Sometimes, the Better Alternative Is Not to Build New Things

Studio One Eleven converted underutilized retail into their creative work space, for 135 employees; adjacent local and crafted retail can now better flourish. The project spurred the city of Long Beach to rejuvenate Harvey Milk Park, allow for multiple street decks for outdoor dining, and encouraged several high-quality public art installations by POW! WOW!.. Image Courtesy of Los Angeles County Public Library

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

My first encounter with saving a building landed me in handcuffs and a trip to the Long Beach Police Department. A friend and I were frustrated that our hometown was demolishing good buildings—because they did not conform with the current style of architecture—only to replace them with parking lots! All in the name of “progress.” In 1988, when we learned that the Jergins Trust Building, a Beaux-Arts beauty, was slated to be torn down with no plans for the site, we jumped into action and chained ourselves to the building to stop the wrecking crew. Our efforts kept it up for another four hours. And then it was gone forever.

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