Thursday, October 15, 2009

And We Laughed At East Berlin's Communist-Era 'Palace Of The Republic' As Aesbestos-Ladden And Ecologically Unsound

"Floating above Creole cottages and Victorian shotgun houses of the Tremé/Lafitte neighborhood of New Orleans is the glass-and-steel Phillis Wheatley Elementary School. In 1954, the architect Charles Colbert constructed an elevated cantilevered steel truss structure to provide an expansive shaded playground area, protecting the schoolchildren from the tropical climate. Progressive for a school facility at the time, the building was critically acclaimed and its design was exhibited internationally. The building is a valuable example of regional modernism in a city most noted for its 18th- and 19th-century architecture.

More than 50 years later, the elevated form proved highly effective in protecting the Phillis Wheatley Elementary School from the floods of Hurricane Katrina. Since the hurricane, the Orleans Parish School Board has shuttered the building, and decay and vandalism have taken their toll on this striking statement of modern design. Demolition of the edifice to construct a new school has been proposed, and Docomomo-Louisiana has countered this proposal by suggesting an adaptive reuse of the building as a community center. This alternative to demolition would raise public awareness of an architectural gem unique to New Orleans and encourage community building in an area still recovering from disaster."


"Cascading down the eastern flank of the Cordillera Central mountain range in the heart of Luzon, hundreds of man-made terraces stand testament to the cooperative spirit and ingenuity of a people who settled and thrived in this rugged environment. Facing limited land and soil resources, these early inhabitants developed four terrace complexes during the 16th century for the cultivation of rice. Today, these structures are still heralded as some of the world’s best examples of soil conservation technology. For the indigenous Ifugao peoples who maintained them throughout the centuries, the terraces symbolize the survival of their distinctive cultural legacy.

This majestic cultural landscape was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1995, and in 2001, it was placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger due to physical deterioration and loss of the site’s cultural underpinnings. The terraces continue to face decreasing use and are now threatened by wide-scale abandonment. The rice terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras underscore the challenge of conserving a once-dynamic environment that has lost both its primary function for agricultural productivity and the people who have traditionally maintained it as they leave the region to pursue other employment opportunities. These situations require innovative approaches to preserve the community as well as the historic landscape and related man-made structures."

Source: World Monuments Fund 2010 Watch List

Photo credits: © 2009 World Monuments Fund. Copyright controlled.


Post a Comment

<< Home