I found the readings this week really worked well together to introduce preservation and apply it to areas of Boise that have yet to be preserved. I have always taken for granted the politics behind preservation and the various arguments for or against preservation of various buildings or historic districts; why shouldn’t we just preserve everything? While the readings gave a lot of insight for and against preservation of different historic landmarks I was able to fully understand both sides of the debate.
I read the “Preservation Nation: What’s Endangered in Boise?” blog post first, followed by Historic Preservation, and then reread the blog post (I am usually not this much of an over achiever). On my first read through the blog post I was ready to preserve all eleven things cited for Boise, but after reading the book, I became a little more discriminating. I agreed with the blog that many of the areas seemed to have a lot of history and were worth preserving. However, I struggled to feel any angst about losing the University Inn or the Sambo/Tepanyaki steakhouse. The blog did not give a compelling argument for preserving either, beyond the fact that they were old (University Inn) or that they were unique architecturally (Tepanyaki), which does not seem sufficient.
Historic Preservation also did a great job of articulating the different options for those that wanted to preserve historic buildings or areas. I like the idea of letting a building age naturally without updating this. It reminded me of a hotel in Silver City, ID that still doesn’t have electricity and has not actually been updated since its mining days and I loved seeing the progression it has made in the last hundred years. However, this does not always seem to be a practical solution, so I liked the idea of maintaining the façade of the building but updating the interior. This type of preservation seemed the most applicable to Boise’s downtown area and one the best compromises between history and practical business concerns. Eisenman’s arrow eloquently portrayed this idea of contextualism and historic buildings as moving on a continuum rather than fixed on one spot in time.