Anna Marcum creates thoughtful works of architectural history and preservation theory through a multi-disciplinary approach to research, writing, and survey. 

 

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Research

Anna Marcum's extensive and holistic approach to research is the cornerstone of her academic and professional practice. In addition to standard property research, an array of resources are consulted to provide a multi-faceted history of the property.

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writing

An accomplished writer, Anna Marcum has written comprehensive research papers ranging in topic from the preservation of Works Progress Administration murals in public schools to the role of spolia as an indicator of cultural dominance in architecture. 

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survey

Anna Marcum's survey methodology and practices are informed by ample preliminary research and specialized to each individual project. Standard field survey techniques coupled with digital survey methods produce results that provide an unparalleled assessment of the area.

A Modern New Formalist Church with Acadian Influences

 

First Christian Church is a beautifully coherent seminal work of celebrated Louisiana Modernist architect, John Desmond. The Sanctuary and Education Building are perfect examples of Modern architecture as an Acadian iteration of the New Formalism style. Embracing “traditionally rich materials” and classical precedents such as symmetry, New Formalism is present in the design of First Christian Church. The Education Building at First Christian Church is thoughtfully designed at the human scale with nature in mind. The Sanctuary is designed in a cruciform plan evocative of the centuries old European tradition of church-building. While small in scale, the sanctuary possesses a verticality and quality of light reminiscent of Gothic architecture. The Sanctuary and Education Building face an open courtyard and are connected with a white stucco arcade. This feature perfectly embodies the tenants of New Formalism in architecture. First Christian Church is a very early example of New Formalism, especially for a relatively small town in Louisiana such as Hammond. First Christian Church was the first John Desmond building to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. To read the nomination, please click here

 

 
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A Flamboyant Spanish Colonial School featuring a WPA Mural Series

 

Israel M. Augustine Middle School was originally constructed as Samuel J. Peters High School in 1913 by E.A. Christy. and renovated by Christy in 1927 to its present Spanish Colonial appearance. In addition to the building's beautiful balconette, escutcheons, and red tile detailing, the school's grand auditorium houses a series of irreplaceable Works Progress Administration-era murals painted by Leslie Powell and Claire Silber. The school was "mothballed" by the Orleans Parish School Board in 2015 after it failed to sell at auction in 2015 and remains as such. An extensive history of the property and proposal was submitted to the Louisiana Landmarks Society and included on New Orleans' Nine Most Endangered Sites, 2017. To read the proposal, please click here. To view the Louisiana Landmarks Society's complete list of New Orleans' Nine Most Endangered Sites, please click here

 

 
Photo © 2011 Tom Kirsch,  opacity.us

Photo © 2011 Tom Kirsch, opacity.us

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A Survey of Hundreds of Modern Homes Pinpoints 31 Architecturally Significant Modern Residences

 

The Historic New England Modern Residence Survey was conceived with the objective of selecting, locating, and documenting modern residential properties that are significant to the history of modern architecture and possess a high level of architectural integrity with the hope of advocating for the preservation of these homes for generations to come. The properties were to be evaluated in relation to the modern residences in Historic New England’s house museums and easement program. An array residences built between 1930 and 1975 were evaluated in accordance with the following criteria:

  1. residential property designed by an architect whose work is represented in Historic New England collections, either in its archives or as part of the preservation easement program and that:
  2. retains integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association;
  3. has no protective preservation designation (local historic district, other easement protection) currently in place; and
  4. is or appears to be threatened with demolition, subdivision, or insensitive alteration.

Properties not meeting Criterion 1) above, but that are secondarily associated with architects whose work is represented in Historic New England’s collections and otherwise meet Criteria 2)-4) were also considered for outreach, advocacy, and further documentation. Properties that fall outside of the aforementioned criteria but are designed by women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, are examples of vernacular modern architecture, or rare examples of mid-century mass produced homes were also considered to add varied perspectives to the archive at Historic New England. 

To view the survey, please submit an inquiry here

 

 

 

 
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An Analysis of Preservation and Artist-Designed Religious Spaces in Europe and the United States

 

Questions of preservation are approached differently in religious spaces designed by Henri Matisse, Jean Cocteau, Marc Chagall, and Pablo Picasso on the Cote d’Azur in the south of France. In addition, the artist-designed stained glass windows installed in Reims Cathedral in the mid-20th century are a fascinating answer to a horrible preservation dilemma - the loss of the original stained glass windows over decades of conflict and neglect. Preservation methods used in the Rothko Chapel and the Live Oak Friends Meeting House/Skyspace, designed by artist James Turrell in Houston, TX are informed by these European antecedents.  

 
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