Preserving Modern Residential Architecture with Anna Marcum: Part One

This week’s episode is part one of my two-part series with guest Anna Marcum. Anna is an architectural historian and preservationist with an art history background. In this episode Anna and I discuss her graduate research regarding infusing contemporary art with historic places to encourage the upkeep of the space. Additionally, Anna advocates for the preservation of modern residential structures through both her work in California and at Historic New England.

Anna holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Barnard College of Columbia University and a Master of Preservation Studies from Tulane University. During her time at Tulane she was among the first group of students awarded the Ann and Frank Masson Graduate Research Fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to compare an architectural tradition of Europe to an architectural tradition in the United States. Anna used the fellowship to travel and study stained glass in artist designed religious spaces. She compared artist designed chapels in the south of France such as the Matisse Chapel and Jean Cocteau’s Chapelle Saint-Pierre and chapels in the United States such as the James Turrell Skyspace and the Ellsworth Kelly Temple for Light in Texas. She found that infusing contemporary and/or fine art into historic buildings activates them, makes them more adept to site interpretations and incentivizes regular maintenance of the buildings.

As an intern with Historic New England and through her work in California, Anna came to advocate for the preservation of modern residential structures in correlation to the “green” housing movement. Modern residential architecture is the greatest percentage of housing stock in the United States and Anna believes that the greenest house is the one already built. She advocates for more lax preservation guidelines on everyday modern structures to incentivize maintenance and upkeep as opposed to demolition and new construction. New construction materials create pollution and being green isn’t just measured by utility bills. Anna encourages people to lean into the strengths of their historic structures rather than trying to make it something it’s not.

Tune back in in two weeks for the second half of Anna’s episode.

Anna’s Website

Anna’s Instagram

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Regulatory Compliance in Historic Districts with Erika Gates

“It’s connections. It’s putting people together to make things happen.” - Erika Gates

This week I interview historic preservation consultant Erika Gates of Gates Preservation. Erika specializes in regulatory compliance and permitting in historic districts. In this episode we discuss her previous work as a building inspector and how the permitting and regulation process works in historic districts, specifically the French Quarter.

Erika holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Drury University and a Master of Preservation Studies from Tulane University. She is also a licensed tour guide with the city of New Orleans. Erika got her feet wet in the preservation field as a graduate student when she was asked to help research and submit applications for historic tax credits. This allowed her to really familiarize herself with doing preservation work in New Orleans and gave her a leg up in her future work in the compliance field.

After graduate school Erika worked as a building inspector for the Vieux Carre Commission, which is the regulatory body in the French Quarter neighborhood of New Orleans. The VCC oversees all changes made to the buildings in the French Quarter; their area of oversight is basically all parts of a building “that touch the air.” Erika was able to take the knowledge gained in this role and use it to start her own consulting business.

Currently Erika owns her own consulting firm, Gates Preservation. In this role she helps clients with permitting, project management, advocacy and general preservation work including research. She even helps building owners with maintenance consultations, contractor bids and construction oversight. This work requires her to maintain a good relationship with the VCC, the Historic District Landmarks Commission (HDLC) and city hall. In what little spare time she has, she also gives architectural tours and collects vintage items.

Get in touch with Erika:

www.gatespreservation.com

Instagram: @erika_k_gates

Email: esk.gates@gmail.com

Episode 17: Cultural Placemaking with Cynthia Ammerman

“I think we have to move away from planning from the ideal. The idea of placemaking triggers more with myself because placemaking is active.” — Cynthia Ammerman

This week, I talk to Cynthia Ammerman, the principal, historian and preservation strategist at Polis: Cultural Planning.

Cynthia began as a history major at University of Missouri- Kansas City, then took a break from academia to work in real estate for seven years. Her experience as a real estate broker helped her establish an interest in urban studies courses and neighborhood policies. When returning to UMKC to finish her education, Cynthia carved her own path through specific courses and independent study to receive a specialized master’s degree. She laid the framework for something that is now offered at UMKC: a Historic Preservation Certificate.

Cynthia has worked as a Program Development Officer, and Architectural Historian and as an Executive Director of a historical society. All of these positions provided her with valuable experience that she has translated into her job as a consultant.

Nowadays, Cynthia works as principal, historian and preservation strategist at her consulting firm, Polis: Cultural Planning. She places emphasis on active placemaking, rather than traditional planning, and involving people in the heritage of a place. She is also the Executive Director and co-founder of the Kansas City Latin Jazz Orchestra and is heavily involved with preserving the musical history of Kansas City.

Cynthia drives to move the future away from more traditional planning and into harmonious “Polis" planning, which is a Greek word that refers to a sacred place that cannot exist without its people. 

Current projects: Cynthia is getting ready to launch her book: Salsa in the Midwest. She has also been documenting social housing blocks in Chile and working on a National Register Nomination for an armory building in Kansas City.

 

Get in touch with Cynthia:

https://www.polisculturalplanning.com

Instagram: @PolisCulturalPlanning

Email: Polis.Preservation@gmail.com

Episode 16: Design and Preservation with Megan Lord


“The idea of home is very important to me. It’s really how I view preservation, is through residences and houses.” — Megan Lord

This week, I interview Megan Lord, a preservationist and designer from Alexandria, LA, that helped rebuild and restore historic New Orleans after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Megan’s journey with preservation began with years of education at The Savannah College of Art and Design, where she earned her MA in Architectural History and MFA in Preservation. Her experience included studying architectural history in Lacoste, France, where she used hands-on work to shape what would eventually be her career restoring the uniquely French-inspired architecture of New Orleans.

Megan’s passion really shines when she speaks of helping the people of New Orleans recover from the disaster of Katrina by providing a comforting ear to their stories. Through her work with the Historic Building and Recovery Program, she connected families with grants to rebuild their homes, some of which who have been displaced for as long as a decade.

After her work in New Orleans, Megan returned to Alexandria, where she discusses her struggle, where the citizens aren’t quite as experienced with preservation as some other historic districts. Megan found a unique way to combine both preservation and design, to bring modern life into her clients’ homes while maintaining their historical integrity.

“We need to be intentionally planning both new growth and new development, but we also need to be taking care of our historic neighborhoods and historic cities and cores. Both are needed for a healthy city and a healthy building environment.” — Megan Lord

In 2017, Megan was named one of Alexandria’s 20 Under 40 for her work in preservation and as an entrepreneurNowadays, she works as a preservationist and home design consultant with her business Hunt and Gather Home, LLC, where she uses her natural talent for color and style to bring new life into the restored homes of her clients. Her shop Southern Chic, features vintage pieces that Megan finds herself the southern United States made from local and regional artists. 

Get in touch with Megan:

huntandgatherhome.com

Instagram: huntandgatherhome

Facebook: huntandgatherhome

Southern Chic: https://southernchichome.com


Episode 15: Historic Preservation Planning with Russell Archer

In this week’s episode I interview Russell Archer, the Historic Preservation Planner for the city of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Working closely with the Historic Conservation Commission, Russell helps manage the city’s five local historic districts. Russell is an advocate against demolitions and believes strongly in saving as many buildings as possible. He also works closely with the Mississippi Heritage Trust who provide support for preservation projects throughout the state. In a previous position at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Russell worked on the Mississippi Landmark Program listing publicly owned buildings as landmarks.

Episode 14: Advocacy and Planning in Historic Cities with Erin Holmes

In this week’s episode I interview Erin Holmes, the Executive Director of the Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates. Through her role as the Executive Director of the VCPORA and as the previous Advocacy Coordinator for the Preservation Resource Center, Erin fights for the historic integrity of New Orleans; her passion for advocacy shows in her commitment to making the city a better place for both tourists and locals. Erin and I discuss the work the VCPORA does to “maintain the French Quarter as a living, breathing neighborhood in addition to being a major economic driver in the city and state.” On a daily basis the VCPORA contends with issues such as short term rentals and sustainable tourism management.

The VCPORA has accomplished many deeds in it’s 85 year history including saving the Upper Pontalba Building, stopping the construction of the Riverfront Expressway, and helping create the Vieux Carre Commission. They work primarily as an advocacy and neighborhood organization in the French Quarter. The French Quarter is a National Historic Landmark, one of only 2,500 in the country.

Learn more about the Claiborne Overpass or the Riverfront Expressway

More information about short term rentals in New Orleans

Episode 13: Heritage Resource Consulting with Sarah Marsom

In this week’s episode I interview Heritage Resource Consultant Sarah Marsom. Sarah’s works focuses on connecting people to the built environment and promoting preservation to younger generations. Through groups such as the Young Ohio Preservationists and the Rustbelt Coalition of Young Preservationists Sarah brings together young and emerging preservation professionals for events to promote having fun with preservation. Sarah also created the Tiny Activist Project to share the stories of lesser known minority populations “who fought to save cultural resources.” In 2018 the National Trust selected Sarah as one of the 40 Under 40: People Saving Places and awarded her the American Express Aspire Award for her work in preservation. In addition to all her work as a consultant, Sarah was instrumental in the writing process for the third edition of Historic Preservation: An Introduction to it’s History, Principles, and Practice.

Sarah will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Modern Phoenix Week to speak about engaging a new general in preservation and heritage of the built environment. Previously Sarah has spoken at other conferences such as the National Main Street Conference and the Indiana Landmarks Preserving Historic Places Conference.

You can get in touch with Sarah via her website and follow her on Instagram.

Click here for the Tiny Activist Project Instagram

Click here for the Young Ohio Preservationists Instagram

Episode 12: Curating a Historic House Museum with James Wade

In this week’s episode I interview James Wade, curator and architectural historian at Longwood House in Natchez, MS. James talks extensively about the fascinating history of the home which was originally designed by Samuel Sloan for Haller and Julia Nutt. Construction on the house was stopped because of the start of the Civil War and due to the home’s partial completion it faces unique issues when it comes to conservation. In addition to his work as a curator at Longwood, James is currently writing a book about the house. James has written one previous book, The Pitot House: A Landmark on Bayou St. John. At the beginning of 2019 the Historic Natchez Foundation awarded James the George and Ethel Kelly Preservation Award for his work to restore his personal home, the Casey Mallory Townhouse in historic Natchez.

Episode 11: A Conversation with Danielle Del Sol, Executive Director of the Preservation Resource Center

In this week’s episode I interview Danielle Del Sol, the Executive Director of the Preservation Resource Center in New Orleans. We talk about her beginnings with the PRC as an intern writing for Preservation in Print through her being named the Executive Director in 2018. Danielle’s roll oversees programs such as Operation Comeback, Rebuilding Together, and Preservation in Print. Danielle also teaches an advocacy course in the Master of Preservation Studies program at Tulane and helps students pursue internship opportunities. In 2018 she was named one of the National Trust’s 40 Under 40: People Saving Places.

The Preservation Resource Center is a non-profit organization in New Orleans that “promotes the preservation, restoration, and revitalization of New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods.” In addition to the programs listed above, the PRC also maintains a historic easement program for 120 properties, provides training classes, hosts events, and helps with National Register Nominations. Currently the PRC is working with the homeowners in Pontchartrain Park to survey over 800 structures for a National Register nomination. They are also working on project funded by a National Trust Innovation Grant that helps low income property owners make home repairs that meet historic district guidelines. The PRC will be working closely with the Historic District Landmarks Commission to help mitigate homeowner’s fines.

Episode 10: Historic Tax Credits and GIS Mapping with Ashley Gaudlip

In this week’s episode I interview preservationist Ashley Gaudlip about her dual roles as an adjunct professor of GIS mapping and as a tax credit reviewer in the state division for historic preservation (or SHPO) in Louisiana. Ashley goes into detail about Geographic Information Systems (GIS); how they can be used in preservation and how she teaches the course to the students at Tulane. She also discusses the process the SHPO uses to help people qualify for state and national historic tax credits including breaking down the location and submission requirements and how her office reviews the information. Ashley has had a passion for preservation since she was fourteen years old!

You can reach Ashley via email at agaudlip@gmail.com or agaudlip@crt.la.gov or you can call her office at 225-342-7600.

Below are the links to some of the things we discuss in this episode:

ArcGIS

USGS Base Maps

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Cultural Product Districts

419 Carondelet St

Charity Hospital

Frist Art Museum

Episode 9: Revitalizing Historic Schools with James Rolf

In this week’s episode I interview James Rolf, the Director of Planning and Preservation with the Recovery School District in New Orleans. In this position James works to revitalize historic school buildings by increasing and managing historic tax credits, creating preservation briefs for contractors and consulting with architects on major renovation projects. He also serves as a community liaison to inform the public about the programs and objectives of the RSD. In addition to historic tax credits, James also works with the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund which provides financial incentives to revitalize low income communities and he works with new market tax credits when consulting on new construction.

In addition to his work with the RSD, James also completed the restoration of his family’s ancestral home and owns his own preservation company, Rolf Restoration Works, LLC. Rolf Restoration Works is currently working on a project for St. Joseph’s Church and School in Gretna, LA.

For more information on the Association for Preservation Technologies International click here.

Episode 8: Using Digital Archiving to Create a Virtual Library of a Historic District

In this week’s episode I interview Brook Tesler of Tesler Preservation Consulting. Brook talks about creating an online virtual library of a historic collection of over 40,000 images of the French Quarter in New Orleans. The project also includes a website created using GIS mapping that contains images, vital building information and a glossary of terms. The episode contains information on how Brook scanned the 40,000 slides using a high end digital camera attached to a slide carousel and hand entered any details written on the slides. She then used GIS mapping to create an accurate, scale image of all the buildings in the French Quarter and loaded that into a website. In the virtual library you can click on specific buildings and see all the related images and relevant architectural information. The entire project was the brain child of the Vieux Carre Commission Foundation in conjunction with the City of New Orleans.

The website is available here

To read more about the project check out the Advocate article

Brook used Slidesnap to scan the slides and ArcGIS to help build the map of the French Quarter

To learn more about the building that collapsed in the French Quarter check out another Advocate article

Episode 7: Introduction to Materials Conservation with Michelle Duhon

In this week’s episode I interview Michelle Duhon, owner and operator of Bayou Preservation and Southkick LLC. Michelle talks about her work as a technical conservator on projects such as tomb restorations, public art projects and stone repairs. We discuss the use of plaster as a common historic building material and also the types of stones she works with often. She reviews her best practices for creating project bids and working with clients for conservation projects.

For more information about materials conservation check out the Association for Preservation Technology and the American Institute for Conservation.

Michelle’s recommended locations for purchasing plaster materials: Limeworks US and Masonry Products

Episode 6: Preservation and Social Media with Jennifer Graves Hance

In this week’s episode I interview Jennifer Graves Hance, the face behind the popular Instagram account the.preservationist. Jennifer talks about the process she uses to curate her Instagram and how preservationists and preservation organizations can use social media to share information. We also discuss other apps such as The Historic Charleston Foundation’s app that functions like a pocket guide and map to historic sites in Charleston and their two historic house museums. In New Orleans, Tulane University and the University of New Orleans have collaborated to create a similar app called New Orleans Historical, which connects stories of history with locations in the city (place based story telling).

Episode 5: Preservation In Action with Leah Solomon

In this week’s episode I talk with preservationist Leah Solomon. Leah has worked with a variety of preservation organizations including government agencies, non-profits and private companies. We discuss the different ways preservation is used at the organizational level on programs such as Main Street America, Historicorps and local historic districts. Leah currently works for the Preservation Resource Center in New Orleans Louisiana. Visit our resources page for information on the PRC.

For more information about Crosstown Concourse you can visit their website here and the National Trust website has more information on the Driehaus Award awarded to Crosstown Concourse in 2018.

Click here for information on the city of Hammond Historic District.

Click here for information on the city of Madison India.

Episode 4: Preservation Consulting with Kelly Calhoun

In this week’s episode I interview Kelly Calhoun, owner and operator of Calhoun Preservation. Kelly and I discuss several topics related to preservation consulting including building surveys, National Register nominations and tax credits. Kelly is a fountain of knowledge and she shares a lot of it with us in this episode.

Make sure to check out our resources page for links to organizations we talk about a lot on the podcast!

Kelly’s Website

Kelly’s Instagram

Episode 3: Writing, Research, and Cemeteries with Heather Veneziano

On this week’s episode I interview Heather Veneziano, owner and operator of Gambrel and Peak historic preservation firm. In this episode I chat with Heather about several of her projects including her work with The Association for Gravestone Studies. Heather also discusses her involvement in the writing process of Gateway to New Orleans: Bayou St John 1708-2018 as well as other writing projects. Heather’s work focuses on traditional materials crafts and cultural heritage environments.

You can find Heather’s preservation work here: Gambrel and Peak

Heather’s Instagram

Episode 1: Sarah Myers of Verdigris Preservation

Welcome to the first episode of Preservation Destination. This podcast was created for professionals and non-professionals alike who are interested in the preservation of the built environment. We will discuss everything from historic homes and buildings to cemeteries and monuments so stay tuned for future episodes.

In today’s episode I interview Sarah Myers, owner and operator of Verdigris Preservation. We discuss her speciality, historic window restorations, along with some of the unique challenges she faces doing her work in New Orleans. If you'd like to find out more information about the Window Preservation Standards Collaborative that Sarah discussed you can visit their website here.               

Verdigris Preservation on Facebook

Verdigris Preservation on Instagram