Historic Preservation Or 'Architectural Taxidermy'?

<p>A number of historic buildings in Chicago are being preserved -- but only on the outside. Developers have bent the rules of preservation to repurpose historic buildings as parking garages and luxury condos while preserving only their facades.</p>
April 9, 2007, 10am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Today, developers and architects have devised a new way of holding onto the past that makes things far more complex: Instead of preserving an entire building, it keeps only the building's facade, grafting that facade onto a new internal structure, as though it were the skin of a stuffed animal."

"Better to save something than nothing, goes this theory. And while it's true that such projects typically possess the human scale and eye-pleasing decoration rarely found in massive parking garages or bland condominium towers, they still rankle. The reason: They create a stage-set city that treats buildings like two-dimensional wallpaper, not three-dimensional structures. That destroys a building's essence and, at worst, makes a mockery of the very history these exercises purport to respect."

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Published on Sunday, April 8, 2007 in The Chicago Tribune
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