Page N2.1 . 03 August 2005                     
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    U.S. History at Risk

    by ArchitectureWeek

    Just because a structure has played a role in the history of the United States or acquired cultural value for other reasons does not guarantee its survival. All over the country beloved buildings are threatened by neglect, natural disaster, or deliberate destruction by culture-blind development forces.

    As a move to help protect these treasures, the National Trust for Historic Preservation publishes an annual list of Most Endangered Historic Places. The list for 2005 includes buildings that range from modest to grand, from vernacular to modern.

    Some of them are relatively young in the context of architectural history. One, for instance, is the 1924 Ennis-Brown House in Los Angeles, California, said to be the grandest of the "textile-block" houses of Frank Lloyd Wright. It was badly damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake and further battered by recent rains.

    The house blends with its setting in part because it is built of concrete blocks that incorporate material excavated at the building site. Wright designed an interlocking system of identical pre-cast concrete blocks that were stacked dry without mortar joints. The textile block was a single building component that was at once structure, ornament, and interior and exterior wall finish.   >>>

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    The earthquake-damaged Ennis-Brown House by Frank Lloyd Wright, has been designated as one of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
    Photo: Courtesy National Trust for Historic Preservation

    ArchWeek Image

    Crumbling "textile-block" of the Ennis-Brown House by Frank Lloyd Wright.
    Photo: Courtesy National Trust for Historic Preservation


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