The National Trust for Historic Preservation will present its Preservation Honor Award to the Walter O. Evans Center for African American Studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design. The project is one of 17 award winners to be honored by the National Trust during its 2014 Past Forward National Preservation Conference in Savannah, Ga.
Built in 1856 by enslaved people, a railroad depot in Savannah was a Union stronghold during the Civil War, and later the heart of Savannah’s African American commercial district. Yet by the late 20th century, after decades of neglect, the railroad complex lay in ruins. The Savannah College of Art and Design recognized the neighborhood’s value, and chose to expand in the area. The 82,000 square foot museum, which showcases world-class African American artists, was erected within the footprint of former warehouses. The museum conserves historic material, enlivens a formerly dead streetscape, and reconnects this district with Savannah’s vibrant center.
“While each is unique, this year’s outstanding Honor Award winners all reflect the importance of protecting our nation’s cultural heritage,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Whether it’s the restoration of a center for African American studies in Savannah, or the preservation of the iconic Green Mountain Lookout in Washington state, this year’s Honor Award winners demonstrate how saving places is bolstering local economies and helping preserve the unique fabric of communities throughout the country.”
The award will be presented at the Richard H. Driehaus National Preservation Awards ceremony in Savannah, Ga. on November 13, 2014.
Co-recipients are SCAD Museum of Art; Savannah College of Art and Design; and Sottile & Sottile and Lord Aeck & Sargent Architects in association with Dawson Architects.
The National Preservation Awards are bestowed on distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their communities through preservation of our architectural and cultural heritage. These efforts include citizens’ attempts to save and maintain important landmarks; companies and craftsmen whose work restores the richness of the past; the vision of public officials who support preservation projects and legislation in their communities; and educators and journalists who help Americans understand the value of preservation. The winners of the National Preservation Awards will appear online at www.PreservationNation.org/awards.