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Traditional Building Conference Oak Park: Windows, Wright & More

The Traditional Building Conference Series 2018 kicked off this year's first event with a sold-out crowd at the historic 19 Century Club in the heart of Oak Park's historic district. Architect; contractor; building owner and facilities manager attendees earned up to eleven AIA CEUs with seminars, case studies, conversations with suppliers and architectural walking tours over two days.


The Traditional Building Conference's lead-off seminar featured venerable architects Dan Worth, AIA, FAPT and Stephen Kelley, FAIA, SE, FAPT who presented a two-part education session on the "{Art and Science of Preservation." Kelley (the artist) and Worth (the scientist) emphasized the importance of an individualized approach to historic preservation, depending on the unique conditions of the project. This dynamic duo has collaborated on prominent preservation projects such as the Nebraska State Capital and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. They demonstrated their lessons with examples from these buildings.

Next, following a Thanksgiving feast of a lunch, attendees stretched their legs on a beautiful spring day, with a walking tour of the Oak Park historic district. Grand old houses in Queen Anne; Eastlake; Shingle and Prairie styles adorn tree lined streets and manicured lawns in Oak Park. The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio highlighted this architectural tour.


After the tour and an afternoon snack, Keith Bieneman of Heritage Tile, presented the "History and Best Practices of American Heritage Tile Restoration. Matthew McNicholas, AIA LEED AP presented next. His session gave scientific evidence which links classical, architectural ornament to stress reduction and improved cognitive well-being. McNichols makes the case for ornament, inspired by nature's shapes, rather than bland minimalism.

Charles McBrien of Marvin Windows, a conference veteran gave an engaging talk on when to repair and how to replace historic windows. He was followed by John Sandor, architectural historian and the National Park Service's Federal Historic Tax Credit administrator who explained how buffing a historic structure’s exterior can greatly improve its life expectancy.

Susan Turner, FAIA and Robin Whitehurst of Bailey Edward, used the University of Illinois’ English Building as a case study for how modern technology can help rehab historic structures. Robert Score, AIA of Harboe Architects managed the $25 million restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple. Mr. Score gave great detail, with illustrations of the preservation work and explained the decision-making process for selecting the right materials and methods for this important restoration. After his presentation attendees toured the inside of the Unity Temple, making them among the first members of the public to see the building's interior, since its recent return to glory.


The Traditional Building Conference Series, is produced by the publishers of TRADITIONAL BUILDING and OLD HOUSE JOURNAL magazines. Platinum underwriters for the Traditional Building Conference Series, which includes both in- person events and online webinars are: Allied Window, Crown Point Cabinetry, Historical Arts and Casting, Ludowici Clay Roof Tiles, Marvin Windows and Doors, Pilkington North America, The Unico System, and Wiemann Metalcraft. Bronze Sponsors in Oak Park included Indow Windows, Heritage Tile, Innerglass, Mon-Ray, Pella, Crittall, Abatron, and Adams Architectural.

The next Traditional Building Conference takes place at the Nassau Inn, Princeton, NJ July 18-19. The Palladio Awards Ceremony, which honors outstanding achievement in traditional design, takes place July 18 evening, also at the historic Nassau Inn. 


What Attendees said about Oak Park:

"One of the best conferences I've ever been to."

"This was the best food I've ever had at a conference!"

"I LOVE your conference and plan on driving to Princeton!"