Monday, June 1, 2009

The destruction of Iroquois Middle School

A very beautiful school from the 1920's is being torn down across the street from my house. The old Ottawa Hills High School (and later Iroquois Middle School) was an architecturally significant school. It was built at great cost and to last much longer than the 80 or so years than it was in use. 

More importantly, it was designed in a similar vernacular to the unique brick homes of the that era that comprise the Ottawa Hills Neighborhood. Together, this school structure and the surrounding homes were a perfect design compliment to the other...they worked in unison.

Unfortunately, the design of the new school that is slated to replace it is an example of the low budget, low material cost, suburban school design. Visually the new school would fit much better into a newer community like Rockford, Caledonia, Byron Center; places that have seen explosive school growth with brand new homes, brand new roads and brand new strip other words...any place other than the historic neighborhood of Ottawa Hills.

It's very sad to see such a beautiful building being torn to bits each day. It is sadder still to live across the street from a prime example of how our culture doesn't value our past or the historic structures that provide an identity to our Present and give Future generations an idea of who we were in the Past and where we came from.

I believe in architecture and the power of GOOD design (good design is not inherently expensive). Not enough was done to save a small portion of the standing building.


Joe Milanowski said...

Amen, man, amen.

Google said...

Those photos break my heart.

Roberta said...

Lovely, sad images. I'm glad you were there to record it.

Anonymous said...

I honestly believe the school construction industry is driven by how much more money can be made by building new and a mentality that new=better when it comes to education construction. Consultants in this realm tend toward recommending large, undeveloped tracts of land as opposed to reuse of smaller plots or rehabbing old buildings. They cite industry norms and standards that they create and perpetuate.
In the case of Ottawa Hills, I'm glad they're keeping a school in the neighborhood, but the rationale for the building not being capable of refurbishment was thin.

The Luxes said...

Anonymous said...

Did the wrecking company keep the decorative piece of the building? They probably sold them or something.