Historic Hood River
Not Too “Matchy-match?”
Hood River has a Landmarks Review Board to review additions or modifications to historic properties like the Hood River Middle School, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. This is a 1996 Sally Donovan image of a relatively recent addition to the campus which illustrates one of the basic reviews which is conducted before new construction can occur. A review is conducted of the “EXTERIOR design of new construction is to ensure that new construction is compatible with the character of the district or designated historic landmark located on the same parcel.” The US Department of the Interior provides guidelines to help determine compatibility.
The basic idea is an addition should not detract from or clash with the original structure, and it should not pretend to be historic. In this case the facade of this small building uses similar brick materials to the main Hood River High School facade and has a similar profile, but it is smaller, set back, less ornate, and clearly a modern addition. In the words of our city landmarks expert, it’s “not too matchy match.”
I though about our landmarks review process as I watched the French government debate the restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral after the terrible fire in 2019. There were many options proposed (check out this wonderful article to see how architects talk about this subject), but eventually they decided to commission an exact replacement. I cannot imagine how difficult it was to navigate the issues of religion and national identity to come to that conclusion. I am glad I didn’t have to be part of the review of that restoration.