Writer, Editor, Stand-Up Comedian

Save President’s House

Posted: July 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Column | 1 Comment »

Press Release from Citizens for Conservation

President's House, part of which has collapsed.

Citizens for Conservation is dismayed that a decision to demolish and re-build The President’s House was made with no reference or input from the Project Architect or the existing consultant team of British Restoration Architects and Engineers, who know the building well and have already made recommendations regarding it’s restoration.

We understand that cost is an issue.

With all due respect…..Restoration Engineering is a SPECIFIC science, and solutions for retrofitting modern buildings DO NOT apply to 134 year old historic buildings in the same way. I am not aware that The Ministry of Works has any such engineering expertise. How then was this decision made? What were the reasons? How can you make such a decision with no expert advice? WHERE ARE THE RESTORATION EXPERTS to properly advise the Minister?

Daily we see how much considerable damage is done to the building fabric of historic Structures by well meaning engineers who apply modern solutions to the restoration of Historic Structures. Was the perceived “too high cost for restoration” based on modern solutions which do not apply to this type of building fabric?

Where is the scientific analysis that shows that the restoration will cost more than a new structure of similar size, style and detailing? Why can’t the collapsed areas be rebuilt with modern technology and the rest of the building restored as is done in other countries? At least something of the original will be kept. There are other solutions that should be explored by restoration experts.

Citizens for Conservation asks that the Minister of Works please defer any such drastic decisions until proper experts are called in.

One of the purposes of restoration is to preserve the building technology of a past era for the education of future Generations. Even if you build a new building in the same style…it DOES NOT qualify as historic. It is simply Disney World, and worth nothing as part of our Historic Architectural legacy.

The Government would do well to use this opportunity to champion the cause of Cultural Heritage and try to reverse the neglect of the last political regime, instead of putting the last nail in the coffin.

Enormous good will can be gained from properly informed intervention.

Citizens for Conservation.

One Comment on “Save President’s House”

  1. 1 lise said at 8:35 am on July 11th, 2010:

    Geoffrey MacLean of Citizens for Conservation sent this message to members of the CfC fb group on July 9: “Minister of Works and Transport, Mr. Jack Warner, has invited three members of Citizens for Conservation, together with a representative of the National Trust and representatives of the Ministry of Works, to be on a Committee to advise the Ministry on matters related to Trinidad and Tobago’s built heritage, particularly related to the preservation of President’s House. The Committee met this afternoon for its first session.”
    We wait to see what happens next.

Leave a Reply