Preserve History with the Aspyre Collection ?quality=70&width=1500

Preserve History with the Aspyre Collection

By Jamie Schultz / 7/24/2017


Architects today are pros at repurposing buildings and re-envisioning spaces, but clients may need help understanding the vision and goals of the project. Below, architects who work in the field each day share misconceptions about historic preservation projects.

Misconception #1: Preservation is all about the past.
 
There’s a misconception that preservationists are strident devotees of the past who resist any and all change, says Matthew Jarosz, director of the Historic Preservation Institute at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an architect in private practice. (This is paraphrased, so it does not need quotation marks)

“I think that’s actually the opposite of what our program is,” says Jarosz, who adds that preservation is quite future-oriented. “With smart and intelligent decisions, existing buildings are quite adaptable,” he says.

While true restoration projects like Colonial Williamsburg are important, only a small percentage of graduates ever do this work. But almost all of today’s architects, Jarosz says, will be asked to repurpose existing buildings. (This is paraphrased, so it does not need quotation marks)

Historic Preservation Left Historic Preservation Left
Historic Preservation Right Historic Preservation Right

Misconception #2: Preservation freezes something in time.

Many post-World War II buildings relied on experimental technologies, some of which are no longer considered desirable, says Ashley R. Wilson, AIA, Graham Gund Architect for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
 
“Preservation is not just about protecting the beautiful but also culturally important places where events occurred that shaped our shared history.” - Ashley R. Wilson, AIA
 
Conserving historic architecture requires exterior materials that deliver lasting protection and distinctive design. A home siding and trim line made with modern, high-performance materials and the flexibility to look as authentic as the original.
 
Enter the Aspyre® Collection, which includes  Artisan V-Groove Siding, Artisan Lap Siding, Artisan Beaded Lap Siding, Artisan Bevel Channel  Siding, Artisan Shiplap Siding, and Artisan Square Channel Siding—all made with durable fiber cement,  providing fire, pest and weather protection.
 
Consider the climate of the region is a must when re-envisioning an aged structure. Each product in the Aspyre collection is Engineered for Climate®, which means they’re  able to stand up to the demands of the climate where installed. The materials resist shrinking, swelling and cracking even after years of hot, humid conditions and blistering sun in the south, and cool, windy, flood zones in the northwest.
 
Besides delivering lasting protection, the Aspyre Collection offers adaptable design in six different historic profiles. Each style is specifically formulated to match classic facades, so they can keep their durable-meets-distinguished look with lower maintenance as compared to wood or wood-based siding.
 
Artisan V-Groove delivers the traditional look of cedar siding with its smooth texture and mitered corners that evoke true craftsman style, just like the original. Artisan Lap siding comes in a range of widths, in smooth or woodgrain texture, and provides a long-standing structure with deep, eye-catching shadow lines. Artisan Shiplap and Beaded siding options—both common in historic design—match the look of authentic milled cedar siding by delivering distinct lines and coastal style.

The subtle differences between the horizontal planks of the Artisan Bevel Channel siding, which creates deep channels, and the Artisan Square Channel siding, which creates wide channels, can elevate a historic refresh project.
 
Preservation projects are flexible, allowing architects to preserve what is unique and irreplaceable while bringing a building up to modern safety or accessibility standards. It only makes sense, for example, to add modern earthquake protections to buildings on the West Coast or to provide buffers against flooding in high-risk areas.
 
When preserving a historic building that resides in a wildfire region, it’s reassuring to know that if the building is clad in the Aspyre Collection products, it will not ignite when exposed to direct flame, nor will it contribute fuel to a fire.

Home with Flowers Home with Flowers

Misconception #3: Not all eras produced architecture that’s worth preserving.

Someone who bashes “all homes built during the 1980s” or professes genuine hate for architecture of the 1970s may simply be too close to the time period to appreciate it.

“Age makes buildings more loved,” says Wilson. “Buildings go through an ugly cycle of around 30 to 60 years before they become loved again.”

What’s more, recognizing cultural importance goes beyond popularity or momentary beauty, says Jean Carroon, FAIA, who leads the preservation practice for Boston-based architecture firm Goody Clancy.

“There was a moment in time when people thought certain things were the right solution,” she says. Preservation is “a recognition that these things are all part of a sequence.”

Home with Open Window Home with Open Window

Misconception #4: Old buildings are built better.

Thick walls. Solid construction. Charles Darwin’s theory is sometimes applied to buildings, with people assuming that the “best” buildings have staying power.

“There is a certain ‘survival of the fittest’ inherent in preservation,” Wilson says. “Preservation is not just about protecting the beautiful but also culturally important places where events occurred that shaped our shared history.”

Williams remembers wondering about a plaque attached to an ordinary-looking row house in her home city of Washington, DC. Turns out it was the site of the city’s first African-American physician’s office.

“The most ordinary places,” Wilson says, “can be extraordinary.”

James Hardie fiber cement building products— including the Aspyre Collection – are a solution for historic preservation projects and meet the requirements of both modern building codes and historic review boards.­

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