“History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.”
Restoring, preserving, rehabilitating, and reconstructing historic buildings is extremely important to our American heritage. Not only do old buildings show how architecture has evolved over the years, but buildings tell a story about the important events that humanity has experienced. For example, George Washington’s home, and the building where Oswald fired on Kennedy have both been preserved to remind us of history-altering events and people.
Image c/o MountVernon.org
Because historic buildings are invaluable, preserving them is no easy task. Strict standards exist to regulate the alterations of these buildings down to the very paint color. If these buildings qualify to earn a tax credit for the restorations, the parameters are even narrower. State standards, federal standards, and IRS standards all have to align in order to qualify. These standards exist to ensure that the integrity of the buildings are maintained, as well as to help contractors reach their goals.
If a contractor or architect is considering a historic renovation, it is important to note that there are clear differences between the standards for preservation, restoration, rehabilitation, and reconstruction. According to the National Park Service, there are four options for treatment of historic buildings, listed from least intrusive to complete reconstruction:
Preservation requires the least amount of work of all the treatments. “Preservation focuses on the maintenance and repair of existing historic materials and retention of a property's form as it has evolved over time” (NPS). Maintenance and upgrades are the focus of preservation, and nothing is added to or subtracted from the building.
Rehabilitation is the most common treatment for historic buildings today because of its flexibility. The Beacon of Jersey City project was considered a historic rehabilitation because the goal was to restore the buildings to their original character, while adding useful spaces for modern use. “Rehabilitation acknowledges the need to alter or add to a historic property to meet continuing or changing uses while retaining the property's historic character” (NPS).
“Restoration depicts a property at a particular period of time in its history, while removing evidence of other periods” (NPS). A great example of a historic restoration is the New Room at Mount Vernon.
Reconstruction occurs when a part of whole structure is completely missing, and can only be rebuilt using historic evidence. “Reconstruction re-creates vanished or non-surviving portions of a property for interpretive purposes” (NPS).
Let Us Help You Restore History
We’re proud of the work we do with architects and engineers to bring historic buildings back to life. If your firm is looking for first-rate metalwork, no matter how difficult the project, we’re eager to show you what we do. From rehabilitation to reconstruction, our metal bar grilles will complete your building.