Sunday, January 07, 2007

Stupidest Idea Yet

Today's Republican-American ran an article about the city hall building, written by D.A. Narducci III, an architect from Southbury. He proposes a partial demolition of the building, keeping the front courtyard, the front facade and the clock tower, and replacing everything else with a big box office building. His plan would reinstall certain interior elements, but replace most of the building with generic modern construction.

Is he a total idiot, or was this supposed to be sarcasm? You can't save just parts of the building and then reconstruct the rest. That's probably more expensive than a straight-forward restoration, and it is in direct conflict with restoration. If a building is worth restoring, you restore the entire building, maintaining its integrity. What he's proposing is, in fact, a total demolition with decorative bits and pieces of the original building tacked onto the new building.

Narducci's plan would require the city to hire an architect to review the costs and feasibility of the plan. Narducci is an architect. Is his article an effort to get the city to hire him?

I can't believe the newspaper ran this article, and I can't believe they ran it as a major piece in the Sunday Commentary. It's probably going to add a full month of debate to the issue, because at least one alderman is going to read it and think it's a good idea.


Rebecca said...

I know of someplace that actually did this to "save" a historic structure. The County Courthouse in Clarksville, TN is built on one of the tallest hills in town. Each time they have built the courthouse on this spot a tornado has blown it to bits. After the last time - in 1999 - the city decided to save the facade and build a modern builing inside of it. And of course it is still on the stupid hill ready to get blown to bits by the next storm that comes along.

I moved to Clarksville after the decision was made - but I have to say most of the museum staff and the historians in the neigborhood were of mixed opinoin about the whole thing.

That some idiot talked people into it in Clarksville is beyond crazy to me. That someone even jokingly said they wanted to do it in Waterbury is hidious at best. I hope poeple listen to you and take up the cause not to desiscrate such a beautiful structure.

Keep up the good fight!

dnarducci said...

The following comments are made regarding the Jan 07 "Stupidest Idea Ever" posting. Having only discovered this site recently, my comments are late.

1. The idea of saving the facade of a building, as part of the design concept for the preservation/restoration of an old building, is not new. In fact, it has been successfully applied many times. For a local example, I recommend you examine New Haven's City Hall. Preservation of the historic facade was integral to the project, which included construction of an adjacent 6-story structure.

2. Simply put, it is naive to believe that Waterbury City Hall should be renovated to recreate its EXACT, TRUE ORIGINAL DESIGN AND FINISH CONDITION. Such a building, while being beautiful, would be non-functional in today's world for numerous reasons. Read my article again and you can learn why.

3. If you wonder why capable, experienced professionals don't step forward more often and offer opinions and ideas, pro bono, for the betterment of the community, I'll tell you. Often, their ideas are not met with the thoughtful, critical analysis that any true professional welcomes and expects. Instead, they are met with ignorant comments bundled with innuendos that attack the professional's integrity and intent.

4. Lastly, with regard to the realm of architectural design....If ignorance is bliss, then the Waterbury Girl must be in ecstasy.

D.A. Narducci III, Architect