Historic Preservation and Renovation
The entire renovation process of the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates was completed under historic preservation standards. This provided challenges in the effort to make the building green, while preserving the historic integrity of the building. Key features are listed below.
The historic entrance of the building was on its east side, facing the river on what was to be the main avenue. (What has been perceived over the past few decades as the front entrance of the building on the west side was, in fact, the back door facing an alley that separated it from commercial buildings that existed on the west half of the block facing onto 2nd Avenue; an area which was later turned into a parking lot.) The east entrance eventually succumbed to numerous floods and other physical deterioration and was totally torn down circa 1956.
As part of its $29.8 million restoration project, the World Food Prize determined that it would rebuild the historic east staircase and return the building to its original orientation facing the river (though there will also be a west entrance). This is to make the building a centerpiece of the new Principal Riverwalk development.
Note of Interest: The stone for the staircase and the façade of the building was originally quarried in Minnesota more than 100 years ago. That quarry has long since been closed, so stone would either have to be imported from a great distance at considerable expense, which also goes against the green goals of LEED certification, or the staircase would have to be made from non-matching stone. However, the restoration architects at RDG and Neumann Brothers, the general contractor, brainstormed. They traveled to Minnesota and found a number of other projects (such as abandoned railroad bridges) made from this same stone; they were able to harvest it to rebuild this beautiful historic aspect of the building.