Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
The Times-Picayune reported on Saturday that New Orleans is a shrinking city, one that needs to develop "smart decline" strategies for its future. To read more, click here. Master plans certainly abound in post-Katrina New Orleans: Citywide Master Plan, Orleans Parish School Board Master Plan, Archdiocese Master Plan, Public Libraries Master Plan. To find the data for the planning, here are the main links:
Keep checking the New Orleans Master Plan website for future updates.
This exhibition covers a wide range of architectural letter forms, from the Renaissance and its introduction of classically-derived alphabets in the service of architecture and typography to the mid-twentieth century's attempts at a universal alphabet. Letters devised by Albrecht Durer, Geoffroy Tory, Johann-David Steingruber and Berthold Wolpe are included, as are the lettering designs of New Orleans architects Moise Goldstein, William Nolan, Douglass Freret, Albert Wolf, Herbert Benson and George Riehl.
Exhibition closes 8 May 2009.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
LIFE and Google have collaborated to make millions of digitized photographs available online. Many of these images were never selected for print publication, but they record nearly 150 years of historical figures, events, and places. To search the archive, click here. The metadata is pretty sparse to non-existent but it is great to have the images publicly available. Caution: broad subject searches will cap out at 200, but hopefully this is something they will improve.
Image above: John Dominis, photographer. Cathy Curtis Stirring a Pot in the Kitchen of Her Home, Designed by Her Father, Nathaniel Curtis. New Orleans, LA. LIFE 1965.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The Foundation for Historical Louisiana, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Louisiana Landmarks Society have identified Charity Hospital as an endangered building.
As reported in two August posts, the Foundation for Historical Louisiana as charged by House Concurrent Resolution 89 of the 2006 Legislative Session, commissioned an extensive analysis of the viability of Charity Hospital to provide 21st-century medical care to the region. International architectural firm RMJM Hillier conducted the feasibility study and reported its fervent belief that Weiss Dreyfous and Seiferth's Charity Hospital could be renovated more quickly and more economically than a new LSU/VA Medical campus could be constructed on the Regional Planning Commission (RPC) site.
Where is the RPC site? It is an extensive 71-acre area of Mid-City New Orleans -- bounded by South Claiborne and Rocheblave, and Canal Street and Tulane Avenue -- and includes 250 homes and small businesses. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Preservation Resource Center have put together a flickr set of affected properties. To see them, click here. The site includes important modernist buildings SOM's Pan-American Life Insurance (1951) and Charles Colbert's Olivetti Showroom (1966). Where buildings are concerned, people are concerned: The story of the Mid-City homeowners reminds me of the historic Wimawalas reported earlier this year.
The New Orleans Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the New Orleans Committee to Reopen Charity Hospital, Louisiana ACORN, United Teachers of New Orleans, and C/3 Hands Off Iberville are sponsoring A Call to Action on Friday, November 21st at 12:30 pm in front of City Hall, at Perdido Street and Loyola Avenue.
The Southeastern Architectural Archive is home to the Garden Library of the New Orleans Town Gardeners, a local garden club affiliated with the Garden Club of America and the Smithsonian Institution.
Last week, through the efforts of New Orleans Town Gardener Ruthie Frierson, the Library was the recipient of an important gift from Genevieve Munson Trimble, who has spent nearly the last forty years preserving the gardens of Afton Villa Plantation. Ms. Munson Trimble has generously donated her gardening journals, both the originals and copies, as well as landscape architect Neil Odenwald's related reports, to the Garden Library.
Although the plantation home, shown above, was destroyed by fire in 1963, Trimble's vigorous preservation efforts have resulted in a revitalized series of terraced gardens and a romantic garden amidst the ruins, the latter inspired by Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent. Trimble's journals provide a wealth of information, from records of hardy (and not-so-hardy) plant varieties to accounts of personally significant events, wedding together her landscaping and her life.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The subject of Cold War Architecture has come up on this blog before, in part prompted by a childhood spent in North Dakota, home at one point to an estimated 1700 nuclear weapons. Children statewide were still doing "duck and cover" drills into the 1980s. In 1999, the Brookings Institution identified the five states with the largest nuclear arsenals; North Dakota came in fifth behind New Mexico, Georgia, Washington and Nevada. Since disarmament, historic preservationists have been able to save North Dakota's last Minuteman missile launch complex, which will open summer 2009 outside of Cooperstown as the Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Missile Silo Historic Site.
1950's-1960's concrete and asbestos advertisements housed in the Southeastern Architectural Archive evidence the Cold War preoccupation with blast-proof architecture. Paint manufacturers also emphasized the atomic-prophylactic benefits of their products: The National Paint, Varnish and Lacquer Association produced The House in the Middle (1954) to demonstrate that the unkempt unpainted house was more susceptible to nuclear annihilation.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Unidentified photographer, Louisiana Views: Southwest Coast, undated. Miscellaneous Photographs Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.
I mentioned in earlier posts that the Southeastern Architectural Archive is home to an extensive collection of partially identified or fully unidentified photographs that document the Louisiana built environment. These two photographs are from a series of views of the state's southwest coast, all black-and-white, all square-format images mounted to embossed cardstock.
A year ago, the New York Times published Robin Pogrebin's article on the post-Katrina architecture of New Orleans, referring to it as "posthurricane vernacular" and naming individual styles: The Defensive; The Defiant; The Do-Good.
More recently and more expansively, Chicago-based Alexander Trevi has posted a series of essays and/or pictures addressing coastal building on his landscape architecture-focused Pruned blog. To read more, click here.
Any help in obtaining more information about our photographs would be much appreciated!
Film credit: American Documentary Films, Inc. The City, Part I (1939). Prelinger Archives, Moving Image Archive.
"Year by year our cities grow more complex and less fit for living. The age of rebuilding is here. We must remould our cities and build new communities better suited to our needs."
The Prelinger Archives is an extensive collection of ephemeral films that was established in 1983 by Rick Prelinger. 2,000 of its 60,000 films have been made available online via the Internet Archive. For those interested in geography, cartography, architecture and design, it is a wonderful resource.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
2009 CALL FOR PAPERS
Utopian theory/Utopian practice
Confluence, tension, intersection, incommensurability
34th Annual Meeting
Blockade Runner Hotel
Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
October 29-November 1 2009
The Society for Utopian Studies invites you to submit abstracts for any of the following:
• a paper (between 15-20 minutes)
• a panel (usually of 3 papers)
• an informal panel on a topic (e.g., 3 presenters, or a presenter and 2 or 3 respondents)
• a presentation or performance of creative work on any topic related to utopia
Scholars and artists from all disciplines are encouraged to present on difficulties and opportunities afforded by the theme “utopian theory/utopian practice.” How do we understand the relationship between theory and practice in a field where the practice might seem improbable and the theory “merely theoretical.” How utopian can theory be if it cannot be put into practice? How utopian can practice be if it continually strays from theory? We also welcome papers on other aspects of the utopian tradition -- from the earliest utopian visions to the utopian speculations and yearnings of the 21st century, including art, architecture, urban and rural planning, literary utopias, dystopian writings, utopian political activism, theories of utopian spaces and ontologies, music, new media, or intentional communities.
Please send a 100-250 word abstract by May 10, 2009 to:
Claire P. Curtis
Department of Political Science
66 George St.
College of Charleston
Charleston SC 29424
Or e-mail submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org (please put “sus submission” in the subject line)
As you submit your abstract, please indicate if you have:
A. any scheduling restrictions
B. audiovisual needs (overhead projector; DVD/VHS player)
C. a need for a written letter of acceptance of your proposal, or whether an e-mail acceptance will suffice. Changes in the time and date of your panel will not be possible after panels are scheduled; requests for AV will not be honored unless you submit them with your original abstract.
For inquiries about the program e-mail Claire Curtis at email@example.com
For information about registration, travel or accommodations, please contact the Conference Coordinator, Peter Stillman at stillman@Vassar.edu
Sunday, November 9, 2008
The creation of the restored version -- conducted by Lowry Digital Images of Burbank, California -- was dependent upon the use of the earliest extant copy, a 35-mm duplicate made in England in 1949. According to the Library of Congress, nearly 80% of the American silent era films have either been permanently lost or the extant copy is in unrestorable condition.
Image above: Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand. Film still from Manhatta (1921).
Friday, November 7, 2008
B.L. Singley of Meadville, Pennsylvania founded Keystone in 1892 to market photographs he had taken of the French Creek flood. The company continued to manufacture educational photographs and slides until 1963, when it was purchased by the Mast Development Company. The Southeastern Architectural Archive has an extensive collection of architectural lantern slides, many manufactured by Chicago's McIntosh Stereopticon Company.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
"New Orleans is now the most healthful city in the entire Mississippi Valley. The mild winters exclude those maladies known only to the rigorous climates further north. Yellow fever and kindred plagues have long since ceased to exist. The perfect drainage, perfect water supply and perfect sewerage have relegated those dreadful maladies to the oblivion which so well becomes them.
Since the building of the Nicaragua canal in the early part of this century, the commerce of this port has arisen yearly in the most rapid manner. The first year after the canal was built the imports and exports of New Orleans increased over 20 per cent. The building of the canal, together with the perfect sanitary condition that the city had been placed in, made it the principal port in the country.
[. . .]
One of the most important cities of the United States, in point of the business it carries on, is Havana. Although Cuba has not been a part of the union quite fifty years, yet it is in every sense of the word an American city. Even the Spanish language, spoken there exclusively fifty years ago, has become almost a forgotten tongue. The great volume of commerce carried on between the states situated on the continent and Cuba, goes through New Orleans.
Porto Rico has also become thoroughly American. The great resources of that now powerful state lay dormant after the island had been acquired by the United States through the Spanish American war. The importance of the island may be shown best when it is known that Porto Rico is represented in the Congress at Washington by thirteen congressmen.
The states last admitted into the union, those along the northern portion of South America, have also grown and developed most marvelously within the last few years. Mexico, that is, the territory known during the last century by that name, but now comprising eleven states of the union, has also become one of the most enterprising sections of this great nation. All this development in the gulf region of the two continents has added to the greatness of the city of New Orleans." [pp. 60-63]
Want to read more?
Whyte, J.H. New Orleans in 1950, being a story of the carnival city, from the pen of a descendant of Herodotus, possessing the gift of prescience. New Orleans: A.W. Hyatt, Co., 407 Camp Street, 1899. Louisiana Collection, Special Collections Division, 976.31 W 629
Whyte also addresses modern homes, office buildings, and hotels.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
From Bruce Eggler's piece in today's Times Picayune:
"New Orleans voters narrowly agreed Tuesday to amend the City Charter to give the city's forthcoming master plan the force of law, meaning that all zoning and land-use decisions will have to conform to the plan.
The master plan is supposed to guide the city's development for the next 20 years, creating a framework to promote goals such as economic development, better housing, improved infrastructure and environmental quality.
The City Planning Commission has hired a team of consultants to create the plan, which is expected to be finished by late 2009."
Public meetings are planned for November 8-13th. For more information, click here.