Preservation

Waterfronts and Preservation: Are They at Odds?

Is it ok for us to pay the billion-dollar price tag to preserve our city as is? I don’t think so. But I, like so many, don’t know what the solution is.

Red Hook flooded photo courtesy The Brownstoner Whether you call her Hurricane, Superstorm, or Frankenstorm, Sandy has brought devastation, destruction, and lasting change to our waters’ edge. Across New York City and the tri-state region, neighborhoods glimpsed the climate change forecast–massive flooding, storm surges, and rising seas. With lives lost and billions in damages, it’s safe to say our communities…

Three Factors to Consider in Restoring Exposed Concrete

Understanding how to preserve this honest, raw material is crucial to saving a seminal style from sure extinction.

An irregular hairline crack in the concrete chimney of Le Corbusier’s Dominican Monastery of La Tourette (Éveux, France; completed 1960). From Walking through Le Corbusier by José Baltanás (London: Thames and Hudson, 2005), p16. Our last post, “Materials and Building Components,” described modernism’s growing emphasis on monolithic concrete walls as an alternative to traditional masonry. While conservation of brick and…

The Materials and Building Components of Modern Buildings

Construction methods of the period affect today’s decisions about the repair and improvement of mid-century building envelopes.

Our most recent post on Debating the Value of Mid-Century Modern discussed the architect as multi-party advocate and mediator. It was the last in a series that explored the interactions among the stakeholders of these buildings and how original design intent may hamper or encourage their rehabilitation and reuse. With this post, we begin a series that will focus on…

Debating the Value of Brutalist Architecture in Boston

Boston University School of Law Sert complex as seen from the Charles River upon its completion. In our previous post, the Owner/Occupant Perspective, we identified the push-pull issues between these two factions in renovating mid-twentieth century modern buildings. Here, we explore Stakeholder Equilibrium as the value of these structures is debated, and the role architects play in this mix. Our…

How a Realtor Fell in Love With Eichler Houses and Made a Film About Them

There are 11,000 extant Joseph Eichler homes in the Bay Area. One woman's life changed when she drove by one.

Courtesy Chris Wehling I first noticed Eichlers in Sunnyvale while driving around looking at homes. When I came upon them and felt like I had landed on the moon. They were the most interesting houses that I had ever seen! And I didn’t know anything about them. I immediately drove back to my real estate office and asked people what…

What’s It Take to Preserve a Brutalist Building?

Attempts to rehabilitate these concrete buildings will likely be caught between conflicting aims of energy-related building codes and conservation standards.

Single-glazed curtain wall, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Gund Hall (John Andrews, completed 1969). All photos courtesy Bruner/Cott Today we face the challenge of a divided voice among preservationists: There are those who have a long-held reverence of original materials and those who recognize this way of thinking as unrealistic for many modern buildings. The preservation ethic that has guided American…

In a Hostile Context, How Can We Save Brutalist Buildings?

These buildings are now approaching their senior years, and most are showing problems that could be difficult and costly to mitigate.

Holyoke Center, Harvard University (Josep Lluis Sert, completed 1961) Courtesy Bruner/Cott Modernist buildings have been under attack in the U.S. for years now. We’re reminded of this fact every day as our team at Bruner/Cott & Associates works to keep an entire period of architecture from being lost in Boston, our hometown. News of the recent thwarted attempt—for the moment,…