Historic Green Mountain Lookout Now Saved!

Posted on: April 17th, 2014 by Brian R. Turner No Comments

 

This post originally appeared on the PreservationNation blog.

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Amid the devastation following a landslide near the rural town of Darrington, Washington, President Obama has signed a bill into law to save the threatened Green Mountain fire lookout, an emblem of the region’s heritage.

On April 3, U.S. Senator Patty Murray offered moving testimony regarding the importance of the site to the affected community:

As Sen. Murray put it, "[Green Mountain Lookout is] a place where parents have brought their kids for generations to appreciate the splendor of the great outdoors in the Northwest. And it’s a place that has been a vital source of tourism-related income for the people who’ve been impacted by this deadly landslide that has struck this region."... Read More →

Innovation, Sustainability, and Historic Buildings

Posted on: April 15th, 2014 by Special Contributor No Comments

 

By: Roger Chang, PE, Assoc AIA, ASHRAE BEMP, LEED AP

The renovation of the Aspinall Federal Building in Grand Junction, Colo., demonstrates how to make an existing historic building perform with very low energy use. |  Credit: Kevin G. Reeves; Courtesy of Westlake Reed Leskosky

The renovation of the Aspinall Federal Building in Grand Junction, Colo., demonstrates how to make an existing historic building perform with very low energy use. | Credit: Kevin G. Reeves; Courtesy of Westlake Reed Leskosky

A major goal of historic preservation is to retain qualities intrinsic to the building from its period of identified significance. Sometimes, however, it can be challenging to fit modern technology into older buildings and still retain their historic character. The renovation of GSA’s Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Grand Junction, Colo., illustrates how energy-efficient systems can be integrated into a historic building in a low impact way.

Constructed in 1918, this Renaissance Revival-style building is one of the city’s most important and architecturally refined civic structures. This National Register-listed building is also historically significant because of its association with Wayne N. Aspinall, an important U.S. congressional leader. Rededicated in February 2013, the renovated Aspinall houses the U.S. District Courts and serves several federal tenants, including the IRS, GSA, Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Justice, and the U.S. senator’s office.

For this project, GSA Rocky Mountain Region, Design-Build Partners of The Beck Group, and Westlake Reed Leskosky were able to transform the building into an innovative, sustainable model through the use of solar roof panels and a GeoExchange system and by reducing energy consumption by building occupants. Every energy use was scrutinized and optimized, starting with the building enclosure and lighting systems. By reducing demand for energy, HVAC systems could be downsized to allow for better fit within existing spatial constraints. The following approaches formed the heart of the project:... Read More →

Restoring Washington National Cathedral

Posted on: April 14th, 2014 by Elizabeth Byrd Wood No Comments

 

Dancefloor looking west from rolling scaffold | Courtesy of  National Cathedral

"Dance floor" looking west from rolling scaffold | Courtesy of National Cathedral

Staff call it the dance floor in jest. And indeed, with the reflected red and blue light swirling along the wide expanse of plywood flooring, it does bear a slight resemblance to a set from the movie Saturday Night Fever. But the similarities end there. The so-called dance floor is really scaffolding, constructed 65 feet above the nave floor at the west end of the iconic Washington National Cathedral. From this lofty perch, the rose window is close enough to touch, and the view down the nave following the rhythmic line of the ribbed Gothic arches is both dizzying and mesmerizing.

The scaffolding represents just a small step along the way of a long journey embarked upon by the Cathedral--a journey which began abruptly on August 23, 2011, when an earthquake struck the East Coast. The quake caused significant damage to the church, affecting the pinnacles of the central tower and the flying buttresses around the apse at the east end of the Cathedral. Even one of the much-loved gargoyles came loose from its perch.... Read More →