Heritage Redefined: Post-Preservation and the Historic Ford Center
Post-preservation is an art historical theory which I have defined that deals with
issues related to an evolved state of preservation; one that deals with the adaptive reuse and modernization of historic buildings, issues related to tax credits, economic feasibility, sustainability, and community revitalization. Post-Preservation is defined by its duality, serving as an impetus for urban renewal through the conservation of historic buildings. The old character of the building remains yet new life is breathed into it through contemporary design and technology, transforming it into an aesthetically appealing and optimally utilitarian space, ensuring its longevity for decades to come. The historic Ford Center in Minneapolis – originally designed as a Model T factory and showroom in 1912 by Frederick Kees and Serenus Colburn and renovated by Hammel Green & Abrahamson in 2010 – is an excellent example of post-preservation. The original exterior was restored to its turn-of-the-century glory, and the interior features cutting edge design and the latest in green technology.
Through examining the history, context, and transformation of the Ford Center, I will make the claim that the rehabilitation of the Ford Center encompasses a highly functioning synergy between old and new that is redefining the timeless, classic aesthetic as progressive, dynamic and sustainable and can be characterized as part of a broader movement. In an era consumed by new development and a fixation on the future, to retain architectural heritage that is grounded in authenticity and permanence is so important to the evolving fabric of modern communities.