Walter Sedovic and Jill H. Gotthelf: Modern Codes Meet Mid-Century Modern
CRP 2015 Spring Colloquium Series
Walter Sedovic, FAIA, LEED, has dedicated his career to sustainable preservation, environmental design, and holistic planning. His work and firm represent the vanguard of infusing heritage sites with sustainable building approaches and ideologies through a deep understanding of the original resource. He is accomplished at refining heritage sites to be models of performance, code compliance, and resiliency — especially in the arena of new international codes — respecting original design intent, and the myriad intrinsic benefits and nuances often overlooked or, worse, discarded. His firm has won numerous preservation awards, including the nation’s first for restoration of historic infrastructure.
Jill H. Gotthelf, AIA, FAPT, principal at Walter Sedovic Architects, pioneers approaches that result in outstanding successes, as reflected in the signature 20-year restoration of Eldridge Street Synagogue on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Upon its completion, renowned architectural critic Paul Goldberger cited it as one of the year's 10 most influential projects in the world. Under her guidance as both founding member and chair, APT's Technical Committee on Sustainable Preservation has become a preeminent resource for collecting and disseminating cutting-edge philosophy, technology, and tools for the preservation community.
In context — following World War II — Mid-Century Modern reflects a period of national expansion, space discovery, cheap energy, and a palette of new building materials and systems that brought Eisenhower's famed "military-industrial complex" to the doorstep of historic city centers and nascent suburbs alike.
For preservation professionals, Modernist structures provide a potent laboratory illuminating issues relating to authenticity, maintenance, resiliency, code compliance, material science, and sustainability. It is incumbent on us to determine both why modern building systems fail, and critical that the often brilliant innovations of Modernism not be discarded simply because they are misunderstood, untested, or have incorporated components that have deteriorated but are readily renewed.