MOUNT VERNON — Reinvention is perhaps a better word than demolition to describe current goings on at the old PPG glassworks. As the 59-acre plant is integrated into what will be a transformed Ariel-Foundation Park, the bulk of activity is still demolition-oriented. But beneath the violent and dirty dismantling of a million square feet of steel and masonry lies a softer, cleaner vision.
There’s little obvious beauty in a century-old, obsolete manufacturing facility, but credit the Ariel-Foundation Park Conservancy for identifying its hidden assets. As massive walls and beams are felled, architectural elements deemed “interesting” by volunteer project administrator Ted Schnormeier are selectively spared. Several months into demolition, he periodically enjoys what he calls “free at last” moments as those elements are cut away from adjacent structures. It’s one thing for Schnormeier to say that a monolithic brick stairwell tower will add height and scale to a park setting. When the tower finally stands alone, his meaning comes into focus.
Cavernous buildings used by PPG and later by PACS Industries for manufacturing and offices no longer connect one such tower with a large space that will become an open-sided events center. Huge mounds of rubble remain, and assorted metalwork and scars still disfigure the saved structures. But it no longer takes the eyes of a visionary to see what Schnormeier sees.
For the rest of the story
The rest of this article is available to Mount Vernon News subscribers. To continue reading, please log in or purchase a subscription. Click here for the October 1, 2013 e-edition. The article will only be available for thirty (30) days.
Contact Bill AmickEmail
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.