Chris Lutjen Awarded Grant to Attend APT Conference

Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC

Searching for opportunities to expand his knowledge in historic preservation, Chris Lutjen, LEED AP BD+C, Garavaglia Architecture, Inc’s Job Captain, was awarded a Grant for Early Professionals in Preservation. The grant provided monetary assistance for emerging professionals to attend the Association of Preservation Technology (APT) Conference. He was one of five international recipients. As a condition of the grant, Chris was required to identify and plan a volunteer service project in his local community. His chosen community organization was the Victorian Preservation Center of Oakland; a non-profit organization that manage and preserve the National Register listed Cohen Bray House in Oakland, CA. This home is one of the best examples of the Victorian era’s high-style Aesthetic fashionable in the mid-1880s. Chris attended this year’s conference held in Victoria, BC in October 2011. The conference was held at the Historic Victoria Conference Center, Crystal Garden Building and the Empress Hotel located in the Inner Harbor.

Chris tells us he found many interesting tracks including seismic upgrades, materials treatment, and codes. One of the more interesting presentations he found was the review of the recently revised “Illustrated Guidelines on Sustainability for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings” presented by Jo Ellen Hensley, one of the coauthors.

To follow up on his grant stipulations, Chris will be providing assistance for the stabilization and accessibility upgrades of the Cohen-Bray House this fall. This service project is intended to make the Cohen Bray House more accessible to the local community, especially children, elderly, and visiting scholars. Chris will conduct multiple site visits, review existing documentation, and assist in pro

Cohen Bray House in Oakland, CA

ject planning for the house museum. This project serves dual purposes for Chris as he can also use it to help complete the requirements for the intern development program, furthering him towards obtaining an architectural license. A post-project report, including the project highlights and accomplishments, will be published in APT’s online newsletter, the Communiqué.

Garavaglia Architecture, Inc. Celebrates 25 Years in Business

We are happy to announce that Garavaglia Architecture, Inc. just celebrated its 25th year in business. The company has expanded over the years into a multi-disciplined, award winning historic preservation architecture firm. With an integrated architectural and historian team, we provide a wide and diverse range of services rooted in our vision to create a place for history in all of our lives.

The variety of resource types and varied locations of our projects have taken us throughout California and provided an opportunity to explore its past in depth. Whether it is the stable that housed a recuperating champion racehorse or the last works of a master concrete sculptor, institutions for immigration or buildings from the gold rush, our environment is still rich in history. Evidence we gather through research, historic photographs, ghostings of what was once built demonstrate that little is actually lost, but rather it waits to be discovered again. Retracing footsteps from the past through our work, we uncover the story each project has to tell. Some may be controversial, others obscure, some are fantastic, and some familiar, but all together they weave a larger context – an identity that all of us can connect to.

Our culture is shifting from an attitude of “newer is better” to an awareness of sustainability. We can learn from our past, whether it is history we strive not to repeat or rediscovering sustainable building practices long forgotten. There is a reason to make a connection to this history as a part of our cultural identity and to continue to foster and use this collective knowledge. As we breathe life back into buildings and neighborhoods, we seek to preserve this important link to our past to achieve better, enriched, and vibrant community for future generations.

Stay with us as we pursue these new ideas, continue to learn from our past, and work towards a more vibrant, sustainable future that has a place for history in all of our lives.

From Preservation Architecture: Historic Preservation and Green Architecture

In this month’s issue of Preservation Magazine, Author Blair Kamin writes about two movements, historic preservation and green architecture, in the article Historic Preservation and Green Architecture: Friends or Foes?

In this month’s issue of Preservation Magazine, Author Blair Kamin writes about two movements, historic preservation and green architecture, in the article Historic Preservation and Green Architecture: Friends or Foes?

Whenever I hear people talking about tension between historic preservation and green architecture, I am taken aback. What tension? Choosing between preservation and conservation, it would seem, is like choosing between a Volvo and a Saab. They have more similarities than differences.

He brings up critical questions designers must face with each historic resource, balancing architectural integrity and conservation with larger environmental concerns.

Should preservationists place a new and unremitting emphasis on saving energy, or should retaining the integrity of architectural masterworks remain paramount? To what extent, if at all, should preservationists be guided by the U.S. Green Building Council’s standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification?

In other words, should the green movement and the threat of climate change prompt a rethinking of what it means to be a historic preservationist at the dawn of the 21st century?

He brings up a case study of the Seth Peterson Cottage. Local activists thought renting it out as getaway would help fund the restoration. However, when architect John Eifler’s mechanical engineer determined that the house would need double glazing, SHPO originally denied the change. The decision was eventually reversed and the author writes,

When work on the Seth Peterson Cottage concluded in 1992, the clock had not been turned back. It had been turned forward, anticipating today’s energy concerns.

This isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for preservation. Because the Seth Peterson Cottage Conservancy isn’t spending thousands of dollars heating the property, it has sufficient funds to maintain it.

The broader lesson is that a restoration should not only reinstate the past, it should also prepare a building for the future. If a building cannot meet tomorrow’s standards, in Eifler’s view, it is doomed to become obsolete. And that will lead the public and policymakers to wonder why they should devote precious resources to the very cause preservationists hold dear. Eifler’s radical mantra: Preservationists have to reinvent themselves—or they will become dinosaurs.

Kamin follows with other case studies, each citing a different tactic and challenges met with preservation and sustainable design. At Crown Hall, he feels that the team had different balance than the aforementioned Seth Peterson case, where “retaining the authenticity of the original outweighed concerns about energy… To [preservation architect] Gunny Harboe, the essence of sustainability is cultural, not simply scientific.”

In another case of a Chicago power plant, he explains a more hybrid approach of the place now named the Charles H. Shaw Technology and Learning Center. Instead of adding finish to walls with faux patterns of the original to add insulation, the designers utilized exhaust fans and a concealed plenum. Kamin feels, “by carefully picking opportunities for preservation and conservation, the architects achieved both aims in the same historic structure.”