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As far as the "Green Eco justification" of saving the existing building, this is one of those cases where there MAY actually be more embodied energy in saving the building than just tearing it down and recycling the material. Realistically we are just talking about saving the brick facade; The structure has to go to add stories and the storefront needs to be updated to conserve energy. Holding that brick up is going to require a redundant system of shoring, reinforcing, steel backing, etc. that just adds redundancies and inefficiencies. A simple storefront system as proposed could be much more efficeint and "Eco Green". I am not certain, but those are aspects many preservationist overlook.
Great read Brian. I am fondly reminded of some long bike rides I have taken over the years with some fellow Architects; if you want to take in the landscape at a human scale and "get lost" there are few better ways than just heading out on your bike!
"..transparency was not one of the original program goals." I think there is no reasonable arguement to make that the design was "improved" when the use is so different from the original. They took an unused building and did a remodel for a new use. The change in use provided them an opportunity to open it up and they did a great job. Let's not get into comparing apples and oranges.
There are a lot of difficulties that come along with remodeling an old building. Obviously disregarding the difficulties makes renovations seem more reasonable than it may be. While it is true that the quality (and size) of wood members in this type of building is far superior to what you would find today, the connections between members are not, and the foundations supporting these oversized members are usually the weakest point. There are a lot of construction standards from the early 20th century and before that are simply not acceptable today and must be dealt with when they are found. Additionally, documentation of existing conditions is often spotty at best. You are taking a huge risk when you open up the walls during a major remodel or upgrade. I have often had the experience of previously unknown conditions requiring enormous unanticipated efforts and cost. Contingencies are double when dealing with a building that is 50 or more years old, and those are quickly exhausted the older a building is. The owner should seriously weigh the value of the existing building's character and the contribution to the community when making the decision to renovate or demolish, but they cannot ignore the risks. Requiring that a building be restored when the owner does not agree should be reserved for only exceptional examples of historic architecture.
There are also great examples of the side entries on historic buildings in the district. I remember several but can't recall the address. One is right behind Swagat at 21st and Lovejoy.
Toggle Commented Jan 14, 2011 on Neo historic on Flanders at Portland Architecture is now following The Typepad Team
Jan 14, 2011