ARCH3640 Historic Preservation Fall 2015

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  • What does Historic Preservation mean to you?
  • #32289


    Historic preservation has been both a fascinating and controversial topic. It is both the conservative and progressive preservation of existing buildings of historic relevance as either a period building or landmark. Cities grow and expands and some of the building(s) or building stock may be no longer up to date to the current lifestyle/needs of the local population so there are some changes that naturally come along to modernize a neighborhood to the building or structure in question.

    Improvements in infrastructure bring water, take sewage, roadways and rail, provide electricity and cable. Many homes may be lacking in the latter since its use has grown exponentially. Certain infrastructure needs such as highways and underground rail may require existing homes to reinforce their foundations. Road usage can bring vibrations into a building made in an era before motorized travel and compromise its integrity. The structure may form cracks and risk collapsing.

    Over time buildings may change owners and with new owners may come new uses. Former factories become storage or even luxury loft housing, Churches become apartment complexes on the existing structure and partial demolition of the structure is needed to allow new uses of the building for its new inhabitants and/or work. Technology also plays a role in the building. Elements may be added or removed to allow the integration of any new use that buildings may require. Some buildings may need modifications or additions to house new elements or machinery to make the structure contemporary. Reinforcement of the building is also a possible alteration if the building is normally not able to handle such a load.

    Personally the importance of historical presevation matter since despite the needs of the local populace and the change of generations it is important to know that building have history happen in them everyday. Whether it makes into the annals of history or not buildings are living structures which provide more than simple shelter for us and our livelihood; They can become our heritage. Depending on the structure there are certain local vernaculars and quirks that make these buildings unique to our cities.
    Some buildings or particularly high importance such as the homes of certain famous people or other such landmarks may be preserved with as much of the original content of the building being unaltered or conserved. Structures that are in current use as say a historic public building such as a library or town hall may be mostly preserved while elements that need updating may be according added to or upgraded so that the building may continue to provide to the community and the staff which work the structure. Some buildings may be in such horrific condition that they are a hazard and must be either partitially or completely demolished. In positive cases the structure might be rebuilt as similar if not identical to what stood there. In less agreeable instances the landowner may build some cheap building stock in the name of convenience and profit with no highlight or interest of what used to stand before.

    In conclusion the importance of building preservation tends to have a spectrum in which its importance as a historical landmark, its current use and it future tend to give it eithe hope to last or be replaced. To simply put a neighborhood into the ground and build some insane condo complex with no regard to its neighbors is a insult and a lesson that should have been learned in the failings of the modernist movements and its total whitewashing or architectural history. To avoid that same tragedy we must stay constantly vigilant to our buildings and local architecture in which short sighted greed should be culled by more well thought out lasting architecture.




    i completely agree with what you are saying that some buildings such as famous houses and libraries should be indeed preserved and landmarked because there is historical meaning behind them. As architects we learn to appreciate buildings and the different kinds of details so i do believe its a waste to demolish a building and create a high-rise tower. I Do however disagree with your statement about if a building is in bad shape to demolish it and make build one almost identical because it will never be the same once the building is gone so is the meaning and history behind it. Creating a building identical to it would simply be a waste of time and that is the time when we should create modern buildings with new materials.

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