ARAD Testimony Regarding Buhl Planetarium: William Blair

Transcript of Written Testimony Before the
Board of Directors of the
Allegheny Regional Asset District
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Regular Meeting of the District Board of Directors
Monday, August 27, 2001, 5:30 p.m.
Lower Level Conference Room, United Way Building
One Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-2221

Author: William Blair

From: William Blair

To: Board of Directors, Allegheny Regional Asset District

Subject : Buhl Planetarium

Date : Sat, 25 Aug 2001 13:33:04 -0400

Board of Directors
Allegheny Regional Asset District

I am very concerned when a valuable piece of Pittsburgh is in jeopardy.

I was distressed to learn that the Planetarium was going to lose the

area with the irreplaceable Zeiss projector. I understand that this is the

last of its kind.

The Children's Museum is a wonderful project. I would

just hope that they could utilize the Planetarium Building space in such

a way as to preserve the utilization of the projector. Just like the

modern effects in movies, sometimes the older more precise effects have

an impact which is valuable to maintain.

I understand the star field of the Zeiss II is unsurpassed. Also that taking

apart and reassembly is a complex task that might not in any way equal the original.

Since the building itself is designed as a planetarium some of the original purpose

should follow the function of the building itself.

Because of it art deco style, it is most likely one of the most important public

structures of this period in the area. As so many preservationists know, buildings, or

integral parts of them, cannot be retrieved after they are dismantled or

tom down. The building is very well located for an extension of the

Children's museum, but it would be hoped that what is now a valuable

artifact of sorts could be incorporated into the design.

The auditorium could be adapted to multiple uses. The planetarium part might be a

drawing point for children as star shows were in the past. It is a long

way to the Science Center when an opportunity for a star show could be

set up at the Buhl and even such a unique apparatus as the Zeiss II

could be of interest. I hoped a mixed and integrated use can be put to

this building and historical equipment so that it will be available for

the future.

Bill Blair