Architecture is designed with intention, meaning its form says something about the building's purpose. Form follows function. Elements such as decorative cornices, windows and doors all contribute to the story of the building's purpose. This is especially true of historic buildings. Preserving their design helps to preserve the building's story and history.
Telling a Story
There is rarely, if ever, anything random or carelessly done when designing a building. The building's size and design tells something about its importance within the surrounding community. It may also tell us something about the importance or wealth of the person or entity that originally had the building constructed. Finally, the design can tell you a lot about the time in which the building was constructed.
For example, a large and imposing door way with massive windows might have been placed in a Wall Street bank to denote the importance of the building's function in that location. Conversely, a Main Street bank in a small town may have been larger and dignified for the setting in which it was placed, but still have been far more modest than its Wall Street counterpart.
A home built in the 19th century might have included more decorative design elements that reflect architectural movements such as the Georgian, Greek revival or the Italianate Revival. This contrasts the cleaner lines often found in homes designed in the 21st century.
Preserving the Story
What would be the point in preserving a historic building if its story was not also preserved? The design choices of the building's original construction tell much about the building's history and original purpose. To wipe these elements away and clean the slate would be tantamount to destroying the building and wiping away history altogether.
When restoring a building, careful consideration should be given to the building's history. It is important that the artisans and craftspeople involved in the restoration process have a thorough grounding in historic building materials and practices. Every attempt should be made to ensure that the building's historic integrity, as well as its structural integrity, is preserved.
The team at Scott Henson Architect are experts in preserving and restoring historic buildings. They direct that expertise toward preserving the character of a historic structure while ensuring that it remains a functional, contributing member of the modern urban landscape. Contact Scott Henson Architect today to find out how they can help preserve your historic treasure.
Federal and state tax credits, deductions, and property easements are designed to encourage property owners to embark on the challenging task of renovating a historic property, allowing it to function well in the modern world while keeping the character and design of the historic original. While there are differences between regions and states, basic rules apply for any historic renovation project that is hoping to qualify for tax credits or easements.
The property, whether an investment or owner-occupied, needs to be registered or listed as historic, or be located within a historic district. These are national designations as well as state, but state historic preservation offices manage the listings. Your state historic preservation office web site is the first stop for research.
Most of the tax credits and deductions are for renovation expenses, and there are usually upper and lower limits for renovation expenses. In many areas, materials and design need to conform to historic or neighborhood standards. For investment properties, there is also the need for planned access and adaptive use so the building can be accessed by multi-abled people.
A general rule of thumb is that investment properties can qualify for federal tax credits on renovation costs, while owner-occupied buildings can qualify for state credits and deductions. There is significant overlap, though. Both state and regional historic preservation offices may have a resource person who is responsible for changes in the laws and regulations, as well as grants and other funding opportunities.
Easements mean that the property owner signs away some property rights, in order to keep the property in a certain state. Many environmental easements are bringing agricultural or developed land back into wildlife corridors, for example. Property easements in historic districts or with historic properties means that the homeowner agrees in perpetuity to keep the nature and style of a property meeting historical standards. In some communities, these types of property easements can increase tax deductions and decrease both estate and property taxes.
Architects who work in historic preservation and adaptive reuse are going to be most familiar with the wide range of tax incentives, property easements, or other credit programs from the federal and state governments, and grant programs from community organizations.
Please contact us for more information.
The Knickerbocker Telephone Company Building has been selected as a Finalist in the Architizer A+Awards for the Architecture +Preservation category.
As a Finalist, our work is amongst a handful in the world for that category, and is competing for the two most sought-after awards: The Architizer A+ Jury Award and the Architizer A+ Popular Choice Award.
Here is the best part! YOU, the public, chooses who wins the Architizer A+ Popular Choice Award. Public voting is open from July 10th to July 20th.
All Finalists and Special Mentions can be viewed on the finalists page at awards.architizer.com/finalists.
The Jury Winners and Popular Choice Winners will be announced on July 30th. In the meantime, help us spread the word!
What is worth preserving will typically vary from person to person. When something is called historic, it usually means that it is worth the time and effort that is needed to preserve it. The same goes for historic buildings. Building preservation, restoration, and adaptive reuse can potentially revitalize a community and bring new opportunities.
Many older buildings have inherent value, as they are typically built with sturdy and high-quality materials that are hard to find today. A historic building that was once a central part of a neighborhood or a community, such as a church or school, can be preserved or re-adapted for new use. Restoring historic buildings offers us the opportunity to combine all the benefits of contemporary construction with attractive historic features, often of very high architectural and cultural value.
Aside from the aesthetic value that can be found in old buildings, there are various economic advantages to purchasing an older building. Many new business owners tend to prefer setting up shop in an older building because it is shown that buildings with historic value have an economic advantage over their modern counterparts.
A full-service architectural firm has the tools and resources you need to preserve a historic building in your neighborhood. Once a building is gone, the opportunities to preserve, restore and reuse are no longer available. Do not let a historic building in your neighborhood get demolished. Contact us today for more information on what steps you can take to preserve a historic building in your community.
Many people care deeply about historic building preservation. Individuals who care a lot about history may care about the educational value of historic buildings, as older buildings help to give an area its own unique identity. Oftentimes, people who have a strong emotional connection to a local area often want to maintain the buildings and surrounding neighborhoods that they recognize.
Historic building preservation architects are trained in understanding the essential character of the building. They must empathize with the concerns of tenants, who are rightfully cautious about the process of historic building preservation.
The right firm will always place a great deal of emphasis on historic research, thus making it easier for everyone involved to make the building look and feel like something that is representative of its era. General contractors will do what architects specify; they will fix roofs, install new doors and windows, and reconstruct parapets. However, the actual materials and approaches that will be used in the process will be chosen by the architect as true to the time-period in question.
Firms can adopt modern materials and technologies while still respecting original intent and traditional approach to construction. In that way, their methods can be both modern and timeless, giving them all the tools that are available in the world of today while still allowing them to use the knowledge of the past.
Contact us to become more familiar with historic building preservation.
Scott Henson Architect LLC is an award-winning architecture firm with a diverse portfolio of work in and around New York City, and has developed a specialty in the repair, preservation, and restoration of buildings.
We are creative problem solvers dedicated to a hands-on approach that brings a passion for craftsmanship into all phases of our projects. We assist our clients in diagnosing and remedying the myriad of issues that can plague new and historic buildings alike. Through traditional construction methods and new construction technologies, we find solutions to immediate and long-term concerns of building maintenance and preservation. We work closely with our clients to investigate building conditions and to develop strategic, economically responsible recommendations for the repair of their buildings, and then implement the design and construction in an open, transparent line of communication.
Our approach to architecture is sensitive to the history of existing structures while pragmatic about their present needs to ensure that these buildings remain active contributors to our urban fabric. We approach each project, large or small, with the same level of care. Beginning with a careful investigation of the conditions unique to each project, we integrate our client’s budgetary, programmatic and aesthetic goals to design the optimal solution for each of our projects. Stone, brick and mortar, terra-cotta, wood, cast-iron, steel, sheet metal, waterproofing and roofing systems, windows, and vaults are few of the components we have in-depth knowledge and experience in specifying, detailing, and fabricating.
We view the re-purposing, rehabilitation, and restoration of existing buildings as one of the most effective tools for the sustainable stewardship of our environmental resources, including those resources that have already been expended in their construction.
We have extensive experience in the assessment, design and detailing of building exteriors including preparation of comprehensive conditions reports, construction documents and repair specifications, full and phased construction cost estimates, city agency filing, and contract procurement and administration.
Our firm is primarily functional in Manhattan, which has a healthy combination of architectural landmarks and new buildings that make up its skyline. We also have several projects in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.
All things considered, this full-service architecture firm is an exceptional choice for your next building project.
Throughout the centuries, man's story has been represented in many aspects. Whether it is through his ancient writings, artifacts or in archaeological sites, man's imprint is undeniable. With each new discovery, another chapter unfolds shedding more light on the everyday lives of our ancestors.
History has, for the most part, dictated the styles, construction modes and uses of homes throughout the world. Each building, from our past, has a story to tell. Commercial buildings can represent the industry that was prevalent during a particular era, while residential homes can portray the wealth or poverty of the region or time. During the early periods of history, timber was a common use for constructing homes. As time went by, new means of construction material came into use, such as, brick, stone, steel, etc. The introduction of these materials meant man could rethink the building process and construct even more structures suitable to his current needs.
Through the preservation of historic structures, we can study the different periods of our history and allow ourselves a look into our past. These structures are used as a time capsule in order for us to learn the techniques and materials utilized by the craftsmen of the time. These invaluable lessons are essential when it comes to the preservation of historic buildings.
It is extremely important that we preserve our old buildings. They truly are our connection to our past, and here at Scott Henson Architect, we are committed to preserving the historical integrity of historic structures.
Please contact us if you have any questions about our services or if you are ready to take on a historic building project.
Many may wonder why anyone would choose historic building preservation over building something brand new. Historic building restoration provides many benefits to a community and preserves a link to the past. Preserving historic buildings can also prevent urban sprawl in many communities, as restoring existing buildings may eliminate the need to build something new.
Preservation is also an eco-friendly option. It eliminates the need for demolition and the vast amount of resources necessary for building something new from the ground up. Demolition can also release harmful toxins from older building materials into the air and soil, while renovation can be done in a safer manner to reduce exposure to these toxins. Overall, renovation reduces garbage, preserves resources, and saves money.
Historic buildings add warmth, charm, and appeal that cannot be found in more modern, stark architecture. Cities and towns with a surplus of modern buildings lose the ties to history that define the community and make it unique. Historic buildings have details, materials, and craftsmanship that cannot be found in modern architecture. Preserving these buildings not only provides a community with a link to their past, but also teaches new generations of builders about techniques used in the past that they may apply to their work today.
Restoring historic buildings can provide a much-needed face-lift to a deteriorating neighborhood, and sometimes attract investors. Tax incentives and grants can drastically cut the costs of restoration, and in many cases, investors can make a decent amount of money. Tourists LOVE historic buildings, and restoring buildings to their original splendor can create a hot spot for visitors-this means a business boom for the entire community. Depending on the function of the building, restoration can also mean new jobs for community members.
Sometimes old buildings sit for decades without being touched or used for anything at all. They become an eyesore without any function. Yet many cities face problems of overcrowded classrooms or lack of housing. Restoring these buildings solves two problems at once-it turns an eyesore into a magnificent structure, and provides a functional use to the community as well. Many historic buildings have been renovated for functional use as schools, libraries, housing units, or a site for community events.
Historical building preservation beautifies communities, attracts tourists, creates more business, and offers functional solutions to community needs. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about preserving and renovating historic buildings.