Jessica Lee Fasick
THESIS ABSTRACT 2004
A Preservation Plan for the Work of Charles A. Haertling in Boulder, Colorado
photo by Jessica Lee Fasick
In late 1999, the City of Boulder, Colorado, hired a private consulting team to perform a survey of Modern architecture within the city limits. The survey, Historic Context and Survey of Modern Architecture in Boulder, Colorado 1947-1977, identified sixty-six structures as being “the most important buildings in Modern architectural styles designed by the most accomplished architects” built within the target thirty years. Of the sixty-six buildings, fifteen were designed by local architect Charles A. Haertling, whom the survey names specifically as one of the “masters of local Modernism,” and about whom it calls for further research.
Haertling, who moved to Boulder in 1953 to teach architecture at the University of Colorado, is revered locally for his brilliant organic creations which have been likened to the works of Bruce Goff. After working with fellow “masters” James M. Hunter and Tician Papachristou, Haertling opened his own practice in 1957. In addition to the fifteen structures identified by the survey, he worked on eleven other projects in Boulder including four remodels and approximately twenty-three other buildings in Colorado, most of them located on the Front Range.
Three times Haertling received awards from the A.I.A.— twice for designs and once for his outstanding community service. At the height of his career, he focused on civic duty and served six years on Boulder’s city council, including two years as deputy mayor. It is the combination of his architectural treasures which dot the city and his contribution to the city’s overall development which earned Haertling great respect throughout Boulder and, in 1997, thirteen years after his untimely death at age fifty-five, prompted the city to list fourteen of his buildings as Structures of Merit. The honor, unfortunately, is only that—an honor, which offers no protection to Haertling’s world-renowned masterpieces other than acknowledgement.
This thesis will assemble information from various sources and present it collectively as a preservation plan for the work of Charles Haertling in Boulder, Colorado. It will include a brief history on Haertling and explain the context for his work by exploring the Modern movement in Boulder. Next, it will expound on the existing resources, including the survey, and comment on each of the twenty-six buildings. In addition, it will delve into landmarking possibilities at the local and national level and will clarify the incentives associated with each. Lastly, this thesis will offer design guidelines and recommendations to both the property owners as well as preservation administrators with the hope that Charles Haertling’s irreplaceable legacy will not be lost.
Jessica Lee Fasick received her undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder before serving two years in the Peace Corps in the Kingdom of Tonga. Prior to starting her graduate studies, she helped research the Driving Park District in Denver, which has since been landmarked.
Thesis Advisor: Jim Peters, Instructor, Historic Preservation; Director, Preservation Planning, Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois
Thesis Reader: Tom Hogue, Historic Boulder
Charles Pipal, Instructor, Historic Preservation