Thursday, August 21, 2014

Field Trip: FACADOMY

On a recent trip to Washington, D.C. for the Society of American Archivists annual meeting, I came across 2310 Connecticut Avenue Northwest, within the Sheridan-Kalorama Historic District.  The steel-braced facade is all that remains of a 1920's apartment building designed by Stern & Tomlinson. It will be reused as part of a new 130-unit apartment to house Chinese Embassy workers.

This approach to preservation is often referred to as "facadectomy" and the associated trend is called "facadomy." For those interested in preservation theory and the economics of preservation, the topic frequently inspires a passionate response. Many North American municipalities are reporting record numbers of facadectomies post-2008; these include Toronto, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.  The FB Amercan Facadomy Group regularly posts images of such projects and  Place Economics' Donovan Rypkema has addressed the trend in numerous interviews.

Image above:  K. Rylance. 2310 Connecticut Avenue NW. Washington, DC.  14 August 2014. 

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