Historic Preservation

Road Trip: Adaptive Reuse Hotel

by Don Friedman on October 12, 2017

I’m currently at the APT conference in Ottawa, and that’s my hotel, the Metcalfe, above. It was built circa 1906 as a YMCA and has been converted to a nice boutique hotel.

You can always repurpose a building if you want to.

Better Than The Alternative, If You Squint

September 21, 2017

Richard and Anne Dickey, a wealthy couple of the era, had a house constructed for them in 1809-1810 on then-fashionable Greenwich Street. This was before rowhouses were being built in New York and long before the craze among the wealthy for ridiculously large mansions. Their house was about 40 feet by 60 feet and there […]

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A Site With Useful Information And An Unfortunate Name

September 14, 2017

Preservation engineering (or conservation engineering outside of North America) is relatively new and suffers from a number of problems common to newish subfields. The biggest problem, from my perspective anyway, is a lack of basic common information. If I want to explain to clients energy-code issues with glass curtain walls, there are any number of […]

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Code Intersectionality

September 12, 2017

There’s been some discussion in the last couple of weeks on the topic of Belgian Block paving – usually and somewhat incorrectly referred to as cobblestones – being impassable for people with mobility issues. A solution exists for this particular problem, which is to provide smoother pavement at crosswalks. This allows people in wheelchairs or […]

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The Persistence of Stubborn Buildings

September 8, 2017

One more group of old photos, this time a Brooklyn-centric exhibit at BRIC.┬áIt so happens that one of the buildings pictured, and one of the two featured in the Brownstoner article, is the headquarters of the New York and Long Island Coignet Stone Company. We were part of the team that worked on the recent […]

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All Gone But Remembered

September 5, 2017

A good and needed piece at The Conversation on demolished buildings. The amount I know about the buildings mentioned varies; I’m by far the most familiar with the old Waldorf Astoria, even though it was torn down before my mother was born. My research into the structure of early tall buildings led me to that […]

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Classic Damage Nicely Illustrated

August 28, 2017

It’s easy to come to the wrong conclusion here: it certainly looks like the mortar in the joints between the stone is being squeezed out, so that it projects from the stone face. Mortar of any kind doesn’t act like that – it’s not putty – but this is hard mortar with portland cement binder […]

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Grand Central

August 6, 2017

When you live with a topic for a long time, it’s easy to forget that everyone else doesn’t know all the details. In case anyone has ever wondered about how it is that Penn Station was demolished and Grand Central survived, here’s a good primer.

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Preserving Modern Buildings

August 3, 2017

2030’s hot preservation project: Interest in historic preservation of modern architecture is fairly recent, really getting going in the U.S. only in the last 25 years or so. This article on the restoration of a Louis Kahn building helps put some of that in perspective. The distinction between architectural preservation and structural preservation seems to […]

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Too Late

July 28, 2017

The Binghamton, as photographed by Greasywheel: It’s unfortunate that the Binghamton is being demolished. It is said to be the last relic of the steam-powered, double-ended ferries* that were once everywhere in the New York area, crossing the rivers and bays. That era is not coming back and it would have been nice to have […]

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