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Bell Labs charrette report available for download

December 26, 2008

bell-labs-watertowerThe long awaited report of the April 2008 charrette exploring the preservation possibilities for Eeero Saarinen’s Bell Labs is complete and available for download. With terrific pictures and graphics, including many of the drawings and sketches produced by the 36 charrette participants during the three-day brainstorming, the report summarizes the group’s efforts to understand what is important and worth preserving, the preservation challenges and constraints, and the future possibilities for the site and building. The publication, as was the charrette itself, is designed to encourage a wider public and private developer discussion about the possibilities for adaptive re-use of the mid-century architectural icon.

The report mirrors the charrette’s brainstorming exercises during the work sessions, as described by charrette facilitator Clinton Andrews: “First, participants asked what is significant about this facility, in part interpreting what neighbors and former occupants had told them. The second section explores the nature of the preservation challenge, identifying constraints that ranged from the technical to the political and economic. The third moves to the realm of solutions, exploring general strategic directions worth pursuing. The fourth zoomed into solutions for particular problematic features, such as the sustainable systems and HVAC, organized along disciplinary lines. In the fifth session, the participants regrouped into multidisciplinary teams, each of which worked on a different adaptive re-use proposal. In the final session, the teams shared their results with all of the participants. This highly efficient process ensured that participants had multiple opportunities to learn from and inspire one another, and led to a set of creative, yet well-grounded proposals for future uses of Bell Labs.”

Download the bell_labs_report (note, the large – 4.5 MG – pdf file may take some time to load)

Kudos to Michael Calafati, AIA and Nina Rappaport, editors of this beautiful publication.

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