Working with Historic Materials – A Case Study Recap

At the annual California Preservation Foundation’s conference, Garavaglia Architecture’s Preservation Services Manager, Becky Urbano, served as the workshop leader and moderator for the Working with Historic Materials: A Primer for Building Owners, Stewards and Craftspersons pre-conference workshop held before California Preservation Foundation’s 2010 Grass Valley-Nevada City conference.

Ms. Urbano not only heads up Garavaglia Architecture’s Preservation Services division but she is also a talented conservator and brought her expertise in material conservation to the workshop. Serving on the panel of presenters were Johanna Street, Architect; Bill Essert of Wooden Windows; Kelly Thomas of RKT Builders; and Dan Aldridge of Aldridge Plastering. The workshop was geared towards owners, building stewards and crafts people and took place in the historic Julia Morgan-designed North Star House.

The workshop was a combination of conservation methodology, manufacturing and material history. The morning session began with a primer on project processes, introduction to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and an overview of historic materials as they compare to new materials. After a lunch break, they group divided into small groups where attendees participated in hands-on sessions that focused on the practical aspects of working with historic materials. Each session involved a different historic material with emphasis on what to do, and what not to do. Sessions included restoration of historic windows, finishes, and plaster with the emphasis on gaining an understanding of these materials and how to work with them to foster better stewardship and responsible long-term maintenance.

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