Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Is Santa visiting your house this Christmas?

Happy Holidays!!

“It's the most wonderful time of the year …with the kids jingle-belling, and everyone telling you "Be of good cheer…"

This being the most wonderful time of year got me thinking about Santa. Kids believe Santa climbs down the chimney, but how can he do that without a fireplace? See, there is another great benefit of living in a historic house. Your kids can actually believe you. (So while preservation may be the most sustainable and green way of living, it’s all the little details of historic properties make the experience even more enriching!)

A lot of activities and end-of-the-year celebrations are happening at The Landmark Society, along with planning for some incredible things to come in 2010. We would like to thank all of our members, readers, supporters, fans and friends for their generosity and interest. It is only because of you all that we are able to do such great work and be an important resource for our community. We wish you all very happy holidays!

Image source: Angela Wyant/Getty Images

Posted by Nimisha Thakur, Preservation Associate

Thursday, December 3, 2009

How's THIS for adaptive reuse

The most beautiful, um, Pizza Hut?

I came across this article via the National Trust for Historic Preservation's press room (a fantastic place to get daily preservation news, btw...) and had to share.

So without further ado, I offer you...The Most Beautiful Pizza Hut in the World

I offer no pithy prose, just a "wow, ain't this cool" moment to share. Just goes to show that innovative adaptive reuse can be found in the strangest of places. Consider the unique dining experience this Pizza Hut offers over its other cookie-cutter locales. And, most importantly, what could you do in your town?

Smart. Sustainable and smart. And gorgeous. Enjoy the read.

(photo by Annie Scott from gadling.com)

posted by Laura Keeney Zavala, Director of Marketing


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Times Square Building in the spotlight

I am lucky enough to have a window in my office that offers a view of the magnificent Wings of Progress atop the Times Square Building in downtown Rochester. On a sunny day like today, they are quite a sight to behold (and would be better still if not partially blocked by the Public Safety Building - oh well!).

The cornerstone for the Times Square Building was laid on October 29, 1929, the day of the stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression. Despite its inauspicious beginning, the Times Square Building, then the tallest skyscraper in downtown Rochester (and second-tallest building in the city after Kodak Tower), became the most distinctive element in our skyline. Its architect, Ralph T. Walker, got his inspiration for the wings from seashells he set together on edge at the beach. He noted that they suggested "a sense of flight ... a sense of upward lift," a perfect metaphor for the new possibilities created by the early-twentieth century skyscraper.

Stone carvings on the building, also in the Art Deco style, depict motifs like Security and Trust (apt for what was originally the home of the Genesee Valley Trust bank). A mural in the main banking hall by Carl Peters depicted the historical development of Rochester and its 1930 skyline. The interior was designed to be modern, yet conservative, conveying the bank's stability.

The building began attracting attention in architectural circles before its completion, and remains widely admired today. Its fans include a blogger from Australia who is a fan of Art Deco architecture and featured it in a post today. (Along with a nice link to our walking tour - thanks!)

In addition to our admiration for the building, we at The Landmark Society can claim a special connection to the building: our trustee and incoming board president, Henry Williams, is descended from one of the bank's vice presidents who presided over the opening of the building in September 1930.

Posted by Katie Eggers Comeau, Director of Preservation Services