Buildings For The Future

October 4, 2017 Economics, Sustainability, Technology Comments (0) 346

My favorite quote from Donovan Rypkema during our Living Heritage Symposium last month was a marvelously simple recitation about why saving old buildings is economically brilliant.  He said simply:  “You can’t build new and rent cheap.”

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Passive Aggressive

April 5, 2017 Economics, Sustainability, Vision and Style Comments (1) 1084

Passive Aggressive behavior is a terrible character failing.  It is a sign of immaturity or stunted development.  I know something of this and work to avoid it.

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The Value of Heritage

February 4, 2017 Economics, Sustainability, Texas Comments (0) 657

When a lover of history, architecture, or neighborhoods sees an historic building or district, they value it.  They want to save it, to preserve that value. Continue Reading

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Moving Buildings – San Antonio

July 20, 2016 Historic Districts, House Museums, Sustainability Comments (2) 512

I am living in an historic building that was moved more than a mile from its original location, from the King William district, the first historic district in Texas.

This is the 1881 Oge carriage house, now located near the Yturri-Edmunds house, which is in its original location near Mission Road.  Our San Antonio Conservation Society moved the house here in order to save it.  On the same property we also have the Postert House, an 1850 palisado cabin which was similarly moved in order to save it from demolition.  In fact, I remember very well in 1985 when San Antonio set a record for moving the largest building that had ever been relocated on wheels, the 1906 Fairmount Hotel. Continue Reading

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Lathrop Homes, 3 years after

February 20, 2016 Chicago Buildings, Historic Districts, Sustainability Comments (1) 482

Full disclosure:  Four years ago, I was the Historic Preservation consultant for the Julia C. Lathrop Homes in Chicago, a very important 1937 federal housing project.  This past Thursday the Chicago Plan Commission approved the current plan for the project, which I ceased to work on when I left Chicago in July 2012. I took the opportunity to compare the plan to my April 2011 Preliminary Report and to the project at the time I left.

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Main Street and Community Preservation

February 13, 2016 Economics, Historic Districts, Sustainability Comments (0) 290

This coming week I will be lecturing about Main Street, a National Trust for Historic Preservation initiative that began in the 1970s as a way to help preserve historic downtowns throughout America in communities of every size.  This was in the era when suburban shopping malls had become the centerpiece of American life, drawing attention and dollars away from the smaller shops and services of the old downtowns. Continue Reading

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Everything You Know Is Wrong, Part II

February 6, 2016 Blog, History, Sustainability, Technology, Vision and Style Comments (0) 273

Who doesn’t adore their own adolescent brain?

Eight years ago I wrote a blog with this title, to remind us that we often think our way past reality.   Despite our ongoing technological revolution the human mind still has a series of fallback postures that fail to perceive reality but instead distort it – simplify it, really – to make it fit into categories more satisfying to our adolescent brains. Continue Reading

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Chautauqua: Where America spoke

November 12, 2015 Economics, Sustainability, Technology Comments (1) 342

“I must protest against the dismemberment of Chautauqua.”

  • Letter to William Rainey Harper from John Heyl Vincent, 4 July 1899.

I stumbled across this nugget while researching other matters regarding George Vincent and William Rainey Harper, the first President of the University of Chicago.  Vincent’s father John Heyl Vincent was a founder of Chautauqua, which as you may know, is a place in New York state that evolved from a Sunday School into a nationwide educational movement. Continue Reading

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Strategic Thinking and the Heritage of Every Single Day.

September 9, 2015 Economics, Global Heritage, Sustainability Comments (1) 317

Aaugh HELP they are tearing it down!!!  NOW!!

One of the many benefits of my three years in Silicon Valley, buttressed by 30 years of serving on non-profit Boards of Directors  (I whittled it down to four recently.  Well, five.)  is that I have been steeped in strategic thinking and strategic planning.  While this may seem like a normal exercise to the MBA crowd, it is something that tends to be lacking in the historic preservation/heritage conservation field. Continue Reading

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Farnsworth House 2015

June 21, 2015 Chicago Buildings, House Museums, Sustainability, Technology Comments (1) 377

Last week.  Maybe next week too.

It has been 13 months since I last blogged about the Farnsworth House (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1951).  In that blog I detailed the various options that had been studied to try to conserve the house despite the increased flooding of the Fox River at its location near Plano, Illinois. Continue Reading

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