Category Archives: Hardlines Design Company

Spring 2013

(by Andy Sewell, originally posted March 20, 2013)

HDC Continues to Work on the Woodward Opera House

The Woodward Opera House in Mount Vernon, Ohio, is the oldest authentic nineteenth century theatre in the United States; coincidentally, it is also the oldest active project at HDC. It was awarded to HDC in 2000, and company president Charissa Durst says, only partially in jest, that it was because they wanted someone young enough to live through the entire project without becoming senile.  In the past 13 years, HDC has renovated two of the first floor retail spaces, added ADA public restrooms, rehabilitated the exterior (masonry, windows, and gutters/downspouts), and rehabilitated the second floor offices. The HDC team is currently working on expanding the existing fire alarm system into the adjacent Cooper Building (aka the “Annex”) to support a local foods market in one of the first floor retail spaces.

From 2011-2012, HDC staff worked feverishly to assist the Woodward Development Corporation in completing a state historic tax credit application for submittal in March 2012. The work paid off and in June 2012 it was announced that the Woodward Opera House was one of 45 projects in Ohio awarded historic preservation tax credits that put empty buildings back into the economic cycle and create jobs through construction activities and reoccupation of the buildings. HDC is currently waiting for official notification of the award of New Market Tax Credits in May/June. The goal is to complete construction on the remaining phases of the project by 2015.

See the project website for additional information:

The Woodward Opera House: Before the start of renovations and the building today

Hardlines Design Company Participates in Zoar Levee Public Meeting

Hardlines Design Company has been assisting the Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on preparing a historic properties baseline study as part of the Dam Safety Modification Study (DSMS) for Zoar Levee & Diversion Dam, located in the village of Zoar, Tuscarawas County. The DSMS is required to address performance issues with the levee. HDC is subcontracted to Tetra Tech, Inc., on the project. HDC’s role in the project consists of preparing a detailed cultural history of the Zoar study area; conducting a survey of all above-ground resources in the study area (buildings, ruins, bridges, dams, etc) to assess their historical significance; and constructing archaeological probability models to identify landforms within the study area with potential to hold certain types of archaeological sites.

Zoar Village was founded in 1817 by a group of German Separatists who were seeking a place to freely practice their religion and work together to create a community. Although not initially part of the plan for the settlement, the Separatists voted to pool their interests in the face of harsh economic conditions and a challenging environment, and became a communal society. The village prospered for much of the 19th century, but pressures from both within and outside the community finally resulted in a vote to dissolve the communal system in 1898. Since then, Zoar Village has remained a small, rural community, retaining a surprisingly high degree of historical buildings in good condition, while also managing to keep out most modern development, helping to retain the historic character of the community. This lack of modern development is partially attributable to the construction of Zoar Levee & Diversion Dam in the late 1930s, protecting the village from flooding, with the side effect of also discouraging modern intrusions, due to how the levee is sited on the local topography.

Part of our work with Huntington District included participating in meetings with project stakeholders and the general public to provide an update on progress and solicit important information about the study area that may be known to local residents, but not recorded in any documents. A set of these meetings were held March 6–7, 2013, at New Philadelphia and Zoar. Overall, HDC’s efforts in preparing the historic property baseline study have been well-received. Jennifer Sandy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation called our report “fascinating reading”  and project manager Andy Sewell was interviewed at the public meeting for WKSU public radio. Zoar residents are keenly interested in the history of their community, and the historic properties baseline study should be a valuable resource to their research efforts, as well as serving Huntington District as an essential planning tool for addressing the future of Zoar Levee.

A typical streetscape in Zoar, Ohio

Donut the Beagle Is 9 Years Old on March 26!

It’s hard to believe, but the “Little Monster” is going to be 9 years old at the end of the month! Donut came to office on Friday, May 21, 2004, when she was 8 weeks old, which makes her birthday Friday, March 26, 2004. Recently, HDC staff came across a recruiting video for the USDA Beagle Brigade. The video is over 14 minutes long (the opening sequence is hilarious!) and includes tests to determine if your beagle is qualified to join the Brigade. Beagles have to be between the ages 1 and 3 and retire when they are 9 years old, so Donut is now officially a senior citizen. This, however, was not the first time HDC came across the USDA Beagle Brigade.

After Bagle the Beagle came to HDC in 1993, HDC started working with the National Forest Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It turns out that the USDA has a division called the Beagle Brigade (founded in 1984) to inspect luggage at international airports for food products. HDC then picked up a children’s book called Jackpot of the Beagle Brigade, which was written in 1987. Since Bagle was very calm, balanced, and highly food motivated, HDC staff thought she would have made a good member of the Beagle Brigade. Bagle, however, did not like crowds and probably would not have passed that portion of the test.

Donut likely would never have made it past Test #1, which includes having a stranger pull her tail. One of Donut’s early trainers said that we could only “manage” her quirks, not cure them. Everyone at HDC knows that Donut is tense, nervous, and very sensitive, so we leave her alone when she’s eating, do not accidentally sneak up on her from behind, and definitely do not pull her tail. On the other hand, she can be very friendly, responds immediately to her name, and will obey commands to sit, stay, lay down, and, an office favorite, play dead upon hearing the word “Bang!”


A Plantagenet under Pavement: Urban Archaeology can reveal surprises

(by Andy Sewell, originally posted February 11, 2013)

One of the biggest archaeology stories to hit the news recently has been the discovery of the remains of Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England, underneath a parking lot in Leicester, England.  Richard III (1452-1485; ruled 1483-1485) was killed in battle, and buried at Greyfriars friary. Over the years, the knowledge of the grave’s location was lost to history, and successive waves of building at the location led many to assume the site was destroyed over time. However, a project specifically designed to locate Richard’s remains was conducted by a joint effort of the University of Leicester, the Leicester City Council, and the Richard III Society. Using historical maps, the team identified the former location of Greyfriars, under a modern parking lot, and began excavations.  Very quickly, the team found a burial of an adult male, showing evidence of death in battle and exhibiting a spinal deformity, matching the physical description of Richard III (Shakespeare famously described him as “deformed” and “unfinished” in his play Richard III).  DNA testing of descendants of the Plantagenet line confirmed that the body was in fact that of the king. Richard III apparently suffered mortal wounds to the head, and received other wounds at or just after death, likely by Tudor soldiers who intended to desecrate the body. Richard’s body was displayed publically, then buried in the garden at Greyfriars.

What is truly notable about the discovery of the remains of Richard III is the fact that the grave survived intact over centuries of development. All too often, urban archaeological projects must face the preconception that development over the years has erased all traces of what was there before. Urban archaeologists, however, are well aware this is not always the case. In fact, as the discovery of Richard III attests, significant archaeology sites are often just below our feet as we go about our daily lives.

In the United States, the most famous (and perhaps infamous) urban archaeological site is the African Burial Ground in New York City.  The burial ground operated as a cemetery for New York City’s enslaved African population from ca. 1690 to 1794, and was filled over in the nineteenth century to prepare the land for development. A department store was built on the site in 1846. In 1991, a new federal office building was planned for the site. Although planners were aware that the location was formerly a burial ground, they assumed that the site had been completely destroyed through two centuries of urban development. However, burials began showing up during the excavation of the building’s foundation, setting off a controversy that was finally resolved with the redesign of the project to avoid areas predicted to have the highest probability for intact burials and the dedication of a memorial on the site. Study of the excavated remains have yielded much information about the lives of New York City’s earliest African-American inhabitants.

Important archaeological sites in urban locations are not only associated with the people who lived in those communities, but with populations that lived hundreds and even thousands of years before. Even today, excavations in East St. Louis, Illinois, continue to find evidence of Mississippian urbanization associated with the mound center of Cahokia. Excavations associated with a new bridge project have uncovered thousands of house patterns and the base of a previously unknown pyramid mound, in an area that was formerly industrial in nature. Closer to home here in Columbus, Hardlines Design Company has participated in urban archaeology projects of much lesser scale than those in Leicester, New York, or East St. Louis, but prove nonetheless that significant archaeology sites can exist under the modern urban landscapes of Ohio.

In 2007, Hardlines conducted limited archaeological testing at the location of the new Franklin County Courthouse at Mound and High streets in downtown Columbus, Ohio. The objective of the dig was to test the proposition that there were areas within the new courthouse location with intact archaeological deposits. After removing the asphalt in the archaeological testing area, archaeologists uncovered two building foundations, two brick-lined privies, a brick path, and a possible unlined privy, plus two other possible shaft features were noted outside the area where the pavement was removed. One test unit recovered 677 artifacts, including 554 historical artifacts, 17 prehistoric artifacts, and 106 faunal remains. The soil layers appear to be intact, with the oldest (prehistoric) artifacts located in the deepest soil layers and the youngest artifacts nearest the surface, with limited mixing of material. Due to the nature of the project and its funding sources, no further archaeological excavation was performed; however, the limited excavations at the site demonstrated that there is a great potential for the discovery of significant archaeological sites within the urban core of Columbus.

Further afield, Hardlines performed intensive excavations at a Late Prehistoric/Fort Ancient site in Lawrence County that was under a late twentieth century subdivision. Despite disturbances from nineteenth century agricultural practices and twentieth century house construction and installation of  utilities such as septic tanks, several intact prehistoric features were found during excavations, often just next to modern disturbances.  Large numbers of artifacts, including lithic tools, pottery, and food remains, were recovered from these features.

Finally, Hardlines has been working on a project at Salem Maritime National Historic Site in Salem, Massachusetts, investigating the site of the earliest warehouse on Derby Wharf, dating to 1765. The project is ongoing, but has demonstrated that despite nearly two hundred years of development and landfilling, and subsequent land disturbance through renovations of the wharf by the National Park Service, evidence for the warehouse is still present at the location.

What does all this mean for assessing the probability that a significant archaeological site is located in an urban setting? Well, while it is highly unlikely that your parking lot is covering the burial of a king, it is possible that an important archaeological site could be present. How does one go about determining if this is the case? Thorough research into the land use history of a parcel is one key component, using historical maps, photographs, and other documents. Especially useful are Sanborn fire insurance maps, which can be used to construct a detailed picture of development on a piece of property over time. Identifying building locations and landfilling episodes are key to locating areas where archaeological sites may survive, as well as documenting locations that are thoroughly disturbed. Knowledge of prehistoric cultural lifeways is critical, as many cities and towns are located in areas that were highly attractive for settlement in the pre-Columbian period: close to water, elevated above flood plains, and well-drained. Finally, archaeological testing of your property is always a good idea if you cannot determine with research that there is no possibility for survival of archaeological deposits through development.  Keeping the possibility of intact archaeological sites at an urban development site in mind and accounting for it in project planning may pay off in avoiding controversy at a later date, even if there are no funding or permitting requirements calling for archaeological assessment of the project location.

Welcome to our new historian, Ben Riggle!

(by Andy Sewell, originally posted January 21, 2013)

Hardlines is pleased to announce the hiring of Ben Riggle as our new staff historian. Ben comes to us from a position with R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc, in Frederick, Maryland, and is well-versed in state and federal preservation laws and guidelines. Ben is an Ohio native, and completed his Master’s degree in American History with a concentration in Historic Preservation at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Ben brings past experience with Section 106 compliance projects, Historic American Building Survey (HABS) documentation, and studies of Cold War-era military architecture to our office. We look forward to a very productive future with Ben in our Cultural Resources department!

Hardlines’ Oyler School project wins rehabilitation award

(by Charissa Durst, posted on December 11, 2012)

Back in 2006, when Dick Krehbiel of the Roth Partnership asked me if HDC would be willing to join their team for some historic school renovations in Cincinnati, I said “Sure!” HDC would be the team’s historic preservation consultant and be responsible for the rehabilitation of the exterior enclosure, with emphasis on roofs and historic masonry and terra cotta. It seemed pretty straightforward. Little did we know that our work to repair the exterior of Oyler School would be part of an award-winning design project or that the school would become nationally recognized as a catalyst for turning around a poor urban neighborhood.

Oyler School was built in 1930 and designed by the prominent Cincinnati architectural firm of Samuel Hannaford & Sons. The building anchors the Lower Price Hill Historic District, which is located in the river valley to the southwest of downtown Cincinnati. The school’s impressive exterior was described in the National Register nomination as a “delightful blending of Art Deco and Italian Romanesque executed in terra cotta, brick, and Rookwood tile.” Statues of boys and girls executed by Rookwood are seated in various locations on the building.

View of the south elevation of Oyler School

In the mid-1970s, when Cincinnati Public Schools announced it would close Oyler, the Lower Price Hill community rallied to save their school. In the 1980s, the Community Council formed to give the community a voice in city politics and the neighborhood was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as Cincinnati’s largest historic district. Ultimately, Cincinnati Public Schools committed to a $20 million rehabilitation and addition to Oyler School.

Detail of terra cotta on the south elevation

HDC’s work centered around the restoration, repair, and replacement of the terra cotta details.  HDC’s design team researched the composition of the exiting terra cotta in order to find materials and methods for seamless repair and replacement. The team paid special attention to the different types of glazing finish the contractor would encounter, including monolithic (uniform solid), mottled (speckled), polychrome (having two or more colors on the same unit), and polychrome blended colors (varying colors are blended by method of surface application).

Falcon detail on south elevation

Ultimately, HDC designed and specified terra cotta work that work included removing, cleaning, and re-installing terra cotta features after the repair and reinforcement of the underlying structural system; repairing cracks and damaged glazing, and replicating missing/damaged items using glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC). HDC staff also made multiple visits to the job site to approve the quality of the mockups and to resolve hidden structural problems as pieces of terra cotta were removed for cleaning.

Capital terra cotta details

Oyler School was one of eight projects to receive a 2012 Rehabilitation Award from the Cincinnati Preservation Association. The event was held on Saturday, November 17, at the Cincinnati Zoo, whose renovation of the Reptile House also received an award. Charissa Durst and Bill Faciane represented Hardlines Design Company and were joined by representatives from the Roth Partnership, Cincinnati Public Schools, Oyler School, and the Lower Price Hill community in what may have been the largest turnout in the history of the awards.

Dick Krehbiel of the Roth Partnership and Charissa Durst of Hardlines Design Company (photo by Bill Faciane)

In tandem with the completion of its physical transformation, the school’s unique K-12 program targeted at serving the community is making national headlines, as American Public Media featured the school on four segments of its “Marketplace” program this year. Once again, Hardlines Design Company has contributed to the preservation of a historical community building.

Hardlines welcomes our new Director of Architecture, Brad Curtis!

(by Charissa Durst, originally posted October 29, 2012)

Hardlines Design Company is pleased to announce the hiring of Brad Curtis, AIA, as our new Director of Architecture. Brad brings 22 years of experience in architecture to the firm, with previous experience at large and small firms such as NBBJ, Lusk & Harkin, MKC, and Schorr Architects. He received his architecture degree at OSU when I was there as a graduate student, but he somehow managed to avoid being one my students.

Brad brings a wealth of experience and expertise to Hardlines, working for both public sector clients and private corporations.  Some of Brad’s projects include renovations for The Ohio State University, Newark; serving as Architect of Record for the new Richland County Jail; and overseeing the renovation of historic buildings into living spaces for seniors and for the hospitality industry. Brad received the AIA National Design Citation Award and AIA Kansas City, Missouri Award for his work on the Johnson County Adult Detention Center in Olathe, Kansas; as well as the 2003 AIA Dayton, Ohio award for the Salem & Grand Avenue Senior Apartments, which saved an abandoned historic building through renovation into a 70-unit senior housing complex.

In addition to all this, Brad is also working on becoming a certified PGA Golf Professional. We think we had a stroke of good luck landing him!

HDC Historic Preservation Work in the News

(by Andy Sewell, originally posted October 24, 2012)

Recently, HDC architectural engineer Bill Faciane was in the news, talking about our work with Toward Independence, a non-profit group in Xenia, Ohio, that is participating in a city-wide movement to renovate and restore downtown businesses. The group owns two buildings in downtown Xenia and became eligible for façade improvements through a Community Development Block Grant.The group contracted HDC to help restore the buildings to their original, historical appearance.

Originally, the buildings were covered in 1970s-era material after damage from a 1974 tornado that struck downtown Xenia. Like many things from that time, what seemed like a good idea hasn’t really held up in terms of lasting aesthetics! Through restoration of the buildings to their historical appearance, Toward Independence will contribute to the revitalization of downtown Xenia. This work is another example of the value of historic building renovation in revitalizing the downtowns of American communities.

Hardlines develops Mid-Century Modern Guide for DoD

(by Andy Sewell, originally posted October 18, 2012)

Hardlines Design Company recently completed a comprehensive guide to Mid-Century Modern military buildings for the Department of Defense (DoD) under the Legacy Program.  The guide, cataloged as Legacy Program Project 11-448, will be of great assistance to military cultural resources managers who are faced with the growing problem of how to assess buildings constructed between 1950 and 1975, considered the height of the Mid-Centry Modern architectural style. Although the DoD re-used many buildings constructed during the World War II period during the initial years of the Cold War era,  modern installations and buildings were required for some of the different and new functions developed as part of the evolution of the U.S. military at the time.

Architectural Modernism is represented in many of these Cold War-era military properties. Architectural Modernism describes a number of related architectural movements and styles developed during the twentieth century, representing a break with past architectural styles and trends. Hardlines Design Company prepared the Mid-Century Modern Guide with the goal of providing information and guidance to cultural resources managers evaluating the National Register eligibility for military properties dating between 1950 and 1975 that were influenced by architectural Modernism. The guide specifically addresses issues and concerns associated with applying National Register Criterion C (the criterion for architectural and engineering significance) to buildings and structures constructed between 1950 and 1975 with a relationship to the Modern architectural movements.

In addition to Section 106 evaluations, Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 requires the DoD to evaluate properties for their eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places and to catalog all National Register-eligible properties. Typically in the past, federally-owned properties are first evaluated for National Register eligibility when they are at or close to fifty years of age. Currently, there are thousands of DoD properties dating back to the 1950s that have recently passed the fifty-year mark, and thousands more built in the 1960s and 1970s which are now at or close to that threshold.

Although the guide emphasizes the evaluation of individual buildings for National Register eligibility, information is included for addressing historic districts and landscapes related to the Mid-Century Modern context. During the period of significance for the context (1950–1975), the DoD erected new installations or added campus areas to existing installations. The guide cautions consultants and cultural resources managers to consider the possibility of historic district creation when evaluating groups of buildings associated with the Mid-Century Modern context. In addition to buildings, these districts may also include significant planning and landscape features, such as:deliberate building placement; locations and relationships of  walls, plazas, and roads; and landscape plantings, like ornamental trees and open lawns.

The guide presents a historic context outlining the growth of the Modernistic architectural influences in U.S. military architecture from its industrial origins during World War I through the Cold War and early 1970s. The document details the physical features and materials important in the different  mid-century Modernist architectural styles. In addition, a list of sources useful in researching the architectural significance of military buildings is provided. The application of the guide is illustrated through sample assessments for a number of buildings at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

The full document is available for download as a PDF at the following link (Note-the link will open up the report in a separate browser window, from which you can print or save a copy):

This project and subsequent report were funded by the DoD Legacy Resource Management Program in fiscal year 2011. Hardlines Design Company would most of all like to thank Air Force Materiel Command for supporting the 2011 DoD Legacy proposal for this project. In addition, we would like to thank the following people for their invaluable assistance, guidance, and expertise:

  • Mr. Paul Woodruff, cultural resources manager of the 88th Civil Engineer Directorate Environmental Quality Section at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB)
  • Mr. David Love of the 88th Air Base Wing Civil Engineering Office, WPAFB
  • Dr. Henry Narducci of the 88th Air Base Wing History Office, WPAFB
  • Mr. Erwin Roemer, RPA, cultural resources manager at Air Force Material Command
  • the staff of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Inc.
  • the staff of Cecilia Brothers


Five Things to Keep in Mind About Historic Building Renovation

(by Charissa Durst, originally posted on October 4, 2012)

We often take for granted the history of a neighborhood. Where once stood an Art Deco office building, now sits a cookie-cutter strip mall. But what if an architect had taken the time to study the history behind the Art Deco building? How would they have gone about completing an historic building renovation that not only would house shops but could also have a positive impact on the neighborhood as a whole? By following a few guidelines, renovating a historical building doesn’t need to be the money pit many developers would have you believe.

Do your research. Understanding the history of a community will give you a huge advantage when beginning your restoration project. Just as architectural periods segue from one style to another, neighborhoods reinvent themselves over time. Through careful research, patterns will emerge that will help you tackle your project while maintaining the building’s integrity. Historically, research has always been a bit of a treasure hunt. Hours of library research often turned up scant details while other days you could immerse yourself in a building’s original plans. Luckily, the internet has opened up the world’s historical archives and sources such as Sanborn Fire Insurance maps collection give you an instant picture of a neighborhood’s character.

Review regulations. Every city has its own regulations on historical preservation. Taking the time to learn know your area’s regulations will definitely save you time, money and headaches. Submit plans early in the process; you might need the extra time to make design adjustments. Also, check the historical designation of the building you are restoring. Is it listed in the National Register of Historic Places or as a contributing structure to a historic district? Contact the state historic preservation office, the agency that oversees historic preservations, and ask if your project has any restrictions you’ll need to follow. Generally, historic renovations should follow the Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for Rehabilitation (link to NPS site?). Finally, check if your property is located in an area subject to review by a local area commission, architectural commission, or historical commission. I sit on the German Village Historic Commission here in Columbus, and believe me, we are way more strict with buildings in our district than a property that is merely subject to state or federal regulations!

Secure funding. Historic building renovations can qualify for a variety of federal grant programs. These programs, which help offset the high cost of preservation projects, have various requirements so make sure you know your projects parameters and goals before applying. The Main Street Grant program assists historic downtown areas retain their tradition and character.  Our company is currently working on a façade improvement project in the City of Xenia that was partially funded by a Main Street grant.

Rendering of proposed facade improvements in Xenia, Ohio

Federal historic tax credits and new market tax credits have been a source of funding for renovation projects since the 1980s. When coupled with state historic tax credits, a significant percentage of the project’s costs can be covered. Our Woodward Opera House project recently applied for federal and state tax credits, which allowed the project to expand from a $2.5 million “just fix-it” construction budget to an almost $15 million state-of-the-art performing arts center budget.

The Woodward Opera House in Mount Vernon, ca 1916

Reuse and recycle. Bringing modern conveniences and materials into your historical renovation can be a labor of love. By installing environmentally friendly products during your renovation, you can bring warmth and savings to your building. Reuse, restore or repurpose flooring you salvaged during demolition. Creating a ‘sustainable-use plan’ prior to construction will expedite the material recycling and help you organize the inventory for future use. If your goal is a sustainable project, consider obtaining LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. A project earns points for each sustainable criteria met.  A total building renovation qualifies as a LEED New Construction project, which requires 40 points for basic certification, 50 for Silver, 60 for gold, and 80 for platinum. HDC is currently renovating a historic elementary school with the goal of achieving LEED for Schools Silver Certification.

Stewart Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio, with the original 1874 building in the front

Hire the Right Team. The pool of design firms that provide historic renovation services seems to grow as the economy shrinks and property owners stop building new and start focusing on maintaining their existing real estate. In reality, many firms actively avoid historic renovations because they are, as one engineer told me, “dirty.” The site can be full of unknown contaminants,  there are too many restrictions on the design work, and you never know what will be uncovered during construction that will require a sudden change in the plans. In a new construction project, all the mistakes are your own and you don’t have to deal with inherited issues. But if you ask most people, they would much rather live and work in a nicely renovated historic building than in a modern building. The materials, proportions, and craftsmanship of historic buildings just cannot be replicated today without breaking the bank.

Undertaking an historic building restoration doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Thoroughly researching the project before you begin will save you both time and money. Hiring the right team will save you headaches during design reviews and construction. The reward for your effort, though, is knowing you saved a piece of history for yet another generation to cherish

Going Green with Historic Building Renovation

(by Andy Sewell, originally posted September 27, 2012)

Undertaking an historical building renovation provides you with an opportunity to combine the authenticity of the old with the latest technologies and concepts in green building. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the sponsor for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), estimates that buildings account for 74 percent of the electricity used in the U.S. and 39 percent all energy usage.

The goal of the LEED program is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent, an ambitious commitment that’s only attainable on a one by one basis. Besides bringing an existing building into the 21st Century by using the latest building materials and techniques that increase its energy efficiency, rehabilitating an existing building saves raw materials and lowers landfill waste. Saving historic buildings also has an important social role by preserving the past for generations to come.

The Lincoln Theatre in Columbus, Ohio, renovated  to meet City of Columbus Sustainable Design standards

Planning the renovation of an historic building is complex to start with, but maintaining its historical integrity with the green building challenge makes the project that much more challenging. Fortunately, engineers, architects and designers with LEED credentials who respect the historical value of the building know how to marry the old with the new, such as those on staff here at Hardlines Design Company. The result is a building with that’s lighter on the environment because of the energy-efficiency intelligence designed into it and the recycling that takes place in the renovation process.

Using licensed and highly trained consultants who specialize in green and LEED building can help you navigate the design, approval and certification process, for both recognition as a green building and a sound historical building. These experts know how to combine energy efficient heating and cooling, lighting and air quality controls without damaging the components of the structure that contribute to its historical significance.

By working with the existing framework of the building and salvaging what’s significant and valuable, the project team can incorporate components that bring it up to the high standards for LEED certification or as a green building. High efficiency HVAC equipment, insulation, windows and ventilation techniques contribute to the greening of existing structures without interfering with their role in history, socially and physically.

Using old and new materials that don’t cause indoor air pollution has never been easier, since options for products that do not throw off harmful gases are many. Wood finishes with low volatile organic compounds are available for refinishing existing wood. Updating wiring with smart technology lowers the energy footprint, as does building in water conservation measures without disturbing the original fixtures.

The art behind using the original components, combined with modern construction practices, assures owners and developers that the final result will be a seamless blend of the best of the past with state-of-the-art engineering and design. It’s possible and desirable to combine the past with the best of the new to not only honor the history, but to respect the environment in the future, as well.

For more information on incorporating green design into your buildings, old or new, please feel free to contact us!

Good Luck, Roy! Hardlines bids adieu to our senior historian

(by Andy Sewell, originally posted on July 17, 2012)

After fifteen years with Hardlines Design Company, senior historian Roy Hampton has retired. Roy’s tenure with Hardlines was marked by several career highlights, including National Register nominations for Rockefeller Park in Cleveland and Wright Field at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, numerous ICRMPs for the U.S. Navy, HAER documentation of the NASA Glenn Rocket Test Facility in Cleveland, and work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including the Ohio River Navigation Survey and documentations of several large dams.

We wish Roy (and Karly) the best of luck with whatever the future brings!

Roy, not afraid to get down in the dirt,  examining historical features at the Harmony Brickworks on a USACE project