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Redeveloping with Historic "Ruins"

Seabishop

Cyburbian
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3,838
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25
Does anyone have examples of historic structures that had to be razed (or that burned down) but were redeveloped in a way that left portions of the exterior intact? In other words, leaving some form of the "ruins" of the historic building. There is probably nice term for this that I don't know yet.

I think I remember an example in Buffalo where part of the facade of a mill building was left up and a park was built inside.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
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4,473
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25
Seabishop said:
I think I remember an example in Buffalo where part of the facade of a mill building was left up and a park was built inside.
I'm not sure of that example, but I do know that in some buildings around the the city, some of the facades of the original building have been perserved while a new building has been proposed to be built within the lot. A know of a mansion's facade on Delaware Ave that is still up, a waiting for the owners to build within the area. Another attempt was on Genesee St where the facades of a group of buildings were kept to have new buildings built within, although before all the necessary supports arrived, a wind storm toppled parts of the facades.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
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18,313
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44
I'm not sure if it's designated historic but isn't that what they did in Chicago to Soilder Field? And Penn Central in NYC.
 

donk

Cyburbian
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6,970
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30
The air canada centre in Toronto uses the exterior of the old post office.





In Montreal, an old brick warehouse was gutted, the roof and windows removed and is being used as a parking lot for a groccery store (sorry no images)
 

Cullen

Member
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33
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2
In albany NY, the fleet bank building was designed by philip hooker around 1800. The facade was basically moved from one side of the street to the other, but the rest of the building was knocked down. The facade stands today with a rather modern building behind it, and many more floors extended on top of it with a similar style of facade.

is this the type of thing you are talking about? This goes on a lot in Albany, and probably in many other places as well. So far as I know, it's just called, "preserving the historic facade"
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
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10,080
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34
I put together this project. The old mill building/dairy was abandoned in the 1990's and considered a brownfield. Because of its very awkward construction, there was no suitable re-use.

11HM-28-med.jpg

We acquired it through tax foreclosure and completed demolition through TIF. In doing so, we left the portion of the foundation wall along the river in place, including a platform jutting over part of the mill race, as well as one of two bridges on the site. These will all be incorporated into a walking path along the north side of the river and over the dam. The entire south bank is city park land. We will be erecting a couple of interpretive signs discussing the history of the site, which was first developed with a sawmill in 1852.

11HM-46.jpg

In addition to saving some part of the local history and providing a nice amenity for the new condominiums on the site, this decision eliminated some red tape. Had we removed the foundation, we would have had to obtain a permit from the state DNR, which would have taken many months, and then restored the bank of the river.
 

DecaturHawk

Cyburbian
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RichmondJake said:
I'm not sure if it's designated historic but isn't that what they did in Chicago to Soilder Field?
OT...Well, yes, they did sort of build the new stadium within the colonnade of the old Soldier Field, but the result is so jarring it would have been better to raze the whole thing and start new. Blair Kamin did a great article in the Chicago Tribune a few months ago, just before the stadium opened, where he states that the designers created a wonderful place to play football, but in so doing turned their backs on the people of the city. He noted that there will be more people driving by on Lake Shore Drive in a three day period than there will be inside the stadium for the entire season (I'm sure he didn't count the playoffs, a distant dream for Bears fans). So while the fans paying big bucks to enjoy the game get a great experience, the rest of the citizens of Chicago have to live with visual impact of that thing.

Back on topic...Another example I know of was the Muskegon Mall, built in the 1970's by enclosing parts of the main street and maintaining several of the facades in the interior of the mall. This mall closed a few years ago and I believe is now being demolished. Also, the Grand Avenue in Milwaukee was built in the alley between several buildings, nearly all of which maintain their street facades.
 

Bangorian

Member
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198
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7
Depends on what you mean by "redeveloped"... commercially you mean?

There is a new project likely still in the planning phase in Beacon, NY to redevelop the "Long Dock" site. Right now the site has some historic buildings, docks / piers / pilings, and foundations, all of which will be incorporated into the new site design. Last I knew, they were proposing a "green" riverfront hotel, restaurants, retail, and recreational uses on the site.

Also, perhaps somewhat related, they will be using an old rail corridor as a trail from that site to Denning's Point and Madam Brett Park, both owned by Scenic Hudson. I believe there are historic elements (RR buildings' foundations, etc.) that will be somewhat restored for the trail.

That was last I knew. There's a website up now, but I don't have time to verify everythnig's the same. On quick glance, I don't see much on the historic elements. At any rate, have a look for yourself - http://www.longdockbeacon.com/

Hope that helps!
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
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3,904
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Is there some sort of adaptive reuse/ facade preservation project coming up in your town?

The Harris Teeter grocery store in downtown Charleston, SC is a good example of what I think your asking for. Originally a small rail way cargo terminal back in the 1800's the building visible from the street is a nice elevated brick and large timber structure. The developers knocked out the the back wall and expanded with a new structure that made the building large enough for a modern super market. Overall it's a great use of a building that would have simply fallen in from neglect and it fits the character of the city much better than any New-Urbanist type structure ever could. Sorry, but I couldn't find a picture online.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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RichmondJake said:
I'm not sure if it's designated historic but isn't that what they did in Chicago to Soilder Field? And Penn Central in NYC.
*agrees with DecaturHawk* They should have razed it.

 
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Seabishop said:
Thanks. I don't have a specific project going on but its an idea I'm intrested in.
I found a book a few months ago in a used bookstore called "A Future From The Past" about preserving and reusing old buildings. It is fairly short, with a number of good historical photos and was a quick read. I found it gripping but I am weird like that. You might look for it and see if it is relevant to what you mean.

EDIT: Also, you might want to look to what they do in Europe. When I lived in Germany, we made a hobby of visiting castles and other old ruins. Some were tourist attractions but I was really surprised by the number of castles that were in use as hospitals, retirement homes, and other institutional uses. Frustrating at the time because that meant all we could do was look at the outside but much more interesting to me now.
 

Wulf9

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22
In preservation circles, removing the building and leaving only the facade is called a "facade-ectomy." It's not preservation because you lose most of the reasons you preserve a building.

On your mill site, the history adds a rich sense of time to the current development, and preserving foundations and some other artifacts is a nice touch. Think about those artifacts as ways to tell the story of the site as it developed over time, prior to demolition. Preservation is really about understanding the past. Think of the history first, then think about ways to incorporate that historic story into the new development. It helps if you can find pieces throughout the new development and let people walk along the paths that the historic story can tell.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
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10,080
Points
34
Here's an example of a "facadectomy" from Madison. This used to be an attractive commercial building on State Street. It is being replaced with the Overture Center, a performing arts center that robs a whole block of the street of any life. Preservationists did not want the building removed, so only the facade was retained, but it has lost all context.

 

donk

Cyburbian
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6,970
Points
30
Just remembered another one. They saved the facades and most of the original buildings, then joined them in the rear to a new building with an atrium. It is in Saint John, NB. It is called Market Square.

Outside


Inside

 

tsc

Cyburbian
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1,905
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23


This is in Seneca Falls NY... at the Woman's Rights National Park... I think it is a good example of what not to do.

It is the Wesleyan Chapel, the site of the first woman's right convention. (and yes... the project is completed....)
 

Elisabeth

Cyburbian
Messages
157
Points
7
There's a massive housing project going up in DC right now that deals with this--I can't find any photos, but it's on H St NW, right near the on ramp for 395 (for any DC based kids). Anyway, they saved the corner facade of, maybe, 4 buildings that are dated from the late 19th century. This will serve as the entrance way to hundreds of luxury apts. And, in agreement with Wulf9, preserving the facade of a builidng is generally not considered a "save" for preservationists. Currently, the City of Albany is grappling with a couple sites for the new convention center--three of the proposed sites would demolish historic structures (one of the buildings is from the 1700's and if it's torn down I might have to leave the city of my birth) and some have proposed keeping the facades of some of the builidngs in lieu of total destruction. Personally, I'd rather see this happen because anything is better than losing the historic character of our little downtown, but again, it's not technically a save. There's some hope, however, because all three sites were nominated by the Historic Albany Foundation to be put on the Preservation League of New York's "Seven To Save" list for 2003, and, if chosen, they have a sporting chance to be saved. Maybe even revitalized!
 

Bangorian

Member
Messages
198
Points
7
To echo some other comments:

Bear Mountain State Park in New York just finished a huge interpretive project on the ruins / remains of two Revolutionary War forts (and subsequent settlements on hte site). Its pretty impressive. You should be able to find plenty about it on the web.

Also, when I was in Portugal recently, there are lots of ruins everywhere, used as museums and tourist attractions (as will most of Europe). Perhaps its an option. In Portugal especially, ruined castles have been restored all over the country and are now state-run luxury hotels. Talk about adaptive reuse!
 

solarstar

Cyburbian
Messages
207
Points
9
New Orleans has an ongoing battle about this. Currently the preservation folks are fighting the pro-job politicos about an expansion of Harrah's casino. But instead of doing the usual protests, lobbying, etc., they decided to enlist some architects to provide an alternative that would still provide the same number of space, hotel rooms, etc. that Harrah's wants, but also preserve the 1850-era buildings in the area. Here's a link to their proposal, if you're interested:

Harrah's alternative
 
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