Lost, Threatened, Restored
By Krista Walton | From Preservation | March/April 2009
Paul Rudolph Hall Formerly known as the Art and Architecture Building at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., this 1963 landmark designed by Paul Rudolph inspired passionate debate about the value of modern architecture. It is now widely considered a Modernist masterpiece. In a $126 million project, architect Charles Gwathmey restored the hall and designed an addition, creating a new arts complex. The exterior walls and rooftop terrace were cleaned and repaired, interiors rehabilitated, and ecofriendly lighting and air-conditioning systems introduced. Paul Rudolph Hall is expected to receive a LEED silver rating.
Christman Building This 1928 Lansing, Mich., office building is the world's first to earn dual LEED platinum certification for renovation of the exterior and interior. Architects SmithGroup also made restoring its historic features a priority. During the $12 million renovation, they repaired limestone and brick masonry, cleaned bronze doors, and restored the original woodwork inside. To meet LEED requirements, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, low-flow water fixtures, and wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council were installed in this National Register-listed landmark.
Phillips Building A 1904 Beaux-Arts structure, the former Pillsbury Library is centrally located near downtown Minneapolis. To achieve its LEED gold rating, local firm Domain Architecture & Design built an insulated, reflective roof covering and used sustainable and regionally manufactured materials. More than 90 percent of construction waste was recycled. During the interior rehabilitation, workers discovered original stained-glass skylights under layers of plywood and paint. Local artisans restored and returned them to their original location in the central hall ceiling.
Trinity College Long Walk Famed English architects William Burges and Francis Kimball designed the collection of 19th-century buildings at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. Jarvis and Seabury halls (1878) and Northam Towers (1883, pictured here) suffered from years of deferred maintenance until the college began a $33 million restoration, completed last August. Consigli Construction Co. repaired leaking roofs, rebuilt dormers, and brought all of the buildings (some of which are used as student dormitories) up to code. Workers used original building plans discovered in the school’s archives, making sure that fireplaces, wainscoting, and wood trusses were accurately restored.
Mellon Arena Dubbed the Igloo by locals for its metallic domed roof, the Mellon Arena has been Pittsburgh's most important civic center since 1961, hosting luminaries as varied as the Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Barack Obama. With the first motorized retractable dome roof in the country, the Mellon is considered a significant example of postwar engineering. But when hockey's Pittsburgh Penguins move to a new stadium, slated to open in the fall of 2010, the Mellon Arena will go dark. Without a reuse plan, the structure will likely be demolished.
2400 Canal Street This six-story Skidmore, Owings & Merrill-designed structure in downtown New Orleans was commissioned in 1952 by Pan American Life Insurance and later served as the annex to New Orleans' city hall. SOM designed a skin of metal fins to block the sun, resulting in a unique white grille covering the exterior. Unfortunately, plans to build a Department of Veterans Affairs-Louisiana State University medical complex threaten this structure and Charity Hospital, a 2008 11 Most Endangered site. The VA says it will integrate the building into its design, but at press time, no plans had been presented.
Mount Calvary Retreat House The 1927 Benedictine monastery, situated on a ridge in the Montecito hills, overlooked Santa Barbara, Calif., until it burned in a wildfire that claimed 210 houses last fall. Six monks who lived at Mount Calvary evacuated safely, but the Spanish Colonial landmark was reduced to a few charred archways and an iron cross. Priceless historic objects, such as a 17th-century gold altar and a 1652 painting, were also lost in the fire. The monastery had attracted more than 2,000 visitors each year.
Santa Fe Indian School Buildings Last summer, Santa Fe, N.M., locals were stunned when an estimated 18 historic buildings on the Santa Fe Indian School's campus were demolished. Some of the buildings, examples of Pueblo Revival architecture, dated to the late 1800s. School officials said that the structures were contaminated with asbestos, making renovation far too costly. Members of the pueblos that run the school also cited the painful history associated with the campus —where Native American children were once sent to be "acculturated"—as a factor in their decision. The 1932 Arts and Crafts building shown at left survived the demolition.
For more photos, stories, and tips, subscribe to the print edition of Preservation magazine.