Traditional Building Conference

Schedule: Traditional Building Conference Series PHILADELPHIA

Sustainable Building: Design, Craft, and Tradition

April 14-15, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

8:00 am -9:00 am Registration and Continental Breakfast with Sponsors

9:00 am – 10:00 am Keynote Address:
Vernacular and Traditional - Lessons I Have Learned about Sustainable Building

John D. Milner, FAIA, Principal; John Milner Architects, Inc., Philadelphia and Chadd’s Ford, Pennsylvania.

Our keynote address provides a rare opportunity to have a conversation with one of Philadelphia's great architects working in historic preservation and traditionally inspired new construction. Mr. Milner will draw upon his more than 30 years of experience to share what he has learned about how traditional vernacular architecture works and why it continues to be worth preserving and creating today.

  • After participating in this session, participants will be able to:
  • Generalize about traditional vernacular architecture of southeastern Pennsylvania
  • Identify key architectural elements that support enduring and durable design and those that don't.
  • Compare and contrast materials that are commonly used in traditional designs in the Mid-Atlantic region; and
  • Describe the value of preserving historic structures to inform ways in which we should build anew.

10:00 am -10:30 am – Coffee Break

10:30 am - Noon - Bronze, Cast Iron, and Cast Aluminum: Properties, Preservation, and Performance
Robert Baird, President, Historical Arts, Salt Lake City, UT
Steve Brown, Historical Arts & Casting, Inc., West Jordan, UT

The industrial revolution in Europe paved the way for the use of cast metals as a viable building material in the 19th century. James Bogardus's patent for the use of cast iron in building facades revolutionized construction in the US. What previously had been carved in stone could now be cast, replicated, and transported in abundance. Wealth along with the vision of the City Beautiful movement, and a hunger for sharing artistic detail was within the grasp of private property owners and government at all levels resulting in more beautiful buildings and landscapes.

This course will explore the properties of architectural cast metals including; Cast Iron, Bronze and Aluminum and each of their benefits and advantages. Manufacturing technology, the sources of deterioration; maintenance, conservation and restoration methods will be covered referencing completed projects and practical applications. As part of this program there will be a screening of "ZCMI a Legacy Cast in Iron" a 20 minute documentary on the restoration of an 1869 cast iron facade that started the movement to restore cast iron structures across America. After participating in this session, participants will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast the properties of cast iron, bronze and cast aluminum and the benefits and advantages of each material.
  • Understand the manufacturing technology behind producing architectural cast metal products along with the appropriate finishes for each.
  • Explain the problems caused by electrolytic action on metals and recommend corrective action.
  • List maintenance, conservation, and repair techniques to keep cast metal ornament in service; and
  • Improve your own design of cast metal ornament for new traditional projects.

Noon-1:30 pm Lunch

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Going for the Gold: New, Traditional, and Green
John Cluver, AIA, LEED AP; Partner and Director of Preservation, Voith Mactavish Architects, LLP, of Philadelphia

Traditionally designed new buildings are sustainable by their very nature. This presentation will use two building types that are often thought of as “energy hogs” to show how using traditional design practices with integrated sustainable design principles produced a LEED Gold certified science lab building and a LEED Gold certified performing arts center. Architects, facilities managers, and owners will learn about sustainable initiatives that lead to high performance buildings while maintaining a traditional aesthetic. After participating in this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain how traditional design is highly compatible with sustainable new construction.
  • Describe sustainable design strategies that support LEED certification for traditionally detailed buildings.
  • Create energy saving strategies that make a traditionally designed, high performance building and provide quantifiable payback periods; and
  • Strategize with clients to seek the various grants and other means of offsetting the initial cost of LEED certification.

2:30 pm - 3:00 pm Coffee Break

3:00 pm - 4:30 pm - Making Additions Look Like They Have Always Been There
Sandra Vitzthum, AIA, Montpelier, Vermont

We are attracted to old houses and historic neighborhoods because they can feel more alive than contemporary suburbs, have a cohesiveness and human scale, exhibit a clear hierarchy between public and private spaces and are often built of simple and organic materials. This course examines historic building patterns and applies them to new designs. After participating in this course you will be able to:

  • Analyze building patterns such as massing, proportion, and scale.
  • Solve the challenge of integrating larger rooms like kitchens and baths into smaller buildings.
  • Design with details drawn from a given region; and
  • Compare details like lighting, trim, and hardware with an eye to compatibility.

4:30 pm – 6:00 pm Cocktail Reception

Friday, April 15, 2011

8:00 am - 9:00 am Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 am - 10:30 am - Window Replication in Historic Buildings
Speakers: William B. Mincey, AIA, John B. Murray Architect, New York, NY; Anath Ranon, AIA, senior associate, Cho Benn Holback + Associates, Baltimore, MD; and Joseph Riley, Marvin Windows and Doors, Philadelphia, PA

Moderator: Judy L. Hayward, Education Director, Traditional Building Exhibition and Conference, Windsor, VT

What do professionals do when character –defining historic architectural elements are missing? What do you do when you want to replicate authentic details on a new, period inspired building? The rehabilitation of two, late 19th century buildings, The Tuxedo Park Railroad Station and Baltimore’s American Brewery, offer some valuable insight into the process of arriving at a good answer. After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Conduct historical research to design replicated windows when originals are missing.
  • Keep energy efficiency in mind when replicating windows in historic settings.
  • Design and schedule a window replication for medium and large commercial projects; and
  • Take adaptive use into account when designing new windows for older and historic buildings.

10:30 am - 11:00 am Coffee Break

11:00 am - Noon - Traditional Porches: What Repairs Teach Us about Design
Ray Tschoepe, Director of Conservation, Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust, Philadelphia, PA

This presentation will briefly trace the evolution of porches in America and identify their regional differences. Presented by an experienced conservator and craftsman, this course will outline how traditional porches can be built better by understanding how they deteriorate. Deterioration afflicts all porches but is exacerbated by poor design, craftsmanship, and inappropriate materials. Porch design and repair techniques that use suitable materials, skilled craftsmanship, and shed water are rooted in traditional construction methods with an eye toward enhanced durability. After participating in this course, attendees will be able to:

  • Analyze sources of deterioration for porches.
  • Apply lessons learned from studying the sources of deterioration.
  • Discuss detailing, with contractors and craftspeople to improve design and construction methods; and
  • Explain how porch design has evolved in the United States.

Noon- 1:30 pm Lunch

The Art of the Detail- A Master Class in Drawing;
Sketch Session in Overbrook Farms Historic District

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm Lecture
2:30 pm - 3:00 pm Coffee break
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm Sketching Exercise
The Art of the Detail- A Master Class in Drawing with Milton Grenfell, Milton Grenfell, Architecture, Washington, DC; Alvin Holm, Alvin Holm, A.I.A. Architects, 2014 Sansom Street Philadelphia, PA.

This lecture will study comparative architectural details and discuss the importance of traditional detail in the practice of architecture. The demonstration will begin with an historical overview of comparative details throughout history, beginning with Vitruvius and extending through the pre-WWII American Renaissance. The historical survey will examine the abandonment of comparative details by the profession under the post-WWII Modernist hegemony. The reasons for this abandonment and the consequences thereof will be explored. The presentation will conclude with comparisons between built details, Modernist and Traditional. In this final portion, particular attention will be paid to the durability aspect of sustainability.

After participating in this course, attendees will be able to:

  • Discuss the fundamental importance of the study of comparative details to the practice of architecture.
  • Explain how the study of comparative details were abandoned by the Modernists, and why, and consequences of this.
  • Record details in the field with the technique introduced and use them in the drafting room.
  • List the four essential reasons for the comparative study of details.

The subsequent sketch session will give each participant an “assignment” to sketch some traditional details which are found in our venue’s historic neighborhood, Overbrook Farms. We will begin with a brief presentation on the technique of architectural detail sketching, and then we'll each go our separate ways to sketch, before reconvening to discuss our drawings. Each participant should bring a 4" x 6" regular surface sketch pad, with spiral at the top, and four sharp #2 pencils with erasers.


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