Monday, May 12, 2008

Park Central Square Provenance

No claim was made that City told Tim Rosenbury of Butler Rosenbury & Partners, Inc. not to research famous landscape designer Lawrence Halprin's involvement in design of Park Central Square

At another local blog, a quote from Charles A. Birnbaum, president of the Cultural Landmark Foundation, was discussed and responded to by local architect Tim Rosenbury, of Butler Rosenbury & Partners. For a refresher, here is the direct quote from Mr. Birnbaum as published in the Community Free Press and at this blog:

“In my conversation with Tim Rosenbury back in early February, he noted that, in his initial presentation to the city, his firm raised the question of Mr. Halprin’s involvement. Rosenbury noted that the city suggested provenance was not a significant consideration and he was dissuaded from researching any Halprin involvement.”

A question posed by the local blogger led Mr. Rosenbury to make a statement that nobody from the city had told him to NOT look into the provenance of the square as relates to famous architect Lawrence Halprin, so I felt it was my duty to point out, as the writer of the article to which the blogger referred, that Mr. Birnbaum never made the claim that the city HAD told him not to look into Mr. Halprin's involvement or the significance of his role in the design of the square.

Mr. Birnbaum never made the suggestion that anyone from the city of Springfield had told Rosenbury or his design firm not to look into Halprin's involvement in Park Central Square's design and neither did CFP.

Rosenbury clearly let the city know that Halprin's involvement may be of some significance:

At the special Council meeting in February, Rosenbury told the Council, “…during the presentation that we made to the selection committee we had a slide of another square that Halprin designed in Portland and we made the point that that may be of some significance.”

In a strawman sort of way, Rosenbury's answer could be interpreted that Mr. Birnbaum had said that Rosenbury had told him someone from the city expressly told him not to research any Halprin involvement, possibly giving the impression that Birnbaum was lying, but that is not what the president of the Cultural Landscape Foundation said at all .

Mr. Birnbaum stated that Rosenbury told him "he was dissuaded from researching any Halprin involvement."

My interpretation (assumption) would be that the lack of interest on the part of the city in the provenance of the square was enough to dissuade Rosenbury from further research regarding Halprin's involvement in the square design, but Birnbaum didn't expressly indicate why Rosenbury was dissuaded, therefore we don't really know why he and his firm were dissuaded from further research on Halprin involvement and the blogger didn't bother to ask that question.

For clarification, the question CFP asked was:

Did Springfield Consider Provenance of Park Central Square Before Acting?

I'm not sure we have yet received a clear answer to that question. Mr. Birnbaum claimed: "Rosenbury noted that the city suggested provenance was not a significant consideration," and that is all that Mr. Birnbaum claimed to know about the city's interest in the provenance of the square as reported in CFP.

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