Restored, Saved, Threatened, Lost
By Elizabeth McNamara | From Preservation | November/December 2010
Wachovia Building The 29-story Beaux-Arts skyscraper in downtown Philadelphia caught fire in March and suffered extensive smoke and water damage. Hunter Roberts Construction Group and KSK Architects have now completed an estimated $5 million restoration that included cleaning the marble and restoring metalwork. The landmark 1928 building, designed by the architecture firm Simon and Simon for the Fidelity-Philadelphia Trust Company, houses one of Wachovia's busiest branches in Center City.
Washington Place In recent years, driving down this picturesque Troy, N.Y., street lined with historic row houses was a jaw-rattling experience. The Belgian block pavers laid down in the mid-19th century had come loose, creating potholes that made the 310-foot-long stretch all but impassable. Anxious that the street might be paved over, neighborhood residents and the Friends of Washington Park, a local group, embarked on a restoration project. Workers removed and replaced each original granite stone by hand, repairing the road and preserving its historic character. A state grant helped pay for the $200,000 project, completed in August.
Terminal Six In April, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey proposed demolishing this structure at John F. Kennedy International Airport, designed for National Airlines in 1970 by the acclaimed Modernist architect I. M. Pei. The terminal features an innovative floor-to-ceiling glass panel system that gives the main pavilion, called the Sundrome, an ethereal quality. The Port Authority may build aircraft holding pads or cargo storage facilities on the site, last used by JetBlue in 2008. Preservationists have tried to secure landmark protection for the terminal in recent years and are now appealing to the Port Authority to halt demolition plans.
Paolo Soleri Amphitheater In 1965, the Institute of American Indian Arts commissioned Paolo Soleri to design an outdoor arena for the school's Santa Fe campus. The architect, known for his pioneering, environmentally conscious designs, created a 3,000-seat earth-cast concrete structure. In August, citing $100,000 annual maintenance costs and the negative influence of rowdy concertgoers on students, administrators at the Santa Fe Indian School shut the facility and announced plans to raze it. Preservationists and local community members have rallied to save the site, located on sovereign Native American land, and are imploring tribal leaders to reconsider their decision to proceed with demolition.
Mad River Coal Plant This summer, demolition started on the steel-and-brick structure in Springfield, Ohio, known as the Giant of the Valley. Designed by architect William K. Shilling and opened in 1927, the massive plant housed 25,000-kilowatt generators and supplied power to residents up to 30 miles away. When the deteriorating facility was closed in 1981, the Springfield Preservation Alliance tried to persuade the owner, FirstEnergy, to adapt and reuse it. But the energy company opted to raze the building and clear the site, an effort that may cost as much as $4 million.
Rotunda Building This state landmark in Atascadero, Calif., featuring a 40-foot-high dome, has sat vacant since suffering extensive damage during the 2003 San Simeon earthquake. Now, thanks to a $16 million donation from FEMA and a $2 million grant from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment, the city has embarked on a comprehensive restoration. Part of the c. 1917 building will be deconstructed piece by piece, catalogued, and then reassembled and brought up to code. The city will issue about $16 million in bonds to help pay for the project, estimated to cost more than $35 million. Officials hope to reopen the building, which serves as city hall, in time for Atascadero's centennial in 2013.
Randall School More than 30 years after the last students walked through its halls, this landmark building in Washington, D.C., appears poised to undergo a striking transformation. In February, CACB Holdings and Telesis Corp. entered into an agreement to purchase the site. The two developers plan to convert the original 1906 main building and two 1927 additions into private residences, an art museum, and a hotel. The Corcoran Gallery of Art, the previous owner, had proposed housing its College of Art and Design in the structure, but the real estate bust foiled that plan. CACB Holdings and Telesis are now waiting for D.C. officials to review and approve the project.
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