Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Save our Urban Centers!

While reading this months Preservation magazine (magazine of the national trust for historic presevation) I came across a plea to save a bank by Louis Sullivan (whom I've blogged about recently here). Of course, Sullivan is a great architect. He was a key innovator in the modern movement and was mentor to such great architects as Frank Lloyd Wright and generations of students. However, I think this is bigger than just this one bank and I'm really upset! Of course, I'm going to blog about my feelings on the matter and I hope you take the time to read this unusually wordy post from me!

Our nation's cities were decimated by city planners in the 50s-70s. They are only now beginning to regain a little strengh and the sense of place they once had thanks to preservation efforts. The powers that be in Cedar Rapids, Iowa are planning on destroying what is left of their historic urban center as well as a NATIONAL ARCHITECTURAL TREASURE in a strategy they feel is a cost effective way to combat nature (building levees).

One of the fundamentals of urban planning is to work with what the land is giving you, in many cases to the advantage of the city! Look at places who have prominently featured rivers and waterways in their recent revitalizations: Chicago, Austin, Pittsburgh, Providence and others are feeling the benefits of creative solutions. Older cities that are based on water management also prove to be popular and successful: Stockholm and Vienna as examples. What do we know about levees? Well...look at how well they worked in New Orleans. Is that a long term or even a creative solution?

So much good work has been happening in the past 20 years to save our nation's architectural heritage as well as our urban cores; to let Cedar Rapids continue on this OUTDATED path of destruction is monstrous. PLEASE join with me and sign the petition to make city planners of Cedar Rapids, Iowa consider alternative ways to manage flood waters and save their urban core! Sign the petition online HERE, I have!

Thanks to Hello Beautiful blog and Fred Camper for letting me use the photographs of the bank.

9 comments:

Pigtown-Design said...

I just did a post about urban architecture, too.

Style Redux 2 said...

Stefan-A noble cause.

Meade Design Group - Iván Meade said...

This is a great cause.

This building has incredible architectural moments - I have never seen exterior lighting that is in the street side and belong architecturally to the building, and the interiors are amazing - the hexagonal tables and the massive pendants are incredible.

Sanity Fair said...

So sad to see these cities serving the mighty dollar and completely ignoring aesthetic value. Especially since the replacements are often cookie-cutter pieces without any artistic merit. I love what de Botton's The Architecture of Happiness says about this.

custardbydesign said...

what a notable post...

the interiors shot looks great - i can almost imagine the colour - what a grand banking hall...

i can't believe they would destroy this building rather than give it a new lease of life and present it to the city with a new function...retail, restaurant, nightclub...

reduce re-use and recycle...applies to all methods of thinking...!!!

ArchitectDesign said...

It's not just this building they're proposing to tear down to build a levee, it's an entire section of their downtown!

The city planners are just not forward thinking - a vibrant downtown draws in people and helps the local economy. Saving their downtown and putting in water canals would revitalize their local economy!

La Maison Fou said...

What a story..... it seems to be an ever moving trend to expansion & downtown renewal. Here where I live there are great homes & businesses being torn down all the time while newer homes & store bulidings are propped up almost over night! A group of people geot together to try & keep the area within the look of already established homes & buildings: Preserve midtown
Just a shame, builders are putting 2 homes where one used to exist.
Leslie

allie in g'town said...

My husband forwarded me a site that you may appreciate...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bootbearwdc/sets/72157594236684793/

Rose C'est La Vie said...

Thank for presenting this stunning building and a brave attempt to save it. I will definitely sign your petition.