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Archive for the ‘NW Local’ Category

flickr/users/carolee

Credit: flickr/users/carolee

We previously blogged about an opportunity to own your very own Usonian house.  If you weren’t sold on that how about your very own Eames Case Study House?

Curbed L.A. reports that Case Study House #9 is up for sale. For a scant $14 million you get not only the Eames but the massive estate constructed in front of it which one Curbed reader described as an ABORTION!

The photo I have listed here does not do the structure justice.  The Eames house that is, not the abortion.  You really must visit Curbed L.A.’s fancy set of photos.  They’re beautiful. While you’re clicking around be sure to stop by Materialicious.  The fine shelter blog that tipped us off to the Eames sale.

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I’ve been avoiding the Facebook 25 things meme myself but the National Trust For Historic Preservation has jumped on the bandwagon with their own list. There are no details of one-night stands or grating habits though the do reveal a thing for country music:

  • 10.The Dixie Chicks played at the National Preservation Conference in Fort Worth in the mid-90s, before Natalie Maines joined the band (and, therefore, before they were famous).
  • 13. Country music star Kenny Chesney featured the Farnsworth House, a National Trust Historic Site in Illinois, in his video, “Don’t Blink.”

You should definitely check out the rest of the list at their blog PreservationNation.  I learned a few things and it is nice to see institutions getting involved with interweb norms.

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marstonAward winning blog Northwest History posts an impassioned, through plea for stimulus money to be used to re-create Federal Writers Project to record and document our disappearing past. I have written previously about how the current financial crisis could have a silver-lining for we in the history,  cultural resource management and preservation communities.  It will take cogent,  passionate ideas like this to make it happen.

While you’re at Northwest History I suggest you check out their fantastic survey of 19th century facial hair in Washington State.


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Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Credit: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Jobless? Don’t want to wait for the new Federal Writer’s Project? Then I suggest heading over to Preservation in Pink and checking out their November post about hunting for preservation jobs.  The guide provides links and enough advice to get all of you recent grads and recent layoff started.

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Could U of O lose one of its most historic structures?

The Oregon Daily Emerald ran a story today about the possibility of  a new indoor track at the University of Oregon.

The idea came after athletic director Pat Kilkenny and track coach Vin Lananna visited Texas A&M’s fancy new indoor digs.  They came back jealous.  The track could replace historic Hayward Field, one of the hallowed sites in track & field, and home track to Steve Prefontaine.

 

I can understand the desire for an indoor field ( it is Oregon after all) but I found the story startling.  The new Knight Arena will  push the venerable McArthur Court into disuse and surplus; could a new indoor track facility do the same to the “Carnegie Hall of Track & Field?”  The prospect especially frustrating considering Hayward Field just underwent an $8-million renovation ahead of the U.S. Olympic Trials.

 

Wikipedia

Credit: Wikipedia

 

 

The article says the plans are “hypothetical at best” so at least there is time for ample discussion.   It would certainly be sad for both of Oregon’s historic venues to be pushed to the margins of campus life.

What do you think:


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Somethin’ for the hometown…

Preservation Magazine has an interesting brief on the Irvington Historic District in Portland.

The article discusses the tensions between Irvington’s status as a “historic” neighborhood and the regional Metro government’s desire for more dense, urban neighborhoods.

Predictably, the article laments the blooming of large, dense, in-fill projects in historic neighborhoods.  I do not fault them.  It is after all, Preservation Magazine.  But, the article’s focus on a specific story of a condo project going in across from a historic Queen-Anne home glances past the deeper issues at play.

Preservation and Density are both worthy causes that are often in direct contradiction to one another.  So… which is more important? The imposition of large condo projects in Irvington will, almost definitely, alter the character of the neighborhood.  Is that OK?

Minimization, that is creating smaller, more discrete and respectful projects seems like an obvious compromise.    Irvington, with is city sized lots, is perfect for this approach. Figuring out exactly what makes a new project “respectful” of its surroundings can, of course, be difficult. It is described in the article as one of the “perennial conundrums of preservation” but I think the solution is clear: ample community involvement and a lengthy design review process.

Really, Irvington is easy. What about Cedar Mill?

493820638_a8ad851899_mAs the ethic of “density at all costs” takes over, will Portland’s suburbs go the way of Lost Oregon? With time, early suburban neighborhoods will offer as much historic (and I would argue aesthetic) value as old, historic Irvington.  The future tension between density and preservation in suburban neighborhoods is apt to be amplified.  How do you create dense housing that is respectful to its  complete antithesis? I really don’t think you can.  Does that mean the burbs and all of the historical and cultural information they carry are doomed?

What do you think?

COMMENT

Preservation Magazine:  Trouble in Green City: Zoning Trumps Design Guidelines in Historic Portland, Oregon

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Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Credit: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

 

 

Economy got you down?

 

Well quit your bitching and be more like Seattle-architect John Morefield.

 

Morefield (pictured above) has fallen victim to crap economy twice already.  He has been laid of from two separate firms in his young career but he took his shit-luck and got creative.  He went down to the Pike Place Market and set up a booth selling architecture advice for a nickel like a kid with a lemonade stand.  For 5-cents you can get at least a few minutes of architectural know-how.  He even designed a tree house for a young “client.”  You also get Morefield’s card and contact information.  It’s a clever plan to bring business his way in the future when people can afford more than a nickel-architect.  I have to say I love this guy; he’s got moxie.  You can read more about him in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which is, appropriately enough, also a victim of the awful financial climate.

For those of you who are less enterprising than Mr. Morefield, you might want to try and mooch some money off the man.  Architectural record has responded to the layoffs and work shortages plaguing the industry by posting a list of architectural grants.  Is this a desperate attempt to keep broke archies in the chips and buying their overpriced magazine? Probably.  In any event some of the grants they’ve noted are quite lucrative.  Your interest in architecture could help you weather the storm.

The AIA thinks architecture could be the savior for the entire nation.  They’ve countered Washington’s bailouts with their own plan for stimulus*.   Their Rebuild and Renew program calls for 100’s of billions to be spent on infrastructure and other building projects.  It calls for $12 billion to create competitive grade schools (and competent architects?), a $30-billion green make over for the nation and even more on transit.  There is even a tax-relief element to help out the firms doing their proposed work.  The program even offers a relatively small pittance ($100-million or so) toward historic preservation.  Specifically, they demand a bailout of the terminally-under-funded Save America’s Treasures program and grants for Tribal and State Historic Preservation Offices. I think this is a well-timed, brilliant idea.

When businesses start failing, wrecking-balls stop razing.  By freezing up competition from mass development, the financial crisis could be a boon for the not-for-profit world of preservation.  Hopefully the new Obama administration and congress will heed the call of the AIA’s architectural New Deal.  If they do we could see a massive expansion of preservation activities and renewed interest in our nation’s architectural heritage.  It took the unchecked construction of a boom-time in the 1960’s to initially spark government action to protect the built environment.  Maybe with the entropy of a near-depression they’ll be spurred to see that work through.

While the financial holocaust may be good for preservationists it is certainly terrible for everyone else.  We’re all going to have to cowboy-up like John Morefield and get creative to make it through to the end of this.   Hopefully when things finally do improve, when Morefield gets a new job and there is money to be made in building once again, we’ll also see the fruits of our protected, restored and rehabilitated architectural heritage.

*I cannot say the word stimulus without giggling.

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I found this recruiting video for the University of Oregon from 1934:

 

 

It includes lots of great footage of MacCourt, Fenton Hall (then the library), Deady Hall and a ton of others.  It also details the cost of many of these buildings for some reason… yeah who knows?

I thought this would be of interest to all my fellow Oregon Ducks out there!

Hat tip: to the University of Oregon You Tube Channel.

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How would you like to live in an original Frank Lloyd Wright designed Usonian house

 

Well then I suggest you check out the Palmer House in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  I feel for the seller, the housing market is in a shambles which is why this beauty comes with a $250,000 discount.  Even with the price reduction the sucker still carries the asking price of $1,250,000.  I assume that is a shit-ton more than they bought it for, maybe two shit-tons.

Follow the link, and if you can stand the annoying new-agey music embedded in the site you can contact Bob Eckstien, the agent charged with getting rid of this baby masterpiece.

Check it out, and if you have an extra million or so around help Bob earn his commission!

 

PALMER HOUSE

 

For those of you who don’t have a million or more in the bank and/or not willing to relocate to beautiful Ann Arbor here is a list of other Usonian houses near you!

 

 

Lazy to even leave your house?  Here are some videos of Usonian houses all over the country, starting with my local Usonian:

 

Gordon House:

Silverton, Oregon

(more…)

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Flickr/photos/anselm

Credit: Flickr/photos/anselm

Matt Davis of the Portland Mercury is on the hunt for an architectural white whale.

He’s written twice now hoping for information on and access to the old Portland Gas Company Building on Highway 30. I have to admit I have been pretty fascinated buy the old hell-hole too. In fact, I have talked to dozens of people who are desperate to see the inside.

Most of what I know about the building is from a 2001 Portland Tribune article. It is from the turn of the century (obviously) it was an office building for Portland Gas and Coke company (what a strange combination) and its current owners have no plans to sell it or tear it down. I can also recall hearing that the clockworks that once rested in its tower are somewhere on the Oregon State University campus.

What I don’t know is what it looks like inside and that is what I and Matt Davis and countless others desperately want to know. He teamed up with Portland Architecture’s Brian Libby and was resoundingly shut down in his attempts to view the inside.  There has got to be a way!

So do you, my scant readers, have any helpful information. If you do please! let me know! Also head over BlogTown Pdx and let Mr. Davis know as well.

UPDATE:

I have learned that the location of the original clockworks is in Benton hall on the Oregon State University campus and that the work was facilitated through an alumnus of the school named David Parsons!  It appears that the move came in 1988.  Does anyone remember this? Does anyone know who David Parsons is and if he can be reached?

There is apparently a file in the OSU archives containing Mr. Parson’s notes on the move.  Perhaps it could be helpful!

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