Addressing the Next Generation of Historic Resources – Modern + Recent Past Architecture

Methodist Temple, Ralph Legeman, 1950

Methodist Temple, Ralph Legeman, 1950

The task of architectural documentation and assessment is the product of an ever-evolving field that, with the passage of time, must constantly take new periods and types of resources into consideration. Even now, resources from the Modern era have largely come into their own, with resources from the early 1960s readily meeting the 50-year threshold widely accepted as the standard for environmental review. Over the next decade, hundreds of thousands of other resources built during the 1960s and 1970s will likewise turn 50 years old and will have to be documented and evaluated for environmental review. These resources require a vast skill set, from completing historical research to properly photographing and documenting within their context.

Harper Elementary School, Ralph Legeman, 1952

Harper Elementary School, Ralph Legeman, 1952

For many, the array of resources resulting from our recent heritage remains an enigma and a challenge to document and assess. For Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc. (CRA), however, the task is readily approachable, and CRA is one of the few firms nationwide with in-house expertise on documenting and evaluating these resources. Members of the CRA team have been at the forefront of documenting and assessing Modern and Recent Past (broadly defined as places that are less than 50 years old) architectural resources. Indeed, the expertise of CRA’s staff reflects local, regional, and national experience in engaging the practice of identifying, documenting, and assessing resources from these periods.

Over the next week, we’ll take a look at various projects completed by Alan Higgins, CRA’s Director of Architectural and Cultural History, who has completed comprehensive context studies for Modern and Recent Past places, developed architectural styles guides and building typologies, led a national organization dedicated to Modern resources, and presented his work at the local, regional, and national levels.

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