Wednesday, December 11, 2013

1919 House Surgery

In December 1919, the local monthly Building Review -- which was published from the Whitney-Central Building and edited by local architect Morgan D.E. Hite -- reported on Hooverizing real estate:

"Henry J. Davison of New York calls it 'House Surgery,' describes it as Hooverizing applied to real estate but with the difference that this form of Hooverizing means conservation rather than self-denial.

'House Surgery, which applies to any building, be it an office or home, is the modern protest against waste. It is converting a liability into an asset. It is converting distortion into proportion, the antiquated and almost useless into the useful, discomfort into comfort, ugliness into beauty. It is Hooverism applied to real estate, but the term should not be misunderstood. By Hooverism is not meant sacrifice, but only the conservation of good material. The world is sick of destruction. Why tear down when one can alter? Many a piece of land to-day is cursed by the building upon it. By modicum of change, the distortion of such a building can be turned into beautiful lines of proportion, and the useless can be made useful as well as ornamental, and in so doing the value of the land and entire property increased a hundred per cent or more in value.

'The desire has always been for something brand new, as though there were a virtue in newness. It is strange that it took the world's greatest catastrophe to teach America, the most wasteful of nations, the schoolboy copybook lesson that a penny saved is a penny earned, and that economy is not meanness. It is in this new spirit that the significance and permanence of "house surgery" rests.'"

Building Review 8:12 (December 1919): p. 12. Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

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