Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Breuer: One more for today

This comes from Susan Millers blog on RealNEO

Breuer Building on World Monuments Watch List

Submitted by Susan Miller on June 6, 2007 - 4:53pm.

The Central Library in Grosse Point Michigan designed by Marcel Breuer made it onto the World's Most Endangered Monuments list for 2008. Here's an except: "Main Street Modern: Buildings of the recent past that lack a consensus on preservation but are considered worth saving by the monuments fund include Paul Rudolph's Riverview High School, built in 1957 in Sarasota, Fla., and Marcel Breuer's Grosse Pointe Public Library, built in 1953 in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich." from the AP today titled, "Warming threatens cultural gems". Yeah, here in Cleveland it is not warming that threatens our Main Street Moderns; it's lack of foresight.

I thought the library had been saved... maybe not... It's caused quite a stir though in the preservation community. Read about it here in the National Trust publication. MAPA is hosting a design charette to SAVE the library.

From an article in the Seattle Post:

"In 2007 the community's library board plans to demolish the Grosse Pointe Central Library and replace it with a newer, bigger structure"

No renovation, no preservation, no restoration just demolition.

If the site doesn't work for the library they should sell it or donate it to a historical society. I can't imagine there isn't another property available in Detroit where they can build their dream home.

The sanity award of the day goes to local architect and member of the historical commission William Hartman who told the library trustees- "that destroying Breuer's library would be a form of cultural illiteracy -- a plundering of the contribution that modernism has made to Michigan"."

Who might get the sanity award in Cleveland if we don't let the county demolish our Breuer Tower? Therein lies the legacy... there is no legacy in destroying a cultural icon. (And, I must add, just after passing a sin tax to fund the arts and culture. Who made Tim and Jimmy the arbiters of taste? Watch out arts community!) More than likely it won't be awarded to our local preservation society. It must go to David Ellison who said tearing down the tower to build a green building is hypocrisy. Right on David! Anyone in elected office listening? The World Monuments Watch has us in the crosshairs. Just salivating waiting for Cleveland to do something right!

Check out the list at World Monuments Fund. Here's an excerpt: "The work of these designers was united by certain core principles, including a departure from traditional forms, the integration of arts and design disciplines, and the use of industrial materials and innovative technologies.

The primary threats faced by Modern architecture are demolition or inappropriate renovations, and the technical challenges of conserving the experimental materials and innovative building systems used in their construction. The greatest threat, however, is perhaps public apathy-a lack of consensus or confidence-that buildings of the recent past can be important enough to be preserved for the future.

It is hoped that this Watch listing will encourage these and other communities (insert Cleveland, Ohio) to consider alternatives to the demolition of these buildings, which are important pieces of American architectural and social history."

What will we see happen to our Breuer? His only high-rise? Sanity or stupidity?