Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mid-century Modern: It’s About Time

Seminar by the San Antonio Conservation Society
Friday, May 4, 2012
AIA- San Antonio Center for Architecture
200 East Grayson Street
Located in the Pearl Full Goods Building

Mid-century modern (1930’s to 1970) architecture and design is coming of age in San Antonio. As part of National Preservation Month, the San Antonio Conservation Society is convening a half-day seminar, with optional bus/walking tour, to heighten awareness of this dynamic period in San Antonio’s architectural history. By engaging organizations and institutions with a common interest in this period and with an audience of design professionals, students, and laypersons alike, the goal is to weave the history of mid-twentieth century design into the
tapestry of San Antonio’s past as well as its future.

All events begin at the AIA-San Antonio Center for Architecture. Free parking is available in the Koehler Garage on Level 3 and above. Enter the Pearl complex off East Grayson Street and follow signs to the garage.

From the San Antonio Downtown Blog: Conservation Society opposes demolition of Institute of Texan Cultures, Wood Courthouse

Quoted from a 04/18/2012 post by Benjamin Olivo

"Wreckage — a[nd] lots of it — was on the minds of planners when they were crafting the master plan for HemisFair Park. For better or worse, the document calls for the demolition of the western portion of the Convention Center, and the complete leveling of the John Wood Courthouse and the Institute of Texan Cultures. The new ITC would take up residence near the northwest corner of the park.

On March 21, the San Antonio Conservation Society’s board amended its 2009 stance, and now opposes the demolition of the ITC and courthouse:

In particular we support the retention and rehabilitation of:
• The Tower of the Americas
• The Institute of Texan Cultures
• The Wood Courthouse
Addendum to the San Antonio Conservation Society March 6, 2009 Position Paper on the HemisFair Park Master Plan"

Read more on the San Antonio Downtown Blog

Mathis and Ford Homes: A grand tour for the historic preservation enthusiast

Saturday, May 19th from 10:00am – 1:00pm

Join Villa Finale’s Curator, Meg Nowack, for a grand tour of preservationist Walter Mathis and architect O'Neil Ford’s homes. Ford and Mathis forged a friendship over historic buildings, a shared venture about which they both were very passionate.

The day will begin at 10 a.m. at the front gate of Villa Finale, Mathis’s beloved home in the King William National Historic District, where the group will take a tour of the house and learn about the influence Mathis and Ford had upon each other. After which, Nowack will guide the group down the street to Ford’s former office at 526 King William to view the exterior of the now-private residence. The grand tour will conclude with a drive to O'Neil and Wanda Ford’s fantastic and historic former residence at 7 Willow Way, near the Mission San Jose. The unique house is now the home of native San Antonian and local real estate developer, James Lifshutz, who restored it in 2005. Guests will be provided with drinks and a boxed lunch to enjoy in the intriguing gardens of Willow Way. Lifshutz will conclude the afternoon with an anecdote-filled tour of the Ford estate. What better way to spend a Saturday during Preservation Month!

Space is limited. Admissions must be paid by Friday, May 18th at 12:00pm. Persons signing up by 4:30pm on Thursday, May 17th will have the opportunity to select from one of six boxed lunches to enjoy at O’Neil Ford’s Willow Way. Guests with paid admissions meet at the front gate of Villa Finale, 401 King William Street and drive themselves to Willow Way: directions will be provided. Carpooling is encouraged.

Admission: $50.00 for members of Villa Finale or the National Trust; $60.00 for non-members

All admissions sold at the Villa Finale Visitor Center, 122 Madison Street.

Call (210) 223-9800 for more information or to make your reservation.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

East Austin History Walk and Talk

Thanks to all who joined us on the East Austin History Walk and Talk tour (aka Jane's Walk Tour). There was an excellent turn out, even with the mid-day thunderstorm. The tour was an epic 6 hours with a delicious stop at Casa Colombia.

Our tour guides were Dr. Eliot Tretter and Dr. Fred McGhee. We benefited from their deep knowledge, including Dr. McGhee's expertise as an anthropologist and historian of public housing and Dr. Tretter's research on the history and geography of segregation and neighborhood change. They shared important insights into the history of East Austin, from its early development to the public housing, urban renewal, and planning initiatives that shaped it at the mid-twentieth century and into the recent past. Here is a link to the hefty and in-depth tour packet [pdf] provided by Dr. Tretter. This is the tour map [jpg], which shows stops along our walking route.

The tour was in conjunction with the national network of tours that honor the memory of Jane Jacobs and her fight to preserve the vital neighborhoods of New York City from the ravages of planning efforts that failed to take into account the real lives of the people they claimed to help. On our tour we learned about the complex history of planning in Austin, from progressive efforts to genuinely help low income communities to blatant acts of racism and segregation.

Thank you to Dr. Eliot Tretter, Dr. Fred McGhee, Andrea Roberts (lead tour organizer), Josh Conrad (tour cartographer), and everyone who came on the tour for making this tour a success.

One of the attendees beat us to posting a blog entry. See more on Ryan Pollack's blog entry and Andrea Robert's blog.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Preservation Texas declares April Mod Month!

Preservation Texas recognizes April as Mod Month. Read more about this Texas-wide celebration of modern resources.