A former state employee on Wednesday delivered a petition with more than 14-hundred signatures asking Governor Bill Haslam to spare the Cordell Hull Building from the wrecking ball. Officials are currently reconsidering plans to demolish the 60-year old structure that some say is beyond repair. Preservationists argue it’s an example of modernist architecture that’s worth keeping.
Connie Pearson’s office was moved around a few times, but if her math is right, she spent a total of about 12 years working in the Cordell Hull Building. She doesn’t want to see it go.
I mean, the fact that we can never replace a building that looks like this if you tore it down. I mean, even the marble on the walls couldn’t be replaced.
Outside, it’s essentially a trio of gray stone rectangles dotted with windows. That spare, midcentury look has gone out of style. But preservationist David Curry argues it’s a good example of what people wanted in the 1950s. And he says it fits in like a puzzle piece with the other state buildings that remain around the statehouse.
Most of the buildings in and around the capitol were completely taken out and destroyed as a part of urban renewal. These buildings I think remain because for so long they were very effective and efficient. And those efficiencies, I think, can be updated and upgraded to fit our contemporary use.
The initial report that called the Cordell Hull building “functionally obsolete” has come under scrutiny. The consulting firm that reached that conclusion stood to profit from moving state offices elsewhere. Right now, the state is reassessing the building’s condition.