Quick Guide to Remodeling Historic Buildings
Guide to Historic Building Renovations
Renovation or remodeling approaches fall into several categories such as stabilization or re-establishment of the property’s structural stability while retaining its existing form. Rehabilitation, on the other hand, pertains to any alterations or repairs made to the building for contemporary functions while maintaining the historic character of the property. Historic buildings may also be renovated or restored to recover any missing features and make these properties appear new again. Regardless of the kind of work done to the property, reasonable efforts should be made for minimal alteration of the site. Moreover, the distinctive and original features of the building or structure should be retained and treated with sensitivity.
All historic structures and sites must be regarded as products of their own time. With this in mind, alterations without historical basis are discouraged. Any changes in the structure that took place throughout history are merely evidences of the development and evolution of any site or building. These changes have acquired significance to the property, and these must be respected and recognized. If there is a need to replace damaged or deteriorated architectural components, the new material used should match the visual qualities (color, texture, or design) of the original material. Replacement of missing features or components should depend on the accurate duplications or pictorial evidences rather than on the availability of architectural elements from other historic structures.
The gentlest methods should be applied when cleaning the surface of these historic buildings. Any cleaning techniques that may damage the surface or components of the building such as waterblasting or sandblasting is not advisable to be used. On the other hand, contemporary designs for enhancing the appearance of the existing landscape or structures of the building will not be discouraged, as long as the design matches the material, character, and size of the property and its surrounding environment. Furthermore, alterations or additions to the building must be done in such as way that if these were removed eventually, the significant integrity or features of the original structure would not be affected.
Before remodeling any facility with historical significance, it is important to identify the characteristics or features that must be restored or preserved. Finishes, wall coverings, or other structural elements may be renovated with careful attention to the original materials used at the time these properties were built. In most cases, the main objective is not to reconfigure any essential feature of the building, but merely to maintain its stability while retaining all original elements.