Monday, February 9, 2009

1316 Rear P Street Naylor Court Replacement Stable

1863 stable destroyed July 2008

Replacement stable 2009

John Ruskin wrote the following in "The Seven Lamps of Architecture" (George Allen and Unwin Ltd 1925, Chapter VI, aphorism 31, pp 353-354). His words are as relevant today as it was 80 years ago. Perhaps even more so.

"Neither by the public, nor by those who have the care of public monuments, is the true meaning of the word restoration [meaning the reconstruction, whether total or partial, suggested by revivalism] understood. It means the most total destruction which a building can suffer: a destruction out of which no remnants can be gathered: a destruction accompanied with a false description of the thing destroyed. Do not let us deceive ourselves in this important matter; it is impossible, as it is impossible to raise the dead, to restore [meaning reconstruct] anything that has ever been great or beautiful in architecture. That which I have above insisted upon as the life of the whole, that spirit which is given only by the hand and eye of the workman, can never be recalled. Another spirit may be given by another time, and it is then a new building; but the spirit of the dead workman cannot be summoned up and commanded to direct other hands and other thoughts."
(quoted in Preservation and Conservation Principles and Practices - Proceedings of the North American International Regional Conference - September 10th - 16th 1972.)


IMGoph said...

it reminds me of the hideous pop-up at 26 P street NE.

stable preservationist said...

That is one example of why there is consideration of designating the entire city as "historic" so that there will no longer be artificial boundaries created by either community or political pressures. I agree with your comment and was also reminded of that excrescence!

tonysmallframe said...

The worst part is that the structure is already sagging. When Rebecca and I walked by it a couple days ago, the left side is surely higher than the right, and the floor directly above the "garage" door has a noticeable bow in the middle.