When it comes to new additions on old buildings, historic preservationists skew into two camps: (1) that the addition should look similar to the historic building, and (2) that the should addition look different. It is a continuum, of course, and many people may find they stand somewhere in the middle. Additions should be compatible with the historic building without pretending to be historic themselves and conveying a false history.
I came across this fun interpretation of this dilemma in Springfield and had to share. It draws the element of the column for the historic building but holds no pretenses: it is of a different era. The honesty of it, combined with the nod to history, is refreshing without being extreme (hello Royal Ontario Museum! And don’t forget Soldier Field, whose National Register status was promptly revoked following their controversial addition–I previously wrote about that here).
I was lucky enough to attend a talk recently by Mike Jackson, former Illinois State Historic Preservation Officer. It turns out he has a whole Pinterest board of examples (definitely worth a peruse) and, while many in the audience gasped in horror as he put examples on the screen, I found the artistry and creativity of some of the examples to be at once entertaining and inspiring. In my own town, maybe I would feel differently. But why not embrace creativity and artistry and not let yourself be hemmed in by history? In the end, if the historic building remains intact, it is a preservation success.
Where do you stand? Should additions match, look very different, or fall somewhere in the middle?