Admin note: This article has not been updated since 2009, the above link is dead, and there is no mention of the Rochester Archipedia on the AIA website. As such, this page has been archived.
AIA Rochester, in collaboration with the Landmark Society of Western New York, is currently updating Carl Schmidt’s book Architecture and Architects of Rochester, N.Y., published by the Rochester Society of Architects in 1959, otherwise know as the ‘Red Book’. If you’re not familiar with this little gem of a book, it’s a compilation of the who’s who in Rochester’s architectural history from the 1800’s to the 1950’s and the important architectural commissions of those eras. Most architectural firms have a copy in their library. The desire for this update came when realizing the numerous Rochester area architects that have practiced since 1959, the major commissions that have followed, and that no documentation existed of either. The Landmark Society, on the cutting edge of historic preservation organizations, is running a concurrent initiative to fulfill their mission to "discover, protect and revitalize" the region's architectural heritage by identifying and promoting the resources of the recent past. The Landmark Society recognizes that structures and landscapes from 1930 to 1970 are the new frontier of our cultural legacy and that these sites need to be acknowledged, interpreted and treasured. Through this survey we will be able to determine what has been lost, what remains and how best to educate the public on the importance of this era of architecture and its role in our shared experience.
Previous surveys have focused on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is now time to begin to expand our knowledge and our definition of "historic" to encompass buildings of the mid-twentieth century. Since Rochester was a fairly early adopter of modern architectural ideas, the area retains several buildings from this period which illustrate characteristics of the early modern International Style, as well as other prominent architectural movements. Modernism represents a new frontier for preservationists. Since each generation seems less appreciative of the styles immediately preceding its own, modern buildings are often under appreciated regardless of quality, and thus threatened by our own time.
At a joint meeting between AIA Rochester and the Landmark Society, it was quickly realized that the two projects have similar goals. An exciting collaboration between the two organizations has resulted in a new web site being launched where individuals can enter information on architects and buildings from these eras. As information is collected from the database it will then be turned into the long awaited update of the ‘Red Book’. The goal of having a new publication available in 2009 for the book's having a website dedicated to viewing this information on line similar to ‘Wikipedia’, except that it will not be editable by the general public. For the time being this initiative will be known as Rochester Archipedia, an enhancement of the 1959 'Red Book'. It will remain online and continue to be updated for future generations as a living document of Rochester’s rich architectural history.
Our goals are to:
Inventory buildings, structures and sites not previously surveyed
Draw attention to overlooked or misunderstood resources
Educate the public about the value of these resources
Recommend and initiate local and/or State and National Register landmark nominations
Create the next generation publication of Carl Schmidt's book Architecture and Architect's of Rochester, N.Y. (commonly known as the "Red Book") published by the Rochester Society of Architects in 1959.
The web site is for information collection. As this project moves forward we look to design and construction professionals alike, historians and the general public for their experience to assist us by participating in this worthwhile endeavor.
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