street
Catherine Nasmith

Rendering showing development in context, including Lillian Smith Library

When I argued at Queen’s Park in favour of Rosario Marchese’s bill to free Toronto from the OMB, I was accused of hyperbole in saying that the OMB blockbusts neighbourhoods.

In my follow up remarks to the Committee members I spoke about the imminent potential for the OMB to make a decision that would erode the character of the Queen’s Park and University Precinct, an out of scale development at College and Huron Streets. The Bill went down to defeat, followed by an electoral defeat for Marchese, its champion.

The OMB decision on College Street was released in June and blockbusting is exactly what Toronto got.

As fights before the OMB go, this one had a shot at winning. Toronto City Council and a large consortium of residents were lined up against University of Toronto and a private developer over a proposed 24 storey student housing project on the south side of College Street, just east of Huron Street. The community, and the City led by Councillor Adam Vaughan pulled out all the stops to try to hold the line against development pressure for high rise in this historic neighbourhood. The case is critical to the future of all of the modestly scaled buildings along College Street.

The street is characterized by the existing warehouses and University of Toronto 19th century academic architecture. On the north side of the street buildings are set back with lawns and plantings, on the south side a more urban approach with buildings right up to the sidewalk. Nothing on the south side is more than 4-5 stories. Its history is tied to the Baldwin family, and early development of Queen’s Park, University of Toronto, University Avenue, and College Street. The civic planning and dignity is evident, but no longer carefully articulated or protected in planning documents. The beautiful Lillian Smith Library by architect Phillip Carter represents a brilliant reading of the architectural context, but such readings are not required of development. Much of U of T is protected, but little of the adjacent neighbourhood.

The Architectural Conservancy Ontario, Toronto Branch (ACOTO) has recently completed a book detailing the history of the industrial architecture along the street in hopes of preservation. Futile exercise. The OMB’s decision to permit 24 stories in the middle of this row guarantees the 19th century fabric will go down for high-rise development in the near future, in fact the OMB decision sets this development out as an appropriate precedent for future development.

The City is desperately playing catch up to try to get a new zoning regime for the area, but it will inevitably be too little too late. A report will get to the new Council in the new year, but this OMB decision has already made that effort moot.

Click here for the full text of the decision

7. York Square Designation Moving Forward at Last
Catherine Nasmith

York Square, Diamond and Myers, 1969

 At the June meeting of Toronto East York Community Council at long last the motion to designate York Square was passed unanimously. York Square, at the corner of Yorkville and Avenue Road was one of the earliest projects of the firm Diamond and Myers, and revolutionary in its day.

It was the first project to combine new and old, to carve a piece of urbanity out of old buildings, and add a new face to it. It set the tone for so many other developments in then “hippie” Yorkville.

In 1969 the prevailing wisdom for downtowns was to demolish and start over. This project reflected the wisdom of Jane Jacobs, a newly arrived Torontonian at the time. York Square was done before there were any laws to encourage preservation, and it was published in at least eight international journals. It received 12 pages in the Japanese journal, A+U, 8 in Progressive Architecture. It was revolutionary, not just in Toronto but internationally. Diamond and Myers went on separately to found two of Canada’s best architectural firms, and continue to export great work and ideas around the world.

York Square received less publicity in Canada….isn’t that just like us. Somehow Canadians are a bit bashful about saying, we got this right, and we are proud of it! Toronto spends so much of its time looking over its shoulder, as if it is impossible that something important might happen here. But it did, and it still does, every day.

Toronto East York Council had deferred the designation several times at the request of a new property owners who wanted time to put together a design. As I said in my deputation, “the schemes so far have saved not one brick from this project.” I asked Community Council to show that it is serious in wanting to protect this internationally significant, yet modest, project. And they did!

A working group will be struck to try to come to some agreement on the future of the site.

8. The National Trust Congratulates Saskatchewan on Renewal of Main Street Program
Heritage Canada The National Trust Release

Ottawa, ON July 15, 2014 – Heritage Canada The National Trust is pleased to announce that Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport has recently renewed Main Street Saskatchewan and established it as an on-going program. The new Main Street Saskatchewan program is accepting applications from communities by September 5th for its Accredited and Affiliate levels of participation.

Heritage Canada The National Trust’s trademarked Main Street® program is a comprehensive and proven community revitalization strategy that empowers elected officials, merchants, residents and other citizens to shape the destiny of their downtown, capitalizing on the community’s unique identity, historic buildings and cultural traditions as ready-made tools to generate economic, social and cultural activity. Saskatchewan’s program joins successful province-wide Main Street® programs in Quebec and Alberta. All three programs were established with the assistance of the National Trust.

“Main Street is a powerful tool in the National Trust’s Regeneration toolkit,” says Executive Director Natalie Bull. “We are pleased to see the program putting down roots in Saskatchewan, and look forward to deeper and broader collaboration with the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport. The ultimate goal is to offer a holistic and sustainable approach for community regeneration that breaks down silos, optimizes financial and volunteer efforts, and enlivens and amplifies the heritage that communities value, in all its forms.”

The decision to continue the program was based on the success of the Government of Saskatchewan’s demonstration program. Launched in 2011, the demonstration program included four pilot communities: Indian Head, Wolseley, Maple Creek and Prince Albert. Over three years, the government invested $1.65 million and the program generated impressive results including 22 new business starts, $6.5 million in property acquisitions and $4.9 million in commitments to historic building and streetscape improvements, including $3.9 million in private investment.

The National Trust has been a proud supporter of this initiative through its initial research study on program design, and through training, resource planning teams, and evaluation of the four pilot projects and their progress on the National Trust’s accredited Main Street® approach. Watch the National Trust’s film Regeneration on Main Street to see how this successful approach took hold in the four Saskatchewan pilot communities.

For more information about obtaining Main Street services for your community, or to explore the creation of a Main Street program for your province, contact Jim Mountain at 613-237-1066 ext. 226 or jmountain@heritagecanada.org.

9. Heritage Day in Nova Scotia
Phil Pacey-Nova Scotia Heritage Foundation

For almost as long as I can remember, Heritage Canada has been promoting the idea that the third Monday in February should be designated as Heritage Day, and should become a statutory holiday.

A number of provinces have declared a holiday, with various names. So far as I know, none have called it Heritage Day.

The new Nova Scotia government promoted the idea of a February holiday while they were in opposition. Now they are the government, and they asked school children to name the day. What name did they pick? "Nova Scotia Heritage Day"! Out of the mouths of babes ... There is definitely hope for the next generation.

What wonderful news!

Heritage Canada and Heritage Trust have been trying to draw attention to the day for many years, with posters, themes, awards ceremonies, press releases. Now the government is behind this.

Each year a particular aspect of our heritage will become the focus. In 2015 it will be Viola Desmond, the black Nova Scotia woman who made history by sitting in the whites-only section of a New Glasgow theatre.

10. Personal Message from Catherine Nasmith
Catherine Nasmith

Catherine Nasmith and brother Carl Stryg

From July 27-August first I will be riding 600k from Toronto to Montreal in memory of my brother Carl Stryg. I am just short of my goal of raising $20,000.00, and in second place in fundraising.  Riding is a comfort through a difficult time, providing quiet time to reflect.

Many BHN readers have been generous in their support of this endeavour, and that support has touched me and my family mourning a much loved and very special person.

Gary Miedema of Heritage Toronto recently wrote in a note of condolence, "Before my time, Karen recalls him as lighting up the room with his excitement after winning the HT Commendation in 2001.  He made an impression, clearly, as someone for whom that award meant a great deal. I remember him similarly.  He approached me for a plaque for the building shortly after I began at HT.  His enthusiasm for heritage conservation was infectious and welcoming.  He was gracious.  He gave me a tour of his wonderful building, which I still recall to this day.  I was so impressed with what he had done, but equally impressed with him.  He was like a kid in a candy shop.  A bundle of positive, infectious energy."

If you were thinking of supporting this ride for the Toronto People with Aids Foundation but the email slipped down the page, here's the link

11. Correct photograph of Broadview Hotel
Marta O'Brien

Broadview Hotel (photo by Marta O'Brien)

BHN No. 230 showed a photograph of Paris's Arlington Hotel with Christopher Hume's story on Toronto's Broadview Hotel. Here's my photograph of the latter.

Editor’s Note: Thanks Marta!

 


LINKS

12. Blog TO: Sam's Sign
Chris Bateman

Sam the Record Man sign officially gets new home

After years of political wrangling, the Sam the Record Man sign is finally getting a new home at Yonge-Dundas Square. City council voted this morning to have the sign reassembled on the roof of 277 Victoria Street, a city-owned building on the east side of the square, and have Ryerson University pick up the bill.

The decision means Ryerson is no longer responsible for installing the sign on the outside of the new Student Learning Centre at Yonge and Gould, the original site of the Sam the Record Man store, despite building permission being granted on the understanding the university would restore the giant neon records in situ or on the outside of its library.

http://www.blogto.com/city/2014/07/sam_the_record_man_sign_officially_gets_new_home/

13. Heritage Canada National Trust Top Ten Endangered List

Every year, Heritage Canada The National Trust puts together this list from places all across the country. Over the years many of the properties have been saved, and the publicity around being on this list helps, encourages owners and others to take another look.

So, from the Ontario governor for HCNT, hats off to the committee, and good luck to us all in saving these important places.

Bala Falls was on the 2012 list, we're down to the wire but at least we can say that at long last, the issue has received the national press attention it deserves. 

C.

https://www.heritagecanada.org/sites/www.heritagecanada.org/files/HCNT-Top-Ten-2014.pdf

14. University of Toronto: Woodcliffe Gift to John H. Daniels honours Paul Oberman

Gift Honours Urban Visionary Paul Oberman

Like her late husband, the passionate urban visionary Paul Oberman, Eve Lewis (MScPl 1981) is committed to the enhancement and preservation of architectural landmarks that reflect the heritage of the local community. This commitment inspired her and business partner, Ron Kimel, to make a $1 million gift to name the bridging entrance—called the belvedere—to be built as part of the transformation of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at One Spadina Crescent.

“Paul was very much a creative city builder, who saw the potential and value in the concept of restoring and repurposing One Spadina,” says Lewis. “He and (architecture dean) Richard Sommer had numerous conversations on how that transformation could take place.” Oberman, the former CEO of Woodcliffe Landmark Properties, was known throughout the architecture community for his innovative approach to renovating and preserving heritage properties. Summerhill train station in Toronto, which was transformed into an award-winning LCBO, King James Place, and the Gooderham Flat Iron Building are three of his most recognized achievements. Earlier this spring, Lewis, who took over Oberman’s position at Woodcliffe, worked along with her own real estate firms MarketVision and Urbanation, to realize her late husband’s dream to transform the entire block of Market Street across from Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market into a pedestrian-friendly environment, animated by restaurant patios.

http://boundless.utoronto.ca/campaign-updates/gift-honours-urban-visionary-paul-oberman/

15. Globe and Mail: Save Bala Falls Appeal
Renata D'Aliesio

Portage ban provokes a very Canadian fight

Do we have the right to portage our canoes over ancient paths, or can the government stop us in the name of modernity?

Allan Turnbull plunges a wooden paddle into the Moon River, slowly steering his gold-coloured canoe toward the cascading Bala Falls. It’s a bright, blistering day, but the water is still a touch cool, swollen with the remnants of a late thaw and chilly spring.

Legendary cartographer David Thompson once followed this path, one of scores he explored by paddle and boat before Canada became a nation. Thompson recorded the 1837 trip in a journal, Mr. Turnbull explains over the river’s roar, his voice soon swallowed by the sound of water thrashing against the Canadian Shield.

If this was a little more than a year ago, we would stop Mr. Turnbull’s beaver-embossed canoe right here, just south of the north falls, and step out onto Burgess Island. We would heave the vessel over our heads and portage some 80 steps up a gravelly path to cross a two-lane road and enter Lake Muskoka.

But that’s illegal now, the well-worn route banned by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in May, 2013 for safety reasons – the province says the waterfall, rapids and dam pose a risk to swimmers and canoeists. The government’s move has ignited an intrinsically Canadian legal battle over whether the public has the right to portage. The Ontario Court of Appeal will hear the case on Monday.

“It’s ridiculous,” Mr. Turnbull says of the portage ban, his canoe out of the water and back on his lawn. “Canoeing is iconic in Canada. It’s how the country was opened up.”

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/portage-ban-provokes-a-very-canadian-fight/article19570688/

16. Globe and Mail: Save Bala Falls - Last Legal Appeal

Publics right to portage at heart of Crown-land case

To Portage or not to Portage...conflicting signs reflect conflict between levels of government

A township in the heart of Ontario cottage country has asked the province’s top court to overturn a government ban and recognize the public’s right to portage a historic canoe route at Bala Falls.

The Ontario Court of Appeal heard arguments in the case on Monday. Its decision, expected this summer, could have far-reaching consequences for public projects that intersect with portages on Crown land.

In Canada, the ability to navigate rivers and lakes is protected by federal legislation. The Canadian courts, however, have rarely examined whether the act of carrying a canoe between waterways is also a public right in a nation explored and settled by paddlers.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/publics-right-to-portage-at-heart-of-crown-land-case/article19608294/#dashboard/follows/

17. Globe and Mail: National Parks Over-developed
Gloria Galloway

National parks under threat, report says

From the caribou breeding grounds in the Northwest Territories to the diverse forests of New Brunswick, the country’s leading wilderness advocate says the integrity of Canada’s parks is being threatened by budget cuts, human activity and, especially, resource extraction.

A copy of the annual report of the Canada Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), which will be released Monday, was obtained by The Globe and Mail. It says the past year has seen governments loosen restrictions that protect parks from development, and drag their feet on conservation promises.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/national-parks-under-threat-report-says/article19582932/#dashboard/follows/

18. Chronicle Herald: Ridiculous Design Attempt to Blend New and Old
Claire McIlveen, forwarded by Janet Morris

With design this bad, time to mend developer-heritage feud

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, the architectural drawing of the proposed 22nd Commerce Square development at the corner of George and Granville streets is succinct.

“We couldn’t demolish this *&%$# heritage property so we’re building around it anyway,” screams the drawing, loudly.

While I have some sympathy for both the architect who was trying to please a client and a developer anxious to make money on an expensive project, I have news for them: this design gets an F.

Just as we expect edifices to have doorways and residences to have windows, we also expect buildings to be open to the sky — not to the 11th storey of a looming tower that brings to mind the burly neighbourhood bully about to snatch a toddler’s ice cream.

If a heritage building is worth saving, its spatial integrity is also worth preserving.

This bit of bad design could be a metaphor for Halifax’s highly dysfunctional relationship among developers, heritage advocates, planners and City Hall.

Any city will have some friction between heritage buffs/neighbourhood advocates and developers, but Nova Scotia’s capital city, through years of a patchwork, lackadaisical approach to urban planning, has allowed the feud to get out of hand.

This development would tower over Province House, one of our province’s architectural gems (not to mention the longest serving legislative building in Canada), the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the old Bank of Nova Scotia building — all iconic buildings that reflect both where we have come from and where we are bound.

http://thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/1214091-mcilveen-with-design-this-bad-time-to-mend-developer-heritage-feud#.U54klQhihkg.facebook

19. National Trust for Preservation: Older, Smaller Buildings Are Key to Neighborhood Vitality
Press Release

New Research Shows How Diverse Blocks Provide Economic and Cultural Opportunities Not Found in Newer Neighborhoods

A new research report released today, Older, Smaller, Better: Measuring How the Character of Buildings and Blocks Influences Urban Vitality, by the National Trust for Historic Preservation demonstrates how neighborhoods that protect and find new uses for older, smaller buildings are more economically sustainable, culturally vibrant, and opportunity-rich than those with only larger, newer buildings.

The report shows how neighborhoods with a mix of older and newer buildings outperform newer neighborhoods in terms of opportunities for small locally-owned businesses and for local cultural outlets. Older neighborhoods are highly walkable, appeal to young professionals and retirees, and offer a wide array of arts and entertainment options.

“The National Trust’s research of neighborhoods with older, smaller buildings is the first comprehensive study of the relationship between cities’ historic buildings and prosperity,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The economic growth of communities is enhanced by preserving our historic neighborhoods. These areas attract more young, talented professionals, contain more businesses per commercial square foot and offer more creative jobs than areas with only larger, newer buildings.”

http://www.preservationnation.org/who-we-are/press-center/press-releases/2014/older-smaller-buildings-are.html

Editor’s Note: This is the message contained in my talk, Main Streets as Old Growth Forests

20. New York Times: Inferior Quality of Today's Construction
Henry Petrowski

They Don

ARROWSIC, Me.  TO reach our house in Maine, my wife and I drive hundreds of miles on highways, cross scores of bridges and even go through a tunnel or two. And as we come down the home stretch on a dirt lane full of rocks and ruts, I am reminded of how a piece of private real estate is a microcosm of our national infrastructure.

These days the word infrastructure is mostly associated with large, extensive public works: airports, harbors and highway systems. Although they play a key role in the nations economic well-being, these facilities are too often poorly designed, built, maintained and funded.

But infrastructure can also refer to things on a much smaller scale, like private homes and their appurtenances. Thinking about the construction, aging and care of this domestic infrastructure can provide insight into how we as a nation might better respond to our mounting public works problems.

Our 60-year-old home is an example of how infrastructure can be built to stand strong, age gracefully and be almost maintenance-free. The foundation sits firmly on solid granite. From the full basement you can see how the exposed beams, joists and underside of the flooring were made of good wood, built to last.

When I see a commercial building under construction today, I see nothing like this in the materials and workmanship, perhaps because it is simply a function of finance, expected to survive only until it is fully amortized in a companys budget.

I can see the same decline in quality when I try to do work on our house. When it was built, two-by-fours were actually only an eighth of an inch short of those nominal dimensions. Today, a two-by-four is a full half-inch shy. This sort of thing frustrates carpenters and do-it-yourselfers alike, making old construction more difficult to fix and encouraging tearing down and starting over with inferior newer materials and less skilled labor. What a waste of time, effort and money  and, more important, superior infrastructure.

Our houses sturdy balloon frame is covered outside with cedar clapboards and inside with knotty-pine paneling, whose stained and varnished finish looks as good as new. In contrast, newer homes have been clad outside in shingles that have deteriorated and inside with imported drywall, which, as it breaks down, releases fumes that sicken the occupants.

Workmanship has declined in parallel. There continue to be expert craftsmen  carpenters, roofers, painters  who work with precision and pride, but they are increasingly being pushed out by cheaper labor with inferior skills (which is, of course, why the labor is cheaper). I have had paint jobs that blistered within days and had to be redone  at my expense. And I have heard and read of many analogous experiences.

This is not the fault of homeowners, but of the industries whose practices favor the use of inferior products and labor that drive modern construction: the developers, lenders, builders and Realtors who, to make quick money, have created a stock of domestic and commercial infrastructure that is a waste of resources and will not last.

I cant help but think that this experience, multiplied by those of millions of homeowners, affects how we as a country view our public infrastructure. We have seen short-term fixes and shoddy workmanship at home, and we see our bridges and roads the same way.

Understandably, many people wonder about throwing good money after bad. They wonder why hastily repaired potholes reappear in weeks, if not days; why a newly repaved highway feels like a washboard; why a bridge that seems to be perfectly serviceable is being replaced when the road leading to and from it appears to be in worse shape; and why it seems to take forever to complete a highway project.

We do not have to be citizen-craftsmen who work on our own homes to know that it does not have to be this way. And we do not have to be homeowners or highway engineers to know that good materials are better than poor and a job done well from the outset will outlast one done shabbily.

As we debate how to pay for infrastructure, we should also have a discussion about raising expectations for what were buying. Homeowners, project managers and legislatures alike must call to account suppliers and contractors who do not produce the quality of materials and work they promise. A roof or road that does not meet agreed-upon standards needs to be redone, at the irresponsible partys expense.

Such challenges will naturally lead to delays and legal proceedings, but this is the price for getting things done right. In time, doing it right the first time will once again become wise and standard business practice, and we can look forward to infrastructure that looks good, works well and lasts.

Henry Petroski is a professor of engineering and history at Duke and the author, most recently, of The House With Sixteen Handmade Doors: A Tale of Architectural Choice and Craftsmanship.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/27/opinion/inferior-products-and-labor-drive-modern-construction.html?emc=edit_th_20140627&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=65303551&_r=0

21. New York Times: Threat to a Paul Rudolph
Robin Pogregin, forwarded by Peter Hobbs

Rethinking a Spurned Landmark

As an architect, Gene Kaufman doesn’t typically save buildings; he designs them.

But when he heard of plans to change Paul Rudolph’s celebrated but shuttered government building in Goshen, N.Y., as part of a renovation plan, he decided to step in.

“To lose a building like this would be a tragedy,” said Mr. Kaufman, a partner at Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman Architects in New York City.

He has offered to buy and restore the 1967 building, which architecture experts hail as a prime example of raw Brutalist style and others consider an eyesore in a town known for its historic harness-racing track and Greek Revival, Federal and Victorian houses.

Under Mr. Kaufman’s plan, the government building designed by Rudolph and owned by Orange County, would be turned into a center for artists, exhibitions and community meetings. He has also offered to design a new government center on the land that is now the building’s parking lot.

Mr. Kaufman is not proposing a cash purchase, but suggests the county can afford to renovate the existing building and build a new one with the money it will save from, among other things, his discounted consulting fees and the elimination of its demolition costs.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/07/arts/design/rethinking-an-orphan-landmark.html?emc=edit_th_20140707&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=37491515&_r=1

Editor’s Note: An interesting story, but also an unusual intervention by a fellow architect in the interests of architectural culture. An offer no one could refuse from a very important firm.

22. Oregon Live: Public Pressure saves Willamette House
Steve Guinn

The end of an epic demolition derby in Willamette Heights

Maybe it was the vitriol in the on-line petition.

Maybe it was the unease about bad press at Google Ventures. Or the resolve and negotiating skills of Portland labor attorney Will Aitchison.

But by the time the sun set Tuesday on the Portland highlands, Google exec Kevin Rose and his wife, Darya, had agreed to sell their $1.3 million Willamette Heights home back to area residents, ending the neighborhood's demolition derby.

On Monday evening, Aitchison emailed the Roses with a $1.375 million cash offer from Tom and Jennifer Saunders, who have lived in Willamette Heights for the last 25 years.

Tom Saunders is a Portland developer. His offer was set $75,000 above the price the Roses paid for the 1892 house in March, presumably to offset what the Silicon Valley couple invested in plans for a new 5,900-square-foot palazzo, the "Deku Tree Retreat."

At 7 a.m. Tuesday, a construction crew arrived and began setting up demolition fences around the house on Northwest 32nd Avenue, sparking a media vortex.

But 10 hours later, Kevin Rose -- the founder of Digg.com -- released a statement through Aitchison, saying he and his wife had agreed to sell the property to Saunders.

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/steve_duin/index.ssf/2014/06/steve_duin_the_end_of_the_demo.html#incart_related_stories

23. The Karachi Express Tribune: Make use of old Karachi to build new Karachi
Farhan Anwar

Instead of trying (and failing) to preserve Karachis dying architecture, it is better to use old heritage sites for new purposes

Karachi Port Trust building [among] some heritage buildings in Karachi that can be used for multiple functions as part of the adaptive reuse strategy.

This idea was floated in a research paper prepared by two fourth-year architecture students at Indus Valley School, Ayesha Channa and Rushad Dastoor. Their research looks into the need to ascertain the problems and benefits in reusing old heritage students and evaluating the existing heritage laws in Karachi. 

History of heritage laws 

The traditions of heritage conservation started in 1881, when the British Lord Viceroy (Sir Edward Bulwer) Lytton appointed Major Cole as a curator for the ancient monuments of the then British India. Later, after the appointment of Lord Curzon as Viceroy, the legislation of antiquities and monuments was introduced.

From this developed the Ancient Monument Preservation (AMP) Act of 1904 adopted by Pakistan in 1947. In 1968, Pakistan passed its own Antiquities Act that retained most of the clauses of the AMP Act albeit in modified form. The act was further redefined in 1975. At the provincial level, operates the Sindh Cultural Heritage (Preservation) Act of 1994. 

Despite the evolution of the laws, the ground reality is that the government has yet to take any concrete steps under any of the above acts. The owners of heritage properties that are privately owned have also failed to protect the sites from degradation. In fact, in several cases, they have themselves demolished heritage sites.

Adaptive reuse 

One proposed intervention is the ‘adaptive reuse’ of heritage sites. It is a process that adapts a building for new uses and functions while retaining its historic features. For example, an old factory may become an apartment building, an abandoned stone building can turn into a school – similar to the case of Nusserwanjee building which became Indus Valley School, or an old iron bridge can be transformed into a commercial and cultural site, such as the Native Jetty Bridge at Port Grand.

There is a preference to preserve and restore old buildings into their original glory but that is neither always practical nor realistic. This is where adaptive reuse comes in since it allows buildings to retain their historical integrity while still providing the users and occupants with their modern needs.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/735264/make-use-of-old-karachi-to-build-new-karachi/

24. MessyNessyChic.com: The Fake Rooftop Towns of World War II
MessyNessyChic.com

The Douglas Aircraft company in Santa Barbara, camouflaged by a model town designed by landscape architect Edward Huntsmen-Trout.

They were devised by Hollywood set designers, assembled like stage props and “inhabited” by actors, but entertainment was far from the agenda. Photographed taking a sunny stroll down a seemingly suburban avenue called Synthetic Street, these ladies are actually on the rooftop of the B17 Bomber factory in Seattle Washington in 1941, camouflaged by nearly 26 acres of suburban American fakery.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbour, Japanese submarines were spotted off the San Francisco Bay and near Santa Barbara in 1942. The West Coast became the next presumed target, and in a short period of time, strategic wartime factories became sites for the elaborate construction of entire replica towns, complete with fake houses, roads, cars and even residents. Under this detailed walkable roof of mock suburban landscape, nearly 7,000 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses were being produced for the precision strategic bombing campaign of World War II against German industrial and military targets.

Hastily assembled using burlap netting, plywood and other materials, their purpose was to hide what lay beneath and divert the enemy by fooling them into thinking their most important wartime factories were little more than quiet residential neighbourhoods.

http://www.messynessychic.com/2014/06/04/the-fake-rooftop-towns-of-world-war-ii/

25. Edinburgh Sunday Herald: Historic sandstone buildings crumble as rainfall levels increase in Scotland
Jamie Rodney

Scotland's unique built heritage is facing "catastrophic" and irreversible damage from the effects of climate change "within three to five years" if no action is taken, a groundbreaking conference in Edinburgh will be told later this month.

Climate change is causing deterioration of soft sandstone buildings such as Arbroath Abbey, above, and the preserved neolithic village Skara Brae on Orkney.

Hosted by the Scottish Traditional Skills Training Centre (STSTC), the event is billed by its organisers as "the most significant gathering of conservation and climate experts assembled ever held in Scotland".

Its aim is to spell out the extent of the damage caused by recent changes in weather patterns, mainly persistently high rainfall, and to spread awareness of the crisis facing Scotland's world-renowned wealth of historical properties and natural landscapes.

According to the Historic Environment Advisory Council for Scotland the historical environment of Scotland is of huge importance to the Scottish economy, directly supporting around 41,000 jobs within the conservation sector, construction industry and tourism, and is estimated to contribute more than £2.3 billion per year to the economy.

Scotland has around 47,600 buildings listed for their historical and architectural interest by Historic Scotland, around 50% of them classified category A or B, denoting international or national importance.

Dr Maureen Young, a conservation scientist for the Scottish Government heritage agency Historic Scotland, one of the keynote speakers at the international event, said the more persistent and heavier rainfall patterns of recent years threatened "severe surface deterioration on many older buildings within three-five years". The worst affected, she said, were those on the east coast.

Sites such as Dundee, Montrose and Arbroath, which are "built of softer red sandstone", were at particular risk. However, she said it was still possible to save some of these sites if protective measures were radically stepped up: "If you keep the buildings [watertight], then essentially they remain pretty stable."

Young pointed to recent research by academics at Queen's University Belfast that suggested increased rainfall was leading to faster decay of building stone, by increasing levels of moisture within the stone, preventing it from periodically drying out, as intended by the original architects and engineers.

She added that air pollution worsened this detrimental effect on older buildings by allowing sodium to enter the stone. At even greater risk, Dr Young added, were historic coastal sites, such as the preserved neolithic village Skara Brae, the Unesco World Heritage Site in Orkney which, ironically, is believed by some experts to have been abandoned around 2500BC when an earlier phase of climate change caused temperatures to drop.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/historic-sandstone-buildings-crumble-as-rainfall-levels-increase-in-scotland.24737728