Making the past work for us today.

I really like the idea of transforming old, defunct buildings and structures into new practical and forward looking spaces, much like Union Station in St. Louis. It made me think of Trolley Square in Salt Lake City. P.s. There are some great images here, and it seems like a pretty smart way to display high quality photos. Simple but smart.

Turns out that I am actually into facadism, I like the idea of maintaining an aesthetic integrity and historic quality, while updating a building’s utility. I loved the work done in Boise not too long ago, when the south 8th Street (BoDo) historical district was updated. But I don’t know if I’m that into the bureacracy, “land use law”, zoning, government regulation . . . sound like a lot of technical writing. Not really my idea of a good time, but that’s just me. Historic Preservation (Tyler, et al, 2009) explains just how many hoops surround the whole preservation vs. development issue. I’m glad there are people out there who do this stuff. Who knows, maybe I could end up being one of them?

For me, I am interested in the ideas surrounding “landmarks” and “heritage” and how it changes meaning over time. What is interesting to me is how these struggles represent cultural values, why certain locations and artifacts have special meaning, and how these set of values are used in the conceptual struggle between “public” and “private”. This stuff is hard to wrap my head around. But walking around downtown I have begun noticing the aesthetic integrity of some of our downtown blocks. I’ve noticed that they tend to maintain an average height, the ‘tall’ buildings tend to be the flashy ones like the Idanha and Adelmann buildings, or completely modern. I think it’s a nice mix. Here is my favorite photo that expresses those sentiments.
p.s. I know the author and have permission to post this here.

So just for good measure, I thought I should share my favorite facade ever, the remnants of the library at Ephesus in modern Turkey. It is supposed to have been quite like the library at Alexandria in design and size, being second only to the more famous of the two. I wonder what kind of legal and practical work it takes to keep this thing standing in good condition? Who oversees it? I’ve never checked, maybe I will. I wonder if they could ever build it onto something, or would I prefer to see it in its humble remains? I don’t know, I’m officially on the fence on this one.

3 thoughts on “Making the past work for us today.”

  1. Thanks for posting the link to Boise’s 8th Street historic district. I enjoyed exploring the whole webpage of Boise historic districts and learning a bit more about them. This is a great feature for a city website to have–especially so that non-native Boiseans like me can learn about the city’s history since I haven’t grown up hearing about it!

    1. I had a lot of fun poking around too. To be honest, I was not very optimistic about doing Boise history (I think I may have had the big-city, old-history, star-struck sort of syndrome–I want to do BIG, not Boise). But I am officially over that. While I’ve been digging around for our projects I have found a lot of really cool Boise history. If you liked that stuff on 8th street, then I think you will really like this site

      Our group project is going to benefit from the work that was done here, there are a lot of maps (I love maps!), and pictures that I hope to incorporate in our history of the River Street neighborhood. Turns out there is a lot of cool Boise history, and it is really cool that I will have the privilege to gather so much of this work being done and develop it into my own kind of comprehensive history.

  2. I love the historic districts site. I agree that it is a great tool and resource for the city to have. I hope that more neighborhoods and districts are added in the future.

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