August 2, 2014

Mississippi Architect to Argue that Historical Identity is Key Goal in Architecture

Glowing sunset over Old Havana, Cuba, shows the country's preservation challenge (Photo by Howorth)

A noted southern architect is coming north to Essex, Connecticut, to urge that his profession, as well as its clients, should not forget preservation, or as he calls it “historical identity,” in architectural design.

Tom Howorth, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, will make the case for preservation in architecture at the Essex Town Hall on June 1 at 7:00 p.m. His talk is a program of the Essex Library, and it is sponsored by Essex-based Centerbrook Architects.  Attendance at the program is free.

As those attending Howorth’s talk will learn, he decidedly does not belong to the “tear down and build it new” school in architecture. In fact, he is a stalwart in preserving “cultural identity” in our modern era of gentrification.

Nothing left but an Old Havana building facade, which perhaps could be preserved (Photo by Howorth)

Of particular interest to the audience will be Howorth’s photographs of the “historical identity” challenges that will be confront the country of Cuba, if and when Cuba is open to trade with U.S. architectural firms.  Under the present U.S. embargo, an architectural firm, such as, Howorth & Associates Architects, could not even draft construction plans, much less supervise their effectuation, in a preservation/ historical identity project in Old Havana.

Some have noted that many U.S. architects are “salivating” to engage in historical building and reconstruction projects in Old Havana and in other areas of Cuba. For the present, however, it is not to be.

Howorth has not only studied candidates for preservation on site in Cuba, he also has as an interest in preservation/gentrification possibilities in China, which he has also visited.

The coordinator of the Essex Library’s architectural programs is the Library’s Head of Adult Services, Ann Thompson.

A high rise in Hutong, China, with the new and the old together (Photo by Howorth)