Preservation Awards 2004
Rather than remove the remnants of the eight-story, block-long shell, the Minnesota Historical Society and architect Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. worked to preserve what remained. The "new" museum combines modern elements with remnants of the original structure in an adaptive reuse that also includes public and private office space and residential lofts.
Central to the design is a courtyard surrounded by original limestone, brick, and concrete walls, braced with steel and accented with glass. A new rooftop observation deck gives visitors a view of the Mississippi River. The highly visible ruins serve as a reminder of the building's history.
Some of the honor awards highlight not individual structures but organizations working on multiple projects. One such group is the Cornerstones Community Partnerships, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which works with hundreds of communities throughout the Southwest to preserve the historic, vernacular, and earthen architecture unique to this region.
Through community involvement, publications, preservation workshops, and training programs, Cornerstones encourages preservation and the use of traditional building materials and maintenance techniques, particularly for historic adobe structures. While introducing young people to adobe brick making and traditional stone masonry, they are also reinvigorating a local sense of community, supporting economic development, and providing low- and moderate-income housing.
Another group receiving the award is the Chicago Architecture Foundation for an educational program for children. "Schoolyards to Skylines: Teaching with Chicago's Amazing Architecture" is a 500-page curriculum designed to foster young people's appreciation of their architectural heritage.
Authors Jennifer Masengarb and Jean Linsner worked with teachers to research and field-test the guide, which has become an innovative resource for teachers, even those outside the Chicago area, who want to bring history to life by incorporating architecture and preservation into the classroom.
Black Colleges Rebound
At least one of the preservation projects honored this year by the National Trust is most notable, arguably, for its political history. Woodworth Chapel at the historically black Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, Mississippi was built in 1901, mostly by students, and later became a national symbol of the civil rights movement, hosting such notable speakers as Dr. Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, George Washington Carver, and Booker T. Washington.
The Queen Anne-style chapel suffered years of deterioration and was finally rescued, restored, and rehabilitated by the National Park Service, WFT Architects, and White Construction Company.
During restoration, original elements and materials were salvaged and reused where possible. The original pulpit, pews, and furnishings constructed by students, were refinished and repaired. The chapel is once again the heart of the Tougaloo community. The restoration, says Moe, "serves as an important reminder of the sense of urgency facing many of America's African-American historic places."
Another historically black college has received recognition from the National Trust. The neo-Gothic Cravath Hall, on the campus of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee was designed as a library by architect Henry Hibbs in 1930. The building's interior was graced with murals by Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas, which depicted the history of black slavery.
After a period of unfortunate neglect, the building and mural were recently restored by architects Moody-Nolan and preservation consultant Michael Emrick, AIA. Now an administration building, Cravath Hall has been returned to the original masterpiece it was in the 1930s.
St. Thomas Synagogue
Through the Spanish Inquisition and the Holocaust, the Caribbean island of St. Thomas was a safe haven for the Jewish community. And like its congregation, the 200-year-old St. Thomas Synagogue has withstood hardships. The building has suffered from fires, earthquakes, numerous hurricanes, and ill-advised restoration attempts.
Now, a massive restoration and reconstruction effort has revived the historic, aesthetic, and structural integrity of the synagogue. The interior remains faithful to the traditional Sephardic liturgy, with the congregation seated face to face and the Rabbi standing on the bimah opposite the Ark.
A layer of coral sand covers the floor as a reminder of the time when Jews were forced to appear to convert to Christianity but used the sand to muffle the sound of their secret prayers.
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Woodworth Chapel at the historically black Tougaloo College, in Mississippi, was one of the recipients of this year's honor awards from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Photo: Gretchen Haien, Studio 4
The newly restored 200-year-old St. Thomas Synagogue has a long history of survival.
Photo: St. Thomas Historical Trust, Inc.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation received an award for its architectural awareness curriculum for schoolchildren.
Photo: Chicago Architecture Foundation
The Chinese Historical Society of America Museum & Learning Center in San Francisco was designed in 1932 by Julia Morgan and restored by Barcelon & Jang Architects.
Photo: Alan Geller
The neo-Gothic Cravath Hall on the campus of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee was restored by architects Moody-Nolan and Michael Emrick, AIA.
Photo: Donna Yancy
The Central Library of Kansas City, Missouri is housed in the former, now restored, First National Bank building.
Photo: Kansas City Landmarks Commission
The 1903 beaux-arts Majestic Theatre in Boston has a new life as a facility for Emerson College.
Photo: Bruce T. Martin
A grain elevator in Red Lodge, Montana is now the Hawkeye Center, a community meeting place and museum.
Photo: Tom Egenes
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