Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Caveats Continue - Interpreting Dixie Brewery's Fate

The VA has responded publicly to a December 6, 2010 article in The Louisiana Weekly which announced that the state and other developing parties had plans to demolish the historic Dixie Brewery.

I've been covering the developments surrounding Dixie and the uncertainty that continues to shroud the landmark building here at Inside the Footprint for some time.

While it's good to see the VA stating strongly that the report of planned demolition is erroneous, it's important to look at what is actually being said in the VA's public attempt to rebut the report:

Historic elements of the Dixie Brewery building are incorporated into the design of the research facility (as you can see in the rendering at right). However, VA has yet to gain access to assess the building's structural integrity. If it is not possible to rehabilitate the structure, we will integrate significant features of the historic building in the design of the new VA medical center.

I continue to wonder precisely what that means.  So, "historic elements" of the Dixie Brewery are incorporated into the design - you can see in the image that the entirety of the brick corner tower and dome seem to be present.  That's followed by a "however" - so it's not certain that what we see in the picture will actually come to be. 

Then we see the hinge - "if it is not possible to rehabilitate the structure" - seemingly meaning if VA can't save the brick portion that it shows in the picture, the part it wants to save....then VA will "integrate significant features of the historic building in the design of the new VA medical center."

Does that mean that we ultimately may only see VA put, say, the big green Dixie letters in a corridor in the new facility?  While slightly opaque, the language suggests that there is a difference between the ideal - "historic elements" being incorporated - versus a fallback result - "significant features" being worked into the design.

If you have a different interpretation, please do leave a note in the comments.

For now, while the piece in The Louisiana Weekly may not have been entirely accurate, it seemed to be on to something: we still really don't know how the fate of the Dixie Brewery will play out.

1 comment:

ardecila said...

The VA's comments are about structural integrity, not the appearance per se. If the corner brick portion is unsound, then the VA will be required to either reinforce or reconstruct it, since they can't leave an unsafe building standing. That process may require alterations to the historic appearance in order to accommodate the modern structural system behind it.

I'm sure we won't get the kind of castration you're talking about.