Publications: Historic Preservation

Incorporating Historic Structure Documentation into Engineering Education

by Mark Kanonik

The article, “Bridge to the Past,” authored by EYP Senior Structural Engineer and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) adjunct faculty member Mark Kanonik, recounts how a group of RPI structural engineering master’s degree students completed an extensive and unique analysis of the historic Shushan Covered Bridge in Shushan, NY. In accordance with the Historic American Engineering Record, the students documented the structure, while partaking in a radical departure from the traditional classroom engineering educational experience.

Energy Analysis for Preservation Projects: The Right Tools at the Right Times

by Dana Kose

Birch Bayh Federal Building & US Courthouse

Using the right energy modeling tools at the right time in the design process is especially important in historic preservation, no matter what type of preservation is being undertaken.

Masterpiece Restoration Wins Awards Trifecta

MIT Kresge Auditorium and Chapel

Designed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen and completed in 1955, Kresge Auditorium and the MIT Chapel are once again taking center stage in the architectural world. The sensitive restoration of these modern masterpieces has received the American Architecture Award from the international jury of the Chicago Athenaeum; the SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture Award for Rehabilitation, Restoration or Preservation; and the Paul & Niki Tsongas Power of Preservation Honor Award, Best Use – Educational & Institutional Arts & Culture from Preservation Massachusetts.  Our design approach balances the requirements of historic accuracy with building performance – improving energy efficiency, weatherability, safety, accessibility, and sustainability – revitalizing these cherished icons for active use by future generations.

Washington Navy Yard Converges Past and Present with Restored Watch Box

Originally constructed around 1840 as a sentry post for Washington Navy Yard guards and relocated to Indian Head Naval Yard from 1909 to 2015, the 450-square foot Watch Box has a fascinating history. Home & Design shares how EYP approached moving the Watch Box back to its original Washington Navy Yard home. Aided by careful research, photographs, and clues in the existing structure, design team leader Matthew Chalifoux said, "We were trying to recreate something that was gone, to understand changes to a building over time."

Renewing Modernism: Notes on the Association for Preservation Technology (APT) Principles for Practice

University of Pennsylvania, Richards Medical Research Laboratories

The dialogue that began in the late 1980s concerning how we can best shepherd the legacy of modernism into a durable and sustainable future raises many issues that are fundamentally changing the way in which preservation professionals approach the rehabilitation of a large segment of the built environment. While we may philosophically debate when and how modernism devolves into the polyglot architectural expressions that have proliferated since the 1970s, technically we are dealing with many of the same issues – thin construction, ephemeral materials, naïve detailing and rapidly changing uses that render buildings tailored to a bespoke program now functionally obsolete – that we have been tackling with mid-century structures. Solutions to these problems require a robust, creative approach that fortuitously is bringing more design to preservation and vice versa. One area in particular that has been questionable, if not taboo in the traditional preservation charters, is acknowledging the necessity of intervention that is sufficiently robust to change and improve user perception and ultimately acceptance in order to keep a resource relevant and economically viable.

Watch and Learn: Victorian Curiosity Restored to its Original Appearance

Restored Watch Box

The Washington Navy Yard recently reclaimed a piece of its illustrious past with the restoration of the Watch Box, a small, wood-framed Victorian building that served as a sentry post beginning in the 1850s. President Abraham Lincoln visited the Navy Yard late in the day on April 14, 1865, most likely making the Watch Box one of his last official stops before his fateful visit to Ford's Theatre that evening.

Rehabilitating Richards

University Architect at the University of Pennsylvania, David Hollenberg, shares the intricacies and opportunities of renovating Louis Kahn's Richard Laboratories, a National Historic Landmark.

Case Study: Moving the Watch Box

W.F. Magann Corporation was subcontracted by Summit Construction to assist in relocating the Watch Box, a historic structure at NSF Indian Head (a naval research facility in Maryland) that once guarded the Washington Navy Yard during the Civil War.

A historic structure that Abraham Lincoln would often visit, the Watch Box played a vital role in keeping the Navy Yard secure and it remains to this day as the only surviving example from that period of time. As part of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, the Navy decided to restore the structure and return it the Navy Yard where it originally belonged.

To complete the job, Ayers House Movers, another subcontracted construction company, needed to lift the structure from its foundation and move it to the waterfront, where W.F. Magann Corporation would load it onto their barge and float it up the river to the Washington Navy Shipyard.  Upon arrival in Washington D.C, the Watch Box would need to be loaded back on land for Ayers to transport inside the shipyard.

But of course, there were challenges to be had along the way.

EYP Honored with Historic Preservation Award From AIA Virginia

As part of its annual Award for Excellence program, the Virginia chapter of the American Institute of Architects honored EYP with a prestigious Historic Preservation Honor Award for the restoration of the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Indianapolis, IN. The renovation invisibly transformed the 107-year-old monumental landmark into a “machine for sustainability” that measurably mitigates the site’s urban heat island effect, decreases the building’s carbon footprint, and adds hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to the city’s supply each year. The jury noted that the project, “is a masterful restoration and an aggressive upgrade of a great historic building to meet contemporary standards for safety, accessibility, and environmental responsibility.”

NAVFAC Washington Returns Historic Watch Box to Washington Navy Yard

A complex relocation and restoration effort has returned the guard house to its original site, so that it can help educate visitors about the Civil War. We partnered with the Navy and Summit Construction to coordinate the complex transport.

Nearly 150 years after President Abraham Lincoln came to the Washington Navy Yard to visit his friend, Yard Commander Rear Adm. John Dahlgren, the same Watch Box he passed through and checked in at was returned to the Navy Yard, April 16.

With support from Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Washington, the historic Watch Box, originally built in 1853-1854, was moved back to the Navy Yard after spending more than 100 years at Naval Support Facilities (NSF) Indian Head.