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||New Orleans, LA
|St. Francis Cabrini
||I lived very close to the old Holy Cross campus and can tell you through experience that, while Holy Cross talks the talk and talks it well, I always thought its commitment to neigborhood revitalization was fairly shallow. Maybe that's ok - after all, their primary mission is to educate young men. But anyone who thinks that Holy Cross's presence will - by definition - mean a commitment to the community that hosts it is, I believe, sadly mistaken. Holy Cross has, according to its most recent Board President, wanted to move from its current campus for quite some time. It's campus is repairable; it just doesn't have the samr community commitment that other high schools have had to their community.
This is unfortunate because St. Francis Cabrini is architecturally significant and could very obviously, unequivacably, and relatively easily become a part of a Holy Cross campus. It would be a win/win situation - not only architecturally, but as a lesson in compromise and it's uncanny ability to make situations better in unexpected and unthought-of ways. Holy Cross students would learn - better than they ever could from any civics lesson - that when stepping back and allowing civil discourse and resultant reason to prevail, the results are stronger than any one-sided agenda ever is, no matter how well-intentioned the stance.
Cabrini is a (to many) beautiful and (to all) quintessential example of 20th Century architecture. Its adapted inclusion in a Holy Cross campus could become a beautiful and quintessential example of a new spirit of smart compromise and adaptive reuse that makes neighborhoods and their institutions stronger for having gone through the process of critical listening and adaptation.