“Conserving the Vitality of our Historic Places” | Lauren Weiss Bricker | Clarkson Chair in Planning


– So good evening everyone and welcome to the public lecture for this evening. I, again, want to thank Mrs. Clarkson for this wonderful opportunity for me to be able to bring a
wonderful friend and colleague all the way from California
to our sunny shores of Buffalo and really to have what has been so far a wonderful series of
interactions about issues related to preservation and conservation, and I hope this evening will spark some more of those kinds of discussions. So quickly about Dr. Bricker. She is Professor of Architecture and the Director of
Archives Special Collections in the College of Environmental Design at California State Polytechnic
University at Pomona. She is former chair of the State Historical Resources
Commission of California, which is their state
historic preservation office. So she brings this
whole host of experience with some, as you can
imagine, challenging cases related to designation issues. She’s also former co-chair
of the Commissions Committee on Cultural Resources of the Modern Age. Again, something that Buffalo
is very familiar with, and we are struggling with issues related to our own modern heritage. So hopefully it’ll be a good
conversation with Dr. Bricker. She is the former chair
of the National Council for Preservation Education and co-curator of the
Technology and Environment, the Southern California Postwar House, which was one in a series of exhibitions at the
Getty’s Pacific Standard Time presents Modern Architecture in LA. She is the author of “The
Mediterranean House in America,” published in 2008,
co-author of the catalog, “Steel and Shade, the
Architecture of Donald Wexler,” which accompanied an exhibition
of the same title in 2011. And she is currently working on a study of the American response
to the form and ideology of European modernism,
supported by a fellowship from the Clarence Stein Institute of Urban and Landscape
Studies at Cornell University. So please join me in welcoming
Dr. Lauren Weiss Bricker. (audience applauding) – Thank you so much, Ashima, and I am incredibly
honored to be here tonight. I wanna express my sincere appreciation to Mrs. Clarkson, and she and
her husband, Will Clarkson, for having created these
visiting chair positions in urban planning and in architecture. And I’m very honored to
have been invited by Ashima, and with the tremendous
support from Dan Hess and of course Dean Robert Shipley. So it’s my great honor
to be here with you. And as I’ve totally loved the
time I’ve had here so far, getting to know Buffalo and your tremendously
talented faculty and students. I wonder, can the lights come
down a little bit, or no? All right, so let me say a few things. My thought tonight, about
tonight’s presentation was to talk about some of what
I think of as some of the, oh, very good, some of the–
(audience laughing) Good, bad? Some of the current
issues that are foremost in many of our minds with
respect to historic preservation. Certainly we think of
historic preservation as a field devoted to the
protection of significant places against the misguided acts of humans or the impact of natural disasters. While these issues remain
of paramount concern, those of us in the field realize that we, the preservationists, may be responsible for some of the greatest
losses of historic places owing to our own historical biases. Rather than bemoan what
has occurred in the past, our great opportunity is to reassess the ways we interpret historic sites and develop strategies for maintaining the vitality of these places. In thinking about issues that are likely to have great impact on historic
places in the near future, we must join the chorus
comprised of other disciplines to develop strategies to
address climate change with particular attention to the impact of rising sea levels. In historic preservation, our
focus is on how these factors may impact historic buildings, landscapes, and infrastructure. Limited resources, however, may force us to make some hard decisions, as suggested by Michelle L. Berenfeld in her 2016 essay, “Planning for Permanent Emergency Triage “as a Strategy for
Managing Cultural Resources “Threatened by Climate Change,” she suggested we need to
reach some level of consensus on value and significance and
how resources are allocated. She sorts sites into three categories, goners, those that are unlikely to survive another generation without heroic efforts; sites that could survive for decades with thoughtful maintenance; and those sites that are so important that we will save them at all costs. We need only look to our recent
disastrous hurricane season to recognize the importance
of Berenfeld’s assertions. While it’s premature to
conduct an adequate assessment of the impact and
solutions to the hurricanes that impacted Texas,
Florida, and Puerto Rico, New Orleans’ experience in the years following Hurricane
Katrina of 2005 reflect the complexity of reaching
a shared consensus. One illustration of the triage method was the approach taken to New Orleans’ Holy Cross neighborhood
in the Lower Ninth Ward, a district that was inundated
by six feet of water resulting from a breach of
the industrial canal levy. The World Monuments Fund, or WMF, partnered with Preservation Trades Network and the University of
Florida’s College of Design, Construction, and Planning. These groups chose Holy
Cross as a district whose future recovery was most in jeopardy for the following reasons. It’s population largely displaced, 18 months after the storm, less than 500 of its 5500
residents had returned, Failure of insurance companies to compensate for losses and delays, and the restoration of
utilities and infrastructure, a classic case of a politically underrepresented community being ignored, and then thirdly working
with the Holy Cross neighborhood association,
WMF focused on projects that had the potential to
strengthen the community and provide training for
those residents who remained and others who might choose to return. One of the buildings
rehabilitated by the partners was the 1916 Greater Little
Zion Missionary Baptist Church. It helped anchor the community and was the center of
activity for the community. When the church was
flooded its wooden floor, pews, and seating, excuse me, heating and ventilation
systems were destroyed, forcing the congregation
to hold Sunday services in a tent in the side yard. Working with members of the congregation, the Partners repaired the
church’s timber frame structure, replaced the wooden floors with historically appropriate
materials and techniques, and with the group
architects for humanity, repaired the historic
paneling and wooden ceiling. Participation of the
University of Florida students in this and other projects underscores the importance of
so-called trades education, a long-term commitment of the
Preservation Trades Network, and this is a topic that
we touched on yesterday in one of our meetings, the importance of focusing on the trades. While the motivations of
the World Monuments Fund and their partners to rebuild Holy Cross centered on efforts to
stabilize the community, other factors in New Orleans were critical of local
preservation efforts, seeing this effort as
overshadowing the citizens and the living culture of the city, which could be better captured by its music and artistic life. They equated preservation efforts with the financial motivation
which they suggested was underlying Lieutenant
Governor Mitch Landrieu’s Louisiana Rebirth of Affordable Housing, it’s a affordable housing initiative, seen as essentially creating housing for hospitality workers to serve the city’s tourism industry. These critics saw historic preservation as outside the realm of the
cultural life of the city and fundamentally a tool of capitalism. Historic preservation is an easy target for such a critique owing to the significant financial
investment it requires, often only attainable by the wealthy and those who use it for personal gain. Another important direction in the field of historic preservation is the effort to democratize preservation so that it encompasses places significant
to our entire population. Thank you for the water. Excuse me. In particular the effort
has been an examination of federal programs
dealing with preservation. Top of the list would be
the National Park Services National Historic Landmark Program that focuses on historic properties that illustrate the heritage
of the United States and the National Register
of Historic places. The so-called official list of
the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Among historians,
archeologists, and others using these federal programs, many view their definition of historic places as exclusionary, omitting or undervaluing the
significant historic roles played by the nation’s ethnic people, women, and LGBTQ communities. In response to this
critique the park service has commissioned new themed studies for its NHL program that
will lead to the designation of properties reflective
of a broader constituency. The initial theme study was
entitled American Latinos and the Making of the United
States Dating from 2013, and most recently Finding a Path Forward
Asian Pacific Islander National Historic Landmarks from 2018. The focus on properties associated with underrepresented communities has identified several systemic biases. These include it’s easier to substantiate an individual’s
association with a property if they owned rather
than rented the property. Often underrepresented groups don’t have the means to own property, or they are not the original
occupants of the building. Likewise, originality
in design and materials is favored over alterations which may have been made by later owners. The physical condition of a property will affect the evaluation
of a building’s integrity, which is defined as the
ability of a property to convey its historical
associations and attributes. Some members of underrepresented groups have questioned the
concept of what they see as an overemphasis on
the physical appearance of a building as a primary means to communicate its historic significance. They suggested a fuller measure of a building’s importance
can more accurately be conveyed by standards of authenticity that encompass intangible attributes. Sources for such information
may be oral histories or an emphasis, excuse me,
on narrative traditions. Tied to this debate are
the financial incentives, inevitably, right? Notably the Historic
Preservation Tax Credit Program, which tends to emphasize an assessment of the physical status of the buildings, the physical condition
of historic properties and seeing that as a more objective means of interpreting the building
than anything less tangible. You’ve been looking at Our Lady
of Guadalupe Mission Church or also known as McDonnell
Hall in San Jose, California. This was recently listed as
a National Historic Landmark, and I can tell you it was a
very controversial process. Let me briefly tell you a
little bit about the background. The nomination was prepared
by Professor Ray Rast. The original parish church dates, which you’re seeing a view of on the left, dates to 1914 with a
later edition in 1923. It was sold in 1953
and relocated, rebuilt, and reconsecrated as a mission chapel. The interior was resheathed
with lath and plaster, but the plan remained intact. Between 1974 and ’75 it was repositioned on the existing parcel, renovated, and converted to a parish hall. With the de-consecration of the chapel a number of features were removed and new interior partitions were aided to create additional spaces to meet the buildings new function. The building is significant
because of its association with Cesar Chavez, who,
with is brother, Richard, relocated and rebuilt the church in 1953. From ’53 to ’58 it
functioned as a parish church and multipurpose center. This structure was the meeting place for the community service organization, the most important Mexican-American civil rights organization in
the immediate postwar period. It was a dynamic place
where Chavez was encouraged to weave together lessons
from Catholic social doctrine that he learned from
Father Donald McDonnell with community organizing
skills that he learned from CSO organizer, Fred Ross. The building provided
the space for activities associated with Mexican
civil rights advocacy, Catholic ministry, and ongoing efforts to organize ethnic Mexican farm workers. It is the historic property
that most closely is associated with the first phase of Chavez’s career as a community organizer,
civil rights leader, and labor rights leader. In hearings about the NHL designation, there was little debate
about its significance. Instead more questions were
raised about its integrity, as you can imagine with all these changes. Dr. Ray Rast, who actually
is an expert on Chavez and had contributed to the
American Latino theme study, noted that the footprint and
overall form of the building remained consistent with its
appearance in 1953 to ’58, the period of its significance
and ultimately retained a high degree of integrity, especially in the areas of
feeling and association. Property was listed as an NHL in 2016. Part of the widening view of
historically significant sites is a recognition of intangible resources known through narrative and memory rather than material remains. I’ve already eluded to this. This is a term that was
first coined in about 1982 at a UNESCO meeting held in Mexico City. And essentially they defined this as, they defined the importance of the need to preserve, study, and
present intangible heritage, particularly known
through oral traditions. Methodologies long associated
with anthropologists and ethnographers may come into play with these sites, especially in the effort to understand daily life. The park service has attempted
to address this category of resources as traditional
cultural properties, a designation habitually associated with Native American
and Pacific Islanders. Increasingly this term
is being applied to sites important to other groups. Somewhat more complex are
the intangible resource associated with the darker
moments of our history, where the loss of physical
evidence may be the result of an effort to erase a
disgraceful moment in our past. Such as site is Tuna Canyon
Detention Center, or TCDS, formerly located at the northern boundary of the city of Los Angeles, at the foothills of the
Angeles National Forest. TCDS was built between
1933 and ’41 as a camp for the Civilian Conservation Corps who were engaged in
various road improvements, brush clearance, firefighting efforts associated with the Angeles Forest. The camp consisted of
barracks, a mess hall, administration building, and infirmary. Immediately after the
attack on Pearl Harbor the CCC camp was closed
and the site became the Tuna Canyon Detention Station, a temporary internment camp for Japanese, Japanese-American, German,
and Polish detainees operated by the Immigration and Nationalization Service, INS. We’re still talking about them. Detainees were eventually transferred to semipermanent detention centers that included Fort Lincoln, North Dakota and Fort Missoula in Montana. By 1941 1,490 Japanese
and Japanese-American men had been processed at the station. In that year the station was closed, and after several changes
of ownership was sold in 1960 to the Verdugo Hills Golf Course, whose owners cleared the
site and re-landscaped it. Al that remains from that time of the TCDS is a group of ancient oak trees. Today the site is a subject
of a proposed subdivision. In response to a request from former LA city
councilman Richard Alarcon, the Little Landers Historical Society, a local preservation organization, submitted an application to
have this site designated due to its historical associations. The city’s Cultural Heritage Commission declined the designation, asserting that the site
lacked historic integrity. However, because their
preservation ordinance allows for the designation of sites of historic or cultural significance, and because the request
for the designation came from City Council, which can override the
commissioners decisions, the property was determined
to be eligible for listing and it was since formally listed. The new property owner
has taken legal action to oppose the designation. This is still pending. The Little Landers Society formed a specific coalition to
fight for the designation. They’ve received grants
from the Park Service and other sources to document the site. What I’m showing you are a
series of historic photographs that come from a photographic album of officer Merrill Scott, the INS Director who opened the camp. Scott actually has been described as somebody who has been
somewhat compassionate to the prisoners, allowing them to engage in self government and essentially run many of their operations. So I have, but one has to say that if you’re gonna deal with a site where it has basically been scraped clean, you must have good historic documentation to back up what you’re
actually focusing on. And these historic photographs
made all the difference. So you see a series of structures here. I have some more details in a minute. Here’s the plan. I’m sorry, it’s a little
bit difficult to read. And this, what we’re looking at here, is actually a presentation board that was organized when the group put together their presentation
for the designation. So what you see here, is a
photograph that is showing you a view of the fence, and you can see a kind of a lookout tower here. You see boys playing in the foreground. Another view of the fence here. And views looking from the interior, excuse me, from the
exterior looking inward. Another view here. Perhaps easier to read is an interior view of the infirmary and the kitchen and this is the mess hall. I have more detailed
photos that are larger that will make this clearer to you. This is the mess hall,
again, from the CCC period. And here’s a view of the entrance gate. So as you can see this is a photo of the officer guard commanding the camp and various equipment that he had. Views of the mess hall, very much in that kind of rustic character that many CCC projects were employed, board and batten siding, and then the interior of the mess hall. And then what you’re seeing
are a series of buildings. On the left is the hospital. At the distance barracks at the right, and officers quarters
significantly outside the fence. And a view of two men
within the recreation hall. So what has happened
is that the developers have proposed, in an
effort to somewhat appease the concerns of the local group have proposed a commemorative park. And just to orient you. So here’s an aerial view of the site. You’re looking at the golf
clubhouse, if you will, right by the road and
the open space beyond it, and here’s the pro shop on the plan. And so the idea was that these are the ancient oaks that
have been referred to, and so there would be
something like an acre park that would be set aside,
actually, the city requires a two-acre open space requirement. So we’ll see what happens. On the left is a view of
what are characterized as these ancient oaks. It was suggested that
the coalition sponsoring the designation hold a
Shinto purification ceremony. And this was held by
Reverend Yoshi Tsuyuki son of a detainee, Taichi Tsuyuki, and this was held on December 16, 2013. Prior to the event the
reverend went to the site to breathe the air and
see the mature oaks. The coalition hopes that the ceremony will give their activities a fresh start. Another dimension of the
reevaluation of sites that are worthy of preserving
relates to properties that date from somewhat more recent times, there’s a broad terminology that’s used in preservation circles
of the recent past. And initially this concept basically began in 1945
right after the conclusion of World War II and
extended into the early 70s. Now we’re really pushing into the 70s, deeper into the 70s and the 1980s. The obstacles to preserving such works I think are well illustrated in this view. So you see in the
foreground is looking like essentially a terraced garden, is of course the Oakland Museum,
designed by Roche-Dinkeloo, Kevin Roche being the led designer, and the landscape architect was Dan Kiley. And in the distance is a view of the Alameda County Courthouse. So in a very, I think, useful article, in terms of understanding the concerns about interpreting the recent past, written by a Richard Longstreth of George Washington University. And the article has this
kind of a delightful title of “I Don’t See It, I Don’t Understand it, “and It Doesn’t Look Old to Me.” (audience laughing) And this was published in the mid 1990s when preservationists really started kind of organizing their thoughts about recognizing more recent works. And one of the important
comments that Longstreth makes is that many of these modern works that are really part of the modern canon taught an architecture and
planning programs today, are somewhat antithetical to more traditionally preserved buildings, such as where you can
see a very clear profile of the building that could, as it projects against the
larger skyline of the city, versus a situation like
we have at Oakland, with the museum where it’s
very much set into this site. Here’s another view of it. And I don’t know if some of
you have visited this site, but the museum is really, I think, quite a beautiful complex. It was created as a means of consolidating three existing art and
natural history museums. And here’s a view of it, of the entrance. This has been modified more recently. And just a couple of
drawings and an interior view to give you an idea of
how it sits on the site. So you obviously see a series of terraces that are set down into the site, and here I think this
very helpful section, so you see the planting, a
kind of a pergola screening, and the way this space
sets down into the site. And so the experience of the galleries is totally underground. And on the left is a display that relates to the discovery of gold in California. Another important work that is very much from this postwar period is the Edward Durell Stone,
Stuart Pharmaceuticals, located in Pasadena, dates from 1958. The landscape architect was Thomas Church. And I wanna specifically emphasize that. Very often we assume that a project comes because of the reputation
of the architect. In this case it was
Thomas Church’s reputation that got the job and then he,
in turn, brought in Stone, with whom he had worked on other projects. So as you see, it’s located in Pasadena. And here’s a view from
the building looking out. And you can see that the building sits pretty close to the road. It actually sits fairly low to the site, and that church uses
planting and water features as a kind of a buffer between
the street and the building. Let me just go back to say a couple things about the design of the building. So the building very much has
kind of signature features associated with Stone’s work. Certainly, this cast concrete
screen that you see here and also this kind of
modernized interpretation of classical architecture is very evident with these kind of thin,
attenuated columns or supports, and then of course the
projecting roof surface. Of course with this water feature, the building very much
seems to be floating from its site. This view gives you an idea of what happens behind this screen. And so as you can see the site drops and there is a pool, and this beautiful sunshade element of constructed of molded plywood. So when you look at a view like this, one does not ordinarily
expect to see a pool in a place of employment, or this view of this
very sort of grand atrium that then drops down to the lower level. This is actually a dining hall. And there was a kitchen
off it which in turn, and the dining hall opened
on to the pool area. This is a beautiful case of a
kind of corporate paternalism that was being practiced
in the postwar period, this notion that when
you went in the morning everything was sort of more
or less taken care of for you. And then you didn’t leave. They locked you in. You didn’t leave until
the end of the workday. And this is not the only instance of it, but I think it’s quite a nice example. And here is the site plan. It gives you an idea of the
completeness of the activities along this location. So just to orient you,
obviously here is the pool. This is the bridge over the
water feature at the front. What’s immediately behind this screen are the executive offices. And here’s the atrium that
we saw in the photograph, and then what’s indicated
here are the labs. The accountant’s office, pretty good size, IBM, specifically, obviously computer, mail room, and then the warehouse. And then of course, in
addition to the pool there’s a pool house
and some other amenities including the sunshade element. So what happened here is
kind of an interesting story. So I always find it helpful
to look for the pool in terms of identifying where the, to orient ourselves. So here’s the pool obviously, and you see the entire site outlined. But actually this site, the outline, it includes not just the building itself but a new parking structure. So Pasadena, as is true of many other Southern California communities,
and really nationwide, is interested in transit
oriented development. So the 210 freeway was
a more recent freeway in Southern California running along the foothill of the San Gabriel Mountains, and then really right at the southern edge of the Stuart Pharmaceutical property. So, Pasadena commissioned
a specific area plan to deal with development
along the freeway, very much encouraging TOD development. And it was clear that
the transportation agency was going to be building
a parking structure, and it had been built, and that there was a certain amount
of pressure to develop housing on the site of
Stuart Pharmaceutical. In the anticipation of
this Pasadena Heritage, the local preservation organization, had already had the property
listed in the National Register so that the fight was won, if you will. And here, one has to be fair about this. Here’s a view. The upper image gives you an idea of the deteriorated
condition of the property, and the lower image is
the proposed development. So you have Stuart here and really just the front of Stuart. And then the new condominiums
that were projected to be built behind. So what happened was that, and this is my kind of crude
coloring of the site plan, so this was the original
footprint of the building. The yellow is what was demolished. And what remained was the
front portion of the building. And some of us had some reservations about the notion of lopping off more than 50% of a
National Register property as any kind of a preservation solution, but we were in the minority, evidently. And so the project went forward. This gives you an idea
of how the developer was imagining the project. So this is, again, the
entrance to the building. And then the dropdown with the dining hall opening onto the pool area, and then the new condominiums. And here’s what it looks like today. This is known as The
Stuart at Sierra Madre. So to orient you again, we have the screen here. You can see the dropdown, the pool, and then what you’re looking at here is that the opposite view
with these palms here, palms were not part of
Thomas Church’s vocabulary. And the dropdown and
then you see the density of the housing development around it. And so you know, on the one hand it’s a kind of a mixed bag, if you will. On the one hand, we have the recognition of the Stuart Pharmaceuticals building, but then we have what some might consider a somewhat disrespectful treatment of it, but had it not been designated there’s a reasonable chance
we wouldn’t have any of it. So I would say that the recent past is getting the same kind of treatment that other periods of
historic architecture can often be subject to, including the more recent
past, moving forward, and this is the UC Santa
Barbara’s Faculty Club designed by Charles Moore. And from 1968. And some of you may have been here. It’s, I think, quite an
interesting reinterpretation of the Spanish tradition but
very much in the vocabulary of Charles Moore with these
shed roofed compositions and really quite interesting
the way he wraps the site. If you’re familiar with
some of Moore’s buildings, you know that very often they
are not well constructed. And so the building went into a long period of deterioration, and a donor came along who
was personally offended by certain features of the building, and she essentially
committed the university to redoing the building. As you can see, some of
the few defining features of the building were retained, but much of the rest of
it was totally rebuilt. And in addition, significantly expanded. So tomorrow we’ll be talking more. Our panel discussion at the
pavilion will be talking more about these, many
of these issues related to the preservation of
modern architecture. I just wanted to conclude
with a few thoughts about where we are with respect to the preservation movement. While, I don’t wanna just come off like I’m sort
of negative about things. I do actually think that we’re
at a very exciting moment in the preservation movement, both because there are clear
signs that the movement is expanding and being
much more responsive to our ever-changing demographic. And also because we have no choice, but we must respond to the
issues raised by climate change and how our historic
buildings are going to fare and need to be protected. I think those of us who are teaching now realize the responsibility we have to prepare our younger people to respond to many of these issues, and I think for this reason,
preservation education remains an extremely important aspect of not just the issue of
old buildings, if you will, but it really is an
opportunity to draw broadly on issues related to architecture, urban planning, and really how we define our important places. Thank you very much. (audience applauding) Questions? Yeah. – Great, thank you so much Lauren, that create a lot of, I think, thought provoking points to consider. At this point I wanted to
open it up to questions. Are there any questions for Lauren? – Stunned silence. Oh good.
– Brad? – [Brad] Thanks, hi, thanks
for the interesting lecture. I worked here in Buffalo
and I do a lot of work with the historic tax credits, and I was just curious in California how that process is going. Especially with the second
to last project you showed, interesting that they didn’t think about essentially maybe reusing
the kind of midcentury part and then also doing
the condos using tax credits as well as doing the new build part. Just wondering if developers are thinking that way in California or if they’re just more thinking high rise and more density and all that stuff. – Well, okay, so what happened with the Stuart Pharmaceutical
was that the architect, the preservation architect who was hired to deal with the front
portion of the building, which was really beautifully restored, actually made a pitch to do tax credits for the proposed new construction. And a number of us, that is what you saw, severing the rear half and building new. And quickly, he was, it was made very clear it
wasn’t gonna go anywhere. So I would say with
regard to that project, there was an effort but
it wasn’t a suitable site given the proposed project. I totally agree with you. It could have been an
interesting opportunity to insert a new housing
units within that building. And, as you know, there
is significant flexibility on the part of the park service to allow some new openings, and if, in the long run, the point is, that you’ll be able to keep the building. I would say in other respects the Historic Tax Credit
Program is going strong in California, particularly
in the urban centers. In Los Angeles it’s critical
to what’s referred to as the renaissance of
downtown Los Angeles, where we have these
large historic districts, particularly say around
the area of Broadway where we have a number
of historic theaters. But in close proximity
are department stores and office buildings, and they have very successfully been converted to lofts or hotels. – Thank you.
– Sure. – [Woman] Oh thanks, thank
you, that was interesting. I’m just curious if there’s
a national commission that’s been put together
or is it state by state or is there some sort
of nationally organized way that the preservationists
actually are prioritizing what is to be preserved
and what isn’t as we go, as we address climate change. ‘Cause that’s a huge,
I mean that would be, I mean that’s, it’s just
such a huge challenge. So is that state to state? Is it national? What’s, how’s that moving forward? – It’s a very important question. I know that FEMA is very much concerned about preparation with, throughout the country in
anticipation of various disasters including climate change
and that they have, for quite a while, been
interested in historic buildings. I am assuming that they
are working in conjunction with the National Park Service
to try to develop guidelines, but frankly at this point the
impetus seems to be coming both from the states and
from individual groups. I know that there is a
group that was put together. Guy Nordenson, who is on
the faculty at Princeton, has headed up this effort to look to ways in the post Sandy period
to make those communities, put them in a better position
in response to rising waters. And so I think it tends
to be sort of nonprofits and individual groups. And I am not aware of any kind of national overall commitment to doing that, but it certainly needs to be done. No question, yep. – [Man] Professor Bricker,
I was fascinated to look at the example that
you gave us on efforts at democratization, Our Lady of Guadalupe. And my question is if
contemporary preservation practice cedes the original buildings, as being less important than
the culture being preserved, and that there are other intangibles that can serve the purpose of cultural preservation, I wonder how it is we remember
without the visual clues of the original architecture. In other words, I grasp the point about there being mechanisms
other than the object. But Anne Clarkson and I
spent 16 years together working on the Buffalo
City Arts Commission, and it is the object at some point that triggers the memory. If the object is radically
redone to a point where it is visually unrecognizable, what is it that supports the memory and how does the untrained observer who happens upon the place, get the information. – [Woman] Can you repeat
that just a little bit? – Sure, so what the argument was there? So the, I mean, I have shown you probably the toughest example of this. There are many other examples that are, where the property has
not been changed as much. I mean it was moved, it was repositioned, it was scraped, there’s a long list. And still the spirit is there. And I think what ends up happening is that you almost sort of relinquish. This is the premise, you relinquish the sort of
physical markers almost entirely, not quite, but almost entirely, because the significance of
the site is so important, and I think part of the
strength of this argument was that some of the changes were done by Cesar Chavez and his brother, and so that made, that made it
the alterations more direct. It also is where these
activities took place. But I understand what you’re saying. And here’s the other
thing that I would say. We go in preservation,
like most disciplines, there’s this sort of pendulum that swings and for the longest time the physicality and the integrity was
measured by the physicality was the principal way
that we recognized place and then we informed our recognition by understanding the history
and the cultural identity, and all that sort of thing. And I think increasingly the pendulum is in this other direction, and I showed you about
the most radical example tat I could cook up. No, I didn’t mean I made it up but I think it’s important to kind of think about it. What I ultimately in my personal hope is that we come back to
a sort of a middle ground where we can respect both sides of it, and I think this is particularly important for our young designers is
that we do not relinquish the importance of design and materiality on many levels. I personally, I feel that it is important, but I must say that I want to respect the, and bring to your attention if you weren’t already aware of it, how far some of these
issues are being assessed. And I do think that there
is a very strong feeling that particularly with groups
that have been marginalized in many ways historically
and then in terms of the preservation movement there, with these theme studies there’s
a particular focus on them. So, I’m actually, I’m presenting this. I think it’s important. I ultimately, if you were to ask what would be my recommendation, it would be something a little
bit closer to the middle. If that makes any sense. I’m happy to talk some more about this. Yeah, go ahead. – [Woman] Thank you for the presentation. I know you spoke a little
bit about the democratization of historic preservation
but I was wondering what were the specific
practices or methods for combating the stigmatization that historic preservation is the latest. – Well, in part it has to do with the idea of bringing forward the history of groups that
have been marginalized. And that’s the purpose
of these theme studies. The National Historic Landmarks Program has for a long time had theme studies. I think what must have happened was that initially it was
just these individual, most important kind of
George Washington’s home, that kind of level of significance. And then as a way of
broadening the base for NHLs, and they developed these theme studies. And the emphasis with these theme studies was very much on a kind
of comparative analysis. And so, but those theme
studies were still not as, not sufficiently based
on the history of groups such as the Latino Americans, the Asian Pacific Islanders,
the LGBTQ communities, and so those theme studies, and that’s the one that’s coming along, it hasn’t been published yet. So it’s to bring forward the information about these places and the background and the places associated with
the history of these groups. And also this concern about reassessing the way we look at integrity so that we, ’cause integrity has
forever been this way of kind of measuring the physical status, or equating the physical
status of a building with its historic significance. And so, I think we need increasingly
to broaden our research so that we include narratives. Also, we need to think not just in terms of who was the original owner, what did the original building look like, but to acknowledge change. One really can think of these buildings as organic in may ways and
that they evolve over time, and the way they evolve is
through their associations with different people and in response to changing conditions. Hope that clarifies things. Any other? (laughing) – [Ashima] So I had a question, if I may. So the Tuna Canyon example, the site is privately owned, correct? Has there been any effort to
include the local community into the reinterpretation efforts when thinking about the
redesign for the park? Because you know, as
we’ve discussed earlier, these kinds of sites that are traumatic for many communities, often there is a disconnect
between interpretation efforts and what the community
really wants reflected as how they want to
interact with that site that has these negative associations with their history. And so that’s why, so I was wondering if you could expand on that a little bit. – Well the coalition is
comprised of both members of that local preservation organization and others who were, for instance, relatives of former detainees, and others in the, particularly in the Japanese-American community. So I think because the site is so absent of any of the buildings
associated with the camp, really what is left are
those trees, those oak trees. And that’s, my sense is
that there’s a consensus that those oak trees are the
marker of that earlier period. – [Man] Thank you, sorry for that delay. Thank you for a lovely presentation. It was really terrific. I’d like to put a hypothetical to you. And it’s tied to the
history of this region and just invite your reflection on it. And it’s tied to the canyon kind of, the histories that they don’t
always want to acknowledge and that need to be carried
forward in some fashion. We have, we are the site
of some of the largest superfund encounters, and some of those sites have been what created superfund funding. And I think now particularly
of Love Canal in Niagara Falls. As a school and as a studio environment we have explored how best to
interpret a site of that scale and magnitude and kind of
horror in some respects. And met considerable local resistance. That’s my home, it’s
my city, it’s my town. I don’t want the 14 million tourists who come to visit Niagara
Falls on both sides of the border to be
exposed to that history, while at the same time we run risks of not interpreting those (mumbles). So I’d be curious about your notions of such a designation
sometime in the future, given many of the houses
are gone but not all, and some new ones have been
built, which is equally scary. – Well I think it
implicit in your question is this yes I would agree that there needs to be recognition. I don’t, I don’t think we should be
afraid to recognize these sites. In fact, if we don’t,
we’re cleansing our history in a way that none of
us would be comfortable if we read textbooks that denied the role of slavery in our history, and various other tragic and dark moments. So I don’t know why preservation
should be any different. What’s more challenging
are some of the questions that Al raised, that
the physical connection has always been an appeal that we have, that has been inherent in preservation. You look at a building and it immediately, or whatever it is, landscape, and you have that kind
of visceral connection. Now, and that actually
might suggest even more so the retention of any of the remnants, so one can be reminded that
this shouldn’t be repeated. I mean, it’s very much
the debate that went on with the 9/11 memorial site. Should we just move forward and not have any reference
to what was clearly a terrible event or do
we need to give ourselves the opportunity to contemplate
the impact of that event? So I, but the reality is, just perhaps in the case with the Love Canal site and also what happened in Manhattan, there’s a lot of, there’s
this counter economic pressure and also counter argument that we need to show that we move forward, that there’s a positive. So it’s a balance, right? In a democracy we do that. Other thoughts? Questions? Great. Oh oh oh, there’s one more?
– Oh is there a question? – Yeah, she’s got one. – [Woman] I have a little basic question, that while doing the presentation, preservation or relocation works, how is the government design requirements like accessibility or fire are fulfilled? Like in rare cases are they excused for like giving value to the historic? – No, no, no they are always considered. So modifications to improve accessibility, life safety issues are
absolutely a part of the process. – [Woman] Okay, thank you. – Okay, anyone else? (laughing) – [Ashima] Okay great, thank you so much to everyone for coming,
(audience applauding) and thank you Dr. Bricker for a very thought-provoking discussion. (light, relaxing music)

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