“The greenest building…is the one that is already built.”

I enjoyed the chapters on preservation and I thought that the book did a great job giving concise explanations of everything and then providing relevant examples that exemplified different theories on historic preservation.  When I finished chapter nine, and read that we were not going to look at chapter ten on preservationists partnering with environmental movements I was a little disappointed.  I decided to read through it anyway because I found myself truly intrigued with the idea of re-purposing historical buildings.  I believe that this is one of the most effective compromises between the need to preserve significant buildings and districts in our cities and towns without having wasted real estate.  It also limits unnecessary urban sprawl and expansion by having the existing buildings evolve with the needs of the community.  During my spring break travels I stopped at an old train depot with the facade intact, but the interior had been renovated to accommodate a Mexican Restaurant.  I remembered the Starbucks discussion from the reading that mentioned adding value, and in this particular instance it went both ways.  The restaurant had a great eclectic ambiance from the already existing structure and the old depot benefited from having a tenant the respected the historical value of the building and had an incentive to maintain it.  I realize that there are many obstacles to maintaining a historical building or home, but it was nice to see a successful example.  I would love to see more of this in Boise; there is something so compelling about blending historic architecture with newer businesses.

2 thoughts on ““The greenest building…is the one that is already built.””

  1. I was interested as well in the re-purposing of buildings. On HGTV there was a show that interviewed families that bought a variety of properties, and converted them into single family living. For example, a church, a bank, a textile factory, and a school, were all converted into homes. Some of the interiors were very vast, and I think the factory was about 4,000 square feet. Many of the homes were well done, and some had old stained glass windows (in the church and bank). It was an interesting show, but I think it’s been discontinued.

  2. I am also very interested in how historic preservation can go hand in hand with some of the goals of the environmental movement. Particularly when it comes to preserving older parts of town in a way to combat sprawl. And it does come down to the innovative ways new businesses can utilize historic structures, and what kinds of needs that the older building can meet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *