These days I don’t have much time for close involvement with projects other than those in our VISION House® series and that means I have little direct participation with homeowners compared to a few years ago. So even though I’m regularly contacted by someone requesting my involvement in a particular project I’m rarely able to make an exception just due to time limitations.
But when a remodeler acquaintance asked me to look at an historic structure in New Orleans’ warehouse district I couldn’t resist the invitation. She and the property owners were struggling with design solutions in hopes of producing results that would do justice to an opportunity as unique and memorable as this. They offered me a chance to be involved and after one visit there was no way I could refuse.
My reward was that I got to know the creative and stubbornly determined owners, learned the fascinating story of their project, and had a chance to offer a little input along the way, while helping to make connections with some of the manufacturers of the essential products and systems that were needed to help assure maximum (and sustainable) results for this extraordinary residence.
I’ve long maintained that most existing buildings inherently have a “green” head start by virtue of the simple fact that they are already in place. The environmental costs for the land, materials and other resources required to construct them have already been paid and there’s no going back, so why not reuse rather than replace whenever possible? Still, they come with their own set of special concerns as well, like structural uncertainty, outdated and obsolete systems and fixtures, logistical difficulties, and code and safety challenges, just to name a few.
It is no small task to incorporate code compliant plumbing, electrical components, fire protection, controls and appliances (not to mention modern air conditioning and ventilation, sound attenuation, insulation, modern glazing, air and moisture barriers, etc.) into a traditional masonry and heavy timber structure where few surfaces are plumb or level, square corners are almost nonexistent and the utilities are perhaps a century old, but the result is more than worth the effort!
I hope you enjoy reading about the clocktower as much I enjoyed being involved.
Posted: 2/20/2012 6:59:41 AM by
Mary Kestner | with 0 comments