Is there anything more beautiful than restoring a historic building? Here in Ogden, you can find our community growing faster by the day. With so many swift changes in lifestyle and technology, it is inevitable that historic buildings will need to transform from their original roles into modern uses. Reusing or restoring these historic buildings can be very beneficial to the community and promote sustainable development. Although restoring a historic building is easier said than done, many lean toward an alternative concept: Adaptive reuse (otherwise known as rehabilitation).
Before we go too deep into the topic of restoration and adaptive reuse, here are a few terms to become familiar with:
Preservation: Seeks to preserve, conserve, and protect all historic fabrics. Preservation holds a high premium on retention.
Rehabilitation (Adaptive reuse): Focus on retention and repair of historic buildings, but also acknowledges the need to alter and add to a historic building due to deterioration.
Restoration: Focuses on retention of materials from a particular time from the building’s history. While removing materials from other time periods.
Reconstruction: Allows the opportunity to re-create a non-surviving portion of the building or site with new materials.
You may be asking right now: “What’s really the difference between restoration and adaptive reuse?”
Restoration involves restoring a building to its original glory, like our Peery Egyptian Theater (built in 1924) was ordered to close in 1984 due to health code violations, but in 1997 the building was saved from demolition and was restored. By restore, we mean the process of accurately recovering and revealing the state of a historic building. This also involves removing features from other time periods in the building’s life-span and reconstructing missing features.
Though restoration and adaptive reuse projects are costly, they do add jobs to our economy, reduce urban sprawl, and leans towards an eco-friendlier approach to development. With the Peery Egyptian Theater restoration project, there were a few things that required reconstruction, such as the ceiling’s painted sky that changes from a day to a night sky. Overall, the building has successfully followed the restoration method. .
Adaptive reuse (rehabilitation) revolves around the concept of retrofitting, recycling, and repurposing a building to meet the cultural and economic changes in our community. A few examples might be an old factory building transformed into a new apartment building, a parking garage transformed into an arts center (The Monarch), or an office building transformed into a retail shop. There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to adaptive reuse such as costs, aesthetics, and cultural distinction.
Adaptive reuse of an existing building is environmentally responsible because it relies on, and repurposes, existing materials. Historic buildings often have aesthetics and details that would be cost prohibited in modern buildings. Labor was more affordable around the turn of the century when many of these historic buildings were constructed. This allowed for the use of better materials and greater detail. A current example in our own great city is The Monarch building, which was built in 1927 and originally known as the Hotel Bigelow Garage.
The 91-year-old building is located on the corner of 25th Street and Ogden Avenue and has been occupied by a variety of automobile and restaurant businesses. The building is being restored and reused as the future home to artisans, restaurants, events, and exhibit space. A big change from its original purpose as a garage. Because of the aesthetics that the building originally had and because its layout can be retrofitted to meet current needs, The Monarch is a perfect candidate for the adaptive reuse method.
When you compare the restoration and adaptive methods, you notice many similarities such as both improve the economy by providing jobs, preserve the historic heritage in the community and promote recycling, an eco-friendlier approach than new development. However, there are also major differences between the two methods. Adaptive reuse recognizes the need for the historic property to meet continuing changes in the community while retaining the property’s historic character. Restoration focuses on removing features from other stages in the building’s history and reconstructs any of its missing original features. The decision between the two methods is merely a preference and vision of the project management team and their understanding of the building’s history and the condition of its materials, systems, and architecture. As our community continues to grow, keep your eyes out for Ogden’s historic buildings and their new roles in our community.
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