Traditional Building Conference


Traditional Building Conference Series

Materials and Methods, Durham, North Carolina – December 1-2, 2015

Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

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

9:00 am - 9:15 am: Welcome and Introductions

9:15 am - Noon: The Finer Points: Restoring Brick Masonry- Lecture and Demonstration

2.25 AIA HSW Learning Units
Speakers: John Speweik, historic masonry specialist, Speweik Preservation Consultants, Inc., Elgin, IL and Wayne Thompson, historic mason, Hillsborough, NC

Join two seasoned masonry professionals for an in-depth look at brick masonry. This session will address typical problems and solutions found when working with historic brick, getting the right mortar to work with the strength of the masonry, and finishing the work with various pointing details.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the importance of maintaining historic brick masonry and making in-kind repairs.
  • Describe the properties of mortars that are typically appropriate for historic repairs.
  • Order tests to evaluate historic masonry and interpret the results.
  • Apply trade practices to improved communication on the job site for procurement, scheduling, and in situ trouble shooting for both historic projects and new traditional brick work.


10:15 am - 10:45 am: Break

Noon - 1:00 pm: Lunch

1:00 pm - 3:30 pm: Tour of West Campus – Maintaining the Work of Horace Trumbauer, Julian Abele, and the Olmsted Brothers in the 21st Century

2 AIA HSW Learning Units
Speakers: Mark Hough, FASLA, Landscape Architect, Duke University; Paul O. Manning, Director of Facilities, Duke University; James Collins, Architect, Greensboro, NC and New York, NY

“The most successful essay in neo-Gothic that I know,” author Aldous Huxley wrote of Duke University in 1937.

Between 1925 and 1954, the Office of Horace Trumbauer (1868-1938) designed and oversaw the building of West Campus. The chief design officer for Trumbauer’s firm at the time was Julian Francis Abele (1881-1950). While many US campuses rely on the neo-Gothic to convey a sense of academic endeavor akin to Oxford and Cambridge, it is the unity of design by one firm in the 20th century that is so remarkable at Duke. Their work sits amidst a landscape plan envisioned by The Olmsted Brothers. The campus is well- maintained and there are lessons to be learned and shared about the realities of such a successful maintenance effort for such significant historic structures with their blend of medieval detailing and both traditional and 20th century materials. Visits to some buildings on West Campus and a stop at the University’s rare manuscript collection to view original drawings are planned. Note: Wear comfortable walking shoes and plan for varied and cold weather. If the weather is inclement, a lecture will be substituted for the tour.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain the significance and the context of the architectural designs by Trumbauer and his firm on Duke’s campus.
  • List key elements of the buildings found on West Campus such as stone, mortar, wooden doors and ironwork by master craftsman Samuel Yellin.
  • Apply lessons learned from the University’s maintenance programming for the historic campus.
  • Reflect on the challenges of balancing historic preservation with modern campus needs- lighting, security, and technology.


3:30 pm - 4:00 pm: Break

4:00 pm - 5:30 pm: Restoring & Repairing Cast Iron: Methods for Refurbishing and Restoring Cast Iron at the US Capitol Dome Restoration Project

1.5 AIA HSW Learning Units
Speaker: Robert A. Baird, Historical Arts & Casting, Inc., West Jordan UT

The United States Capitol, a symbol of freedom and democracy and the most recognized and photographed building in the world, is not only the legislative center for our nation but also an architectural treasure. Its cast iron dome is currently being restored after one hundred and fifty nine years of service. Learn about this engineering marvel, its 9,000,000 pounds of cast iron, and how it is being preserved for generations to come. Join one of the cast iron specialists working on the project discussing methods and best practices for cast iron restoration that will inform your work with architectural cast iron.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain a brief history of cast iron and its most common uses.
  • List the main reasons for cast iron failure and proven methods and processes for cast iron restoration and repair.
  • Discuss methods for replicating cast iron ornament.
  • Compare and contrast appropriate coatings and finishes for cast iron.


6:00 pm - 7:00 pm: Networking Reception (off site TBA)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

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

9:00 am - 9:15 am: Welcome and Introductions

9:15 am - 10:15 am: Working with Custom Cabinet Makers

1 AIA HSW Learning Unit
Speaker: Brian Stowell, President and CEO, Crown Point Cabinetry, Claremont, NH

Fine cabinetry for traditional and restoration projects is essential to a project’s success. A successful design is dependent upon precise measurements, a good feeling for the elements of various architectural styles, and the ability to apply traditional form and function to contemporary lifestyles. A successful installation is dependent on accurate shop drawings, an understanding of materials, adequate lead time and skillful production followed by experienced installers onsite.

Learning Objectives:

  • Develop and schedule the fabrication and installation of fine cabinetry.
  • Compare and contrast wood, finishes, and hardware for fine cabinetry.
  • Improve selection of trim, profiles, and door and drawer designs.
  • Reduce the number of variables that contribute to challenging installations.


10:15 am - 10:45 am: Break

10:45 am - 12:15 pm: Wooden Floors - Care, Repair, and Installation Tips

1.5 AIA HSW Learning Units
Daniel Chasse, Carpentry and Wood Technology Instructor, Edgecombe Community College, Historic Preservation Program

Whether made of Southern Yellow Pine or aged oak, wood flooring gives great character to all manner of buildings- residential, commercial, or institutional. Join a craftsman educator as he shares his insights on the pros and cons of selected wood species, installation and repair techniques, finishes, and project management in lecture and demonstration.

Learning Objectives:

  • Plan a floor rehabilitation project including a protection strategy.
  • List sources to aid in identification of wood species used in flooring.
  • Compare and contrast properties of historic wood floors and how they were finished historically.
  • Communicate better with craftspeople working on flooring for both historic and new traditional projects.


12:15 pm - 1:00 pm: Lunch

1:00 pm - 2:45 pm: The Architecture of Landscape: A Tour The Sarah P. Duke Gardens

1.5 AIA HSW Learning Units
Speaker: Jeffrey Allen, ASLA, Winston-Salem, NC and landscape architects from the Duke Gardens’ staff TBA

The Sarah P. Duke Gardens were launched during the great depression. Challenges wrought by climate and soil thwarted early efforts by young botanists to establish beds of irises, daffodils, and other bulbs. The founder’s daughter, Mary Biddle Duke, aided by Dr. Frederick Hanes, secured the services of Ellen Biddle Shipman (1869-1950) to design the Terraces, the oldest section of the garden today. Shipman, a landscape designer and part of the renowned Cornish Colony of Artists worked regularly with architect Charles Platt. She completed nearly 400 projects in her lifetime. This tour will explore the Terraces and the work of Ellen Biddle Shipman as well as other areas in the gardens. Note: Wear comfortable walking shoes and plan for varied and cold weather. If the weather is inclement, a lecture will be substituted for the tour.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss the design and development of the Sarah P. Duke Gardens.
  • Explain the application of historic Italian terraced garden design that Ellen Biddle Shipman employed in the setting here.
  • List some of the most important plant materials and architectural materials and methods used to build the architecture of this important historic created landscape.
  • Apply lessons learned from the maintenance practices for this historic garden collection.


2:45 pm - 3:15 pm: Break

3:15 pm - 5:00 pm: Flat or Ornamental: Repairing and Using Plaster in Traditional Buildings Today

1.5 AIA HSW Learning Units
Speaker: TBA

This session will address the repair and replacement of plaster in historic settings and its installation in new traditionally inspired buildings. Plaster has been used for thousands of years because it is easily painted, hygienic, sound absorbing, and aesthetically pleasing. It can be run as moldings or cast as architectural ornament for pleasing effects. Join an experience plasterer for a discussion on why plaster is worth saving and why it should be replicated or installed anew when projects demand it.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe historic and contemporary plastering materials and tools.
  • Explain the steps in plaster repair and installation for both flat wall and ornamental plastering.
  • Improve collaboration and job execution through team-building, scheduling, and strategic procurement and respect of trade practices, needs, and limitations.
  • Apply practical knowledge to scientific analysis of archaic materials and
    interpretation of historic architectural details.


Schedule as of 10.21.2015; subject to change







Learning Units:
For more information on Learning Units, click here.

​The Traditional Building Conference Series is a registered provider of AIA continuing education credits. Credits for NARI, AIBD, IDCEC, LEED Accredited Professionals, and certain NAHB classifications may be available as well​. Please call for details- 802 674-6752.​


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