A Glimpse into the Historical Preservation Research of the Pocantico Fellows

  • Edgar Garcia working inside the Breuer House. (Photo: Edgar Garcia)
  • 1960 architect's sketch of Lincoln Center. (Courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center)

Each year, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the National Trust for Historic Preservation host a scholar at the Marcel Breuer House for a two-week residency to work on a project in the field of historic preservation. Applications for the summer 2017 fellowship are open until March 31.

Colleen Danz of the National Trust recently interviewed the 2015 fellow, Adrian Scott Fine, director of advocacy for the Los Angeles Conservancy, and Edgar Garcia, arts and culture deputy for the City of Los Angeles, who was the 2016 fellow.

Fine’s project, “Preserving Urban Renewal’s Modern Legacy” led him to reexamine and learn from projects that were, and sometimes remain, controversial. He said that preservationists “are at a critical point now as many urban renewal–era places turn 50 years old. Increasingly, they are at risk and being lost. While, more likely than not, urban renewal–era places evoke deeply hurtful histories, those memories may actually be the reasons they matter and connect with people today.” In addition to site visits and research in nearby communities in Connecticut and New York, Fine discussed the complex history and present-day impact of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, a project shepherded by John D. Rockefeller 3rd that had “originated through massive displacement and demolition of a vibrant and tight‐knit neighborhood.”

For “Chicano Architecture,” Garcia researched the architecture and built environment of Southern California and the work of Latinos to explore an evolving Mexican-American aesthetic present. He noted that although “the stately architecture of the Pocantico Center and the Hudson Valley landscape had little to do with the East Los Angeles urbanscapes of my research project, it was precisely their differences that allowed me to assess my subject matter more objectively.” He also realized an unexpected connection between the public art murals featured in his studies and the art collection of Nelson Rockefeller, who had a lifelong interest in the art of Latin America.

Read more:

Savingplaces.org: Two Weeks at the Marcel Breuer House: Pocantico Fellows Reflect On their Experiences (March 17, 2017)