Scott Henson advances the field of preservation, elevating traditional building practices to globally conscious, sustainable design. Henson’s crafted approach embodies building stewardship and advocates adaptive reuse to the profession.
Scott Henson’s career in Historic Preservation began as a surveyor documenting early 18th-century farmhouses slated for demolition. Henson apprenticed under traditional tradespeople to restore and adaptively re-use a historic 18th-century grist mill and apprenticed under a Master Carpenter in Japan. Henson’s groundwork in traditional craftsmanship led him to the preservation and adaptive re-use of historic buildings, a practice critical in the development of sustainable building practices. In 2020, Scott Henson was elevated to the prestigious College of Fellows in the American Institute of Architects.
Henson’s work on the iconic Eberhard Faber Pencil Factory, built-in 1872, vacant since 1956, and partially demolished in the mid-1980’s exemplifies his success. New York City officials long wanted the National Historic Landmark rehabilitated, but had difficulty attracting interest in conversion due to its structural instability. Scott’s stabilizing solution preserves historic elements and encourages building stewards in the city to think of preservation as a building’s evolution through time, instead of an exact reproduction of the past.
The Knickerbocker Telephone Company Building, 1893, included the meticulous restoration of nearly all the building’s original historic features, including the brickwork, brownstone, cast iron storefronts, and pressed tin cornice. Original brick arches and timber details on the interior were revealed and incorporated into the new modern fit-out.
The Robbins House for Management and Technology, 1892, is located on UPenn’s historic Locust Walk. This renovation and addition to the building is the result of working with Studio Joseph. The team was challenged with balancing the dichotomy of new versus old to create a contemporary addition that would be distinguished from, but sympathetic to the existing historic fabric. The project received LEED Gold Certification for the sustainability standards that were built into the restoration.
The Hunter’s Point Passive Townhouse, 1885, is renovated to the Certified Passive House standard known as EnerPHit – Quality Approved Energy Retrofit with Passive House Components. Henson developed a contemporary addition that references historic details found in the district including clapboard siding and the rhythm of punched openings. Under Henson’s direction, the historic character of the house is seamlessly combined with modern systems to achieve superior energy efficiency.
Henson’s on-going initiatives include presentations and training on preservation and sustainability. As an integral member of the Association for Preservation Technology International (APTI) Henson leads programs on the relationship between historic preservation and environmental sustainability. He is a leader in developing the Zero Net Carbon Collaboration (ZNCC), providing a critical resource to responsibly bring historic places to Zero Net Carbon (ZNC).