Author Archives: Kate Kearney

Briggs-house-PMA-Willamalane-001

Briggs House Assessment

The Dorris Ranch Living History Park, in Springfield, Oregon, is currently stewarded by Willamalane Parks and Recreation District (WPRD). Compounding the unusual situation are the history, age, material, and conditions of the house. In order to guide the WPRD with long-range decisions regarding the Briggs House, the District sought an up-to-date exterior and interior condition assessment with potential rehabilitation options in support of current and future park programming needs, including as a source of income derived from continued residential use.The property, The Dorris Ranch Living History Farm, was listed as a National Register of Historic Places Historic District on June 22, 1988. While the Briggs House is located on the ranch property, it sits outside the boundaries of the historic district.

After discussing the main program activities that take place on Dorris Ranch with Willamalane Parks and Recreation District staff, PMA recommended three different program activities to yield four potential rehabilitation designs for the Briggs House. The first and second designs—Options 1A and 1B—exhibit two iterations of rental and classroom space to accommodate the primary public activities that the park hosts. Option 1A displays a design that combines these two types of spaces so that they can occur simultaneously. Every room in this design has an established spatial function. The major design concept for Option 1B differs from the first option in that all rooms in the building would be “flexible”, and can be used as needed for either rental or classroom space. If the Briggs House is rehabilitated, proposing a revision to the Dorris Ranch Historic District to include the property could prove beneficial in finding financial sources to help with the restoration process.

Future Trends for Architectural Conservation

As part of the sesquicentennial celebration of Canadian Confederation independence, the National Trust for Canada and the Association for Preservation Technology International co-sponsored the largest joint conference of heritage professionals. Over 1,100 attendees from twenty countries attended the week-long event focused both on technical issues and heritage planning.

The shear size of the conference was overwhelming, but the host city, Ottawa, (APTI) was an ideal venue because of its position as the capitol city of Canada, the quantity of heritage resources, including the Rideau Canal World Heritage Site, and beautiful world class museums and parks.

As with all APTI annual conferences, the week begins with two day long workshops highlighting the craft of preservation. This year’s workshops included Logs & Timbers, Masonry Mortars, and Digital Tools for Documentation. Masonry Mortars has been offered several times over the last five years at APTI conferences and is always popular demonstrating the continual need to understand mass masonry walls, their performance, and specialized products and skills required to restore and preserve the walls.
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How Robots Can Assist with Conservation
National Trust conferences, in both Canada and the United States offer many tours during the course of the conference and one of tours focused on robotics for heritage conservation. A conservation lab at Carlton University, founded after World War II and one of Ottawa’s public universities, has created a curriculum around the use of robotics to enhance the preservation craft of traditional materials. Conference attendees viewed a demonstration of a robotic arm manufactured in Germany, by the supplier of robotic arms to the automotive industry, with a custom built “hand” designed to hold stone cutting tools. As a demonstration, the Carlton University staff carved a block of sandstone scheduled to replace original material on the Canadian parliament buildings as part of a massive restoration effort. The demonstration was fascinating in the speed by which the robot carved the material with fine accuracy. Attendees were interested in the conservation aspect of the robot and asked about the stone cutting techniques and potential replacement of stone carvers.

Since the robot uses circular drill bits as cutting tools resulting in smoother finishes than traditional chisel cutting, some attendees were skeptical of the robot as a tool for capturing traditional stone techniques. As to the replacement of stone carvers, the response was straight forward: there are fewer and fewer trades personnel that know how to carve stone. The robot is envisioned as a method to allow traditional stone decoration to return to modern design.
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With seven separate tracks of Paper Sessions, it was impossible to take in the full offerings of the joint conference. The use of robots, technology, and computer software simulations continued throughout some of tracks of the Paper Sessions. Particularly interesting was hearing from archeologists in Italy and Chile that, unlike US archeologists, are involved in the documentation, history, and preservation of building materials. Using traditional archeological approaches to documentation and recordation, the archeologists combined their research, historic photographs, current images, on-site destructive testing in unique ways of explaining the chronology of construction and materials used.

Demonstrating the continued convergence of building envelop science with preservation science, many Paper Sessions focused on windows, energy retrofits, and the need to develop better science and research of traditional construction means and methods. One session on mass masonry walls hypothesized that mass masonry walls have a temperature ductility allowing them to expand during cold wet weather in order to accommodate the stress induced by freezing temperatures. One early study in the 1960’s documented the phenomena but without sufficient repeated testing. The engineer making the presentation asked for all those in the audience to create an accessible database of masonry performance in order to expand the collective knowledge base.
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The Future of Preservation Looks Modern
One of the plenary speakers called on heritage preservation to continue leadership in the adaptive reuse of existing buildings, specifically mid-century modern structures, because of the huge environmental impact conservation efforts will have on global warming, waste reduction, and heritage values.

Attendance at APTI national conferences are a great way to gain new knowledge, converse with professional peers, anticipate future trends, evaluate current business practices, and interact outside day to day professional demands.


Written by Peter Meijer, AIA, NCARB / Principal

Analysis: Best Practices for Providing Effective Daylight in Mid-Century Modern Structures.

DOCOMOMO_OREGON and the Northwest Chapter of the Association for Preservation Technology recently held an Energy Conservation Symposium that explored issues facing mid-century modern buildings: How can modern historic buildings comply with today’s energy conservation standards? Is it possible to maintain the integrity of the historic building materials and aesthetics while also meeting new energy conservation requirements?

At PMA we believe that while challenging, it is possible to maintain the integrity of these historic mid-century modern buildings and meet new energy conservation requirements. In an effort to explore this possibility, we submitted an abstract for the symposium, and Halla Hoffer, AIA, subsequently presented on Best Practices for Providing Effective Daylight in Mid-Century Modern Structures.
on Best Practices for Providing Effective Daylight in Mid-Century Modern Structures


Background
Effective daylighting can reduce both lighting and cooling loads while improving user comfort, satisfaction, and health. Despite plentiful glass, using daylight in mid-century modern building can be challenging. Glare and uneven light distribution can cause user discomfort and pose challenges to effectively daylighting spaces. Frequently, artificial lighting is used to balance lighting in spaces over lit by the sun, negating any potential energy savings. For existing buildings, the available methods to provide effective daylighting are limited by the existing constructions and configuration. To both preserve existing structures and provide ample daylight a critical question must be answered – what are the best practices for improving daylight in existing buildings? This study provides insight to daylighting existing structures, specifically, how light can be controlled and distributed in mid-century modern buildings with plentiful glazing.

1963 Residential Tower
This study explores and analyzes how common daylighting strategies can be implemented on existing mid-century modern structures. The study focuses on a sixteen-story 1963 residential tower in Portland, Oregon, and explores how interior reflectivity, interior/exterior light shelves, shading, and glazing can impact daylight availability and distribution. The study looks at a variety of ways each strategy can be implemented and analyzes the results to determine best practices based on daylight distribution/availability, glare, lighting loads, and heating/cooling loads.
on Best Practices for Providing Effective Daylight in Mid-Century Modern Structures

Tools Used for the Specifics of Analysis
Emerging tools and technologies provide effective methods of analyzing hundreds of different daylighting simulations. Applications such as Grasshopper and Dynamo, which are visual programming environments for Rhinoceros 3D and Revit respectively, allow users to explore a variety of different design interventions and determine optimal solutions. Prior to starting the daylight analysis, we began with a “base geometry” of the existing conditions that we modeled in Rhinoceros 3D. We then developed a Grasshopper file to create daylighting interventions. For this study the interventions consisted of interior light shelves and exterior shading devices based on numerical inputs for shelf depth and height. Using Grasshopper in lieu of traditional 3D modeling allowed us to systematically test multiple variations of intervention geometry. In addition to studying how new geometries would impact daylighting we also studied how existing/new materials could impact daylighting performance.
on Best Practices for Providing Effective Daylight in Mid-Century Modern Structures

The daylighting analysis was performed using DIVA for Rhino, a plug-in that performs daylighting and energy analysis directly in Rhino. DIVA also offers several Grasshopper nodes, allowing the analysis to be controlled and managed directly in Grasshopper. For this analysis the primary results we extracted and used to measure performance included:

  • Annual Daylight: Percentage of time space receives at least 300 lux. This value can be mapped over the area under analysis. Typically, areas that receive 300 lux at least 50% of the time have the potential for daylighting.
  • Spatial Daylight Autonomy (sDA): Percentage of a space that receives 300 lux for at least 50% of the annual occupied hours. This metric provides a single number for quickly determining daylight potential. A value over 55 indicates that daylighting will be at a minimum nominally accepted by occupants. A value over 75 denotes a space where daylighting will likely be preferred by occupants.
  • Annual Sunlight Exposure (ASE): Percentage of a space that receives over 1,000 lux for at least 250 hours per year. High values indicate that the space may be overlit and cause glare/discomfort.
  • Daylight Factor: A ratio comparing light levels on the interior of the structure to the light levels on the exterior. Typically, a value under 2% indicates that the space cannot be adequately daylit, a value between 2%-5% is preferred for daylighting, and a value over 5% indicates that the space is well daylight, but may be overlit.
  • on Best Practices for Providing Effective Daylight in Mid-Century Modern Structures

    Conclusions
    Reflective interior surfaces can have a significant impact on daylight distribution.

    Without any shading there is a high probability for glare according to ASE and DF values.

    Interior light shelves alone can reduce the ASE values and the probability of glare.

    Interior light shelves alone are not as effective as exterior shading devices in reducing glare.

    A combination of reflective interior materials, interior light shelves, and exterior shading devices is the most effective method to provide adequate levels and even distribution of light.


    Written and presented by Halla Hoffer, AIA, Associate

    Assessing a Historic House in Springfield, Oregon

    Owning, maintaining, and providing active use within a single family settlement era house is not a typical mission for a public parks agency. One such property is the Reynold & Eva Briggs House located in the northeast corner of the Dorris Ranch Living History Farm, in Springfield, Oregon, currently stewarded by Willamalane Parks and Recreation District (WPRD). Compounding the unusual situation is that the area is a historic site, a working farm, and a public park. In addition the property’s history, age, material, and conditions of the house add further complexity to the stewardship role. In order to guide the WPRD with long-range decisions regarding the Briggs House, the District sought an up to date exterior and interior condition assessment and potential rehabilitation options in support of current and future park programming needs, including as a source of income derived from continued residential use. The Briggs House has not been occupied since its last resident left in 2009.
    Briggs-House

    The Assessment
    The property, The Dorris Ranch Living History Farm, was listed as a National Register of Historic Places Historic District on June 22, 1988. While the Briggs House is located on the ranch property, it sits outside the boundaries of the historic district.

    As researched by University of Oregon historic preservation students, the settlement era house is one of the five oldest houses in the Springfield area and one of the city’s few remaining examples of box construction from the Homestead era. The oldest portion of the house—the two-story volume and its eastern wing—was originally constructed by George Thurston in 1872, and later served as the home of caretakers Reynold and Eva Briggs. Once vernacular in the Willamette Valley, the house exhibits a Gothic-influenced upright-and-wing style of construction and was expanded in the 1890’s to accommodate the changing needs of its residents.

    Typical of early homestead sites, the Briggs House was constructed without a foundation. The original substructure that continues to support the house consists of partially hewn wood posts on stone piers set directly on the ground surface. Utilizing the box-construction method, 1-inch by 11-inch boards were set vertically and connected to the 7-inch by 9-inch sill plate and ledger plate above the posts to create a “box” form without the use of other framing members. Two-inch by 4-inch roof rafters were then set above the top ledger plates. Floor joists, the original board-and-battens wall siding, and roof panels were added to the house after its basic skeletal structure had been completed. The original wall siding was replaced with weatherboards at an unknown date. Portions of this siding were later replaced with shiplap in the 1890’s, and the entire exterior was later covered with T-111 siding in the 1970’s.
    Briggs-House

    The Rehabilitation Challenges
    After discussing the main program activities that take place on Dorris Ranch with Willamalane Parks and Recreation District staff, PMA recognized the primary challenge to any rehabilitation options was the balance between maintaining the historic character of the house and meeting all the code requirements mandated by a rehabilitation, including public access, universal access, and mechanical, electrical, energy, and plumbing upgrades. Previous studies undertaken by Restore Oregon on similar settlement era houses indicated that a balance must be reached between preserving the essence of the house while changing and modifying other portions of the house and property to achieve programming needs. Complicating the Briggs House options are siting of the house within an active area of the park, the two story volume, the lack of an adequate structural foundation, and accommodating large classroom needs within original tiny floor plans. Every room of the historic property has an established spatial function and are tiny in size. Any rehabilitation option must consider that all rooms in the house would be “flexible” and be used as needed for a variety of purposes.

    The Potential Role of Historic Status
    Willamalane Parks and Recreation District currently stewards the Briggs House as a historic property by maintaining and protecting the property from encroachment by nature, animal and pest infestation, and unsafe use by park visitors. Inclusion of the property within the district as a contributing resource has both pro and con impacts. Inclusion within an expanded boundary of the current National Register Dorris Ranch Historic District could prove beneficial in finding financial sources to help with a rehabilitation although the available funds are likely insignificant when evaluated against the full cost required to upgrade the Briggs house to a public structure. On the other hand, including the property in the district may prove problematic for WPRD as it may limit, or make more difficult, viable and creative rehabilitation options that would not be approved by the local jurisdiction having authority.
    Briggs-House

    It is generally agreed that house museums (properties that are preserved as homes to be visited by the public) are not financially prudent uses to retain historic properties. Recent studies conclude that a compromise must occur between balancing original historic character with up to date and flexible programming space to achieve viable long-term solutions for unique homestead-era properties.

    Written By Marion Rosas and Peter Meijer, AIA, NCARB / Principal

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    Clark County Poor Farm Historic District, National Register Historic District Nomination

    Peter Meijer Architect, PC (PMA) was retained by the Clark County Community Planning Department to write and submit a National Register nomination for the Clark County Poor Farm Historic District. PMA consulted with the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation regarding the National Register eligibility of the Clark County Poor farm and worked with Clark County staff to prepare a National Register of Historic Places District nomination for the Clark County Poor Farm Site. The nomination involved a district boundary evaluation and explanation, along with a thoroughly researched and detailed description of the district and its resources, the historic context and the overall historic significance the district.

    PMA conducted on-site fieldwork to gather physical data to describe the district and its character-defining resources and features. The nomination addressed the 7 aspects of historic integrity: location, setting, design, materials, workmanship, association and feeling and how these aspects highlight and impact the significance of the district.

    PMA supplemented the physical descriptions with research that supports the historic context and will develop a narrative that describes the district’s significant history and National Register eligibility. Research included local sources such as newspapers and the Historical Society, state records on poor farms, and the development history of the surrounding area. PMA’s research combined past studies to develop a thorough and effective district nomination. Clark County Poor Farm was added to the National Register on January 7th, 2013.

    Abstract: Best Practices for Providing Effective Daylight in Mid-Century Modern Structures

    When we think of energy conservation standards for our built environment an increasing amount of existing buildings do not comply with today’s standards. A large portion of these existing buildings are from the mid-century modern era. Additionally, mid-century modern buildings are approaching historic status, if not already there. This status compounds finding the best way to integrate current energy standards because aesthetic impacts to a historic resource must be kept to a minimum. At PMA we believe that while challenging, it is possible to maintain the integrity of historic mid-century modern buildings while meeting new energy conservation requirements. In an effort to explore this possibility, we have submitted an abstract for an upcoming Energy Conservation in Mid-Century Modern Buildings Symposium presented jointly by APT Northwest and DOCOMOMO_Oregon.
    window-detail
    Abstract: Best Practices for Providing Effective Daylight in Mid-Century Modern Structures
    Effective daylighting can reduce both lighting and cooling loads while improving user comfort, satisfaction, and health. Despite plentiful glass, using daylight in mid-century modern building can be challenging. Glare and uneven light distribution can cause user discomfort and pose challenges to effectively daylighting spaces. Frequently, artificial lighting is used to balance lighting in spaces over lit by the sun, negating any potential energy savings. For existing buildings, the available methods to provide effective daylighting are limited by the existing constructions and configuration. To both preserve existing structures and provide ample daylight a critical question must be answered – what are the best practices for improving daylight in existing buildings? This study provides insight to daylighting existing structures, specifically, how light can be controlled and distributed in mid-century modern buildings with plentiful glazing.

    Emerging tools and technologies provide effective methods of analyzing hundreds of different daylighting simulations. Applications such as Grasshopper and Dynamo allow users to explore a variety of different design interventions and determine optimal solutions. This study explores and analyzes how common daylighting strategies can be implemented on existing mid-century modern structures. The study focuses on a 1963 residential tower in Portland, Oregon, and explores how interior reflectivity, interior/exterior light shelves, shading, and glazing can impact daylight availability and distribution. The study looks at a variety of ways each strategy can be implemented and analyzes the results to determine best practices based on daylight distribution/availability, glare, lighting loads, and heating/cooling loads.

    Speaker Bio
    Halla Hoffer, AIA
    Associate / Peter Meijer Architect, PC

    Halla is passionate about rehabilitating historic and existing architecture by integrating the latest energy technologies to maintain the structures inherent sustainability. Halla joined PMA in 2012 and was promoted to Associate in 2016. She is a specialist in energy and environmental management, as well as building science performance for civic, educational, and residential resources. Halla meets the Secretary of the Interior’s Historic Preservation Professional Qualification Standards (36 CFR Part 61).

    Integrating Universal Access with Historic Architecture

    Oregon State University (OSU) is dedicated to providing universal accessibility throughout its Corvallis campus. The historic Memorial Union building opened in 1927, and is an important gathering place on campus. In its current configuration, the rotunda entry access poses challenges to complying with current ADA Standards for Accessible Design. PMA with our multidisciplinary team members are addressing how to improve the arrival experience starting from the Quad by focusing on the front door as the primary accessible entry, while retaining the buildings historic integrity. With an integrated approach there will be a primary travel path for all.

    The existing limitations of accessibility to the MU are the existing ramps do not lead to the front entrance and the circulation through the rotunda requires use of non-compliant ramps. The existing exterior 1980s ramps were built interior of the terrace’s balustrade wall and access is not intuitive and requires signage. They take up significant portion of the historic terrace with circulation and railings.
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    OPPORTUNITY FOR INTEGRATING UNIVERSAL ACCESS
    The renovation of OSU MU Rotunda provides an opportunity to highlight the integration of universal access to historic properties. The vision for a new accessible path is integrated into the highly ordered Neo-classical design of the MU creating a symmetrical entry on either side of the grand entry stairs facing the quad. The design seeks to reactivate the formal side terraces by eliminating the clutter of handrails and circulation space that currently breaks up the space.

    The new accessible pathway will be a sloped walkway along the exterior of the existing balustrade wall of the terraces. A 4.5 % sloped walkway will be integrated into the landscape and will free the space of guardrails. This will result in greater visibility of the accessible means of access to the building and restore the original spatial function of the terraces. Another slope walkway will lead from the terrace to the front entrance and will be integrated into a tiered landscape and informal setting area. The new design will reactive the terraces by streamlining circulation and providing new seating opportunities.

    PROPOSED DESIGN OPTIONS
    Two design options were explored for this scheme. The first design option removes a portion of the balustrade wall closest to the grand entry. This would open up views of the entry and terrace to the quad and provide additional visibility of the accessible pathway. The second option would leave the balustrade wall in place and would create more of an intimate feel along the terrace. Below are renderings of the first design option.
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    pmapdx-osu-mu-accessible-design
    pmapdx-osu-mu-accessible-design

    We will update this entry as the project develops. Stay tuned!

    Written by Hali Knight.

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    Northwest Portland Residential Kitchen Desgin

    PMA was commissioned for the remodel of a kitchen in a historic Queen Anne home in Kings Hill Historic District. PMA’s design included a new cabinet layout, counters, new appliances, lighting, and a refinished floor. The new design addresses the lack of counter space and dysfunction of the current layout, while providing a sophisticated aesthetic.

    At the core of the design is the material and color palette. The cool grey scheme put together by PMA reflected the client’s taste. The cool shadow grey of the walls is juxtaposed by the Nordic white finish of the cabinets. Cornice is introduced back into the kitchen and matches the color of the cabinets. The counters are Bristol blue granite, 2 cm deep, which complement the color of the walls. Tile along the backsplash is a geometric matte white porcelain tile. The lower cabinets are solid wood, Brookhaven Pasadena recessed door panels and solid faced draws, with a matte painted finish. This style is neat style where the cabinetry frames is with flush draw and door panels. To open the space, the upper cabinets feature frosted glass central panels.The feature lighting are simple pendant globe lights over the center bar and small flush-mount blubs symmetrically placed throughout the kitchen. Under cabinet lights enable work station lighting at each counter surface, while the upper cabinets are lit from behind to create ambient lighting. PMA proposed 3 refinish options for the hardwood floor. The client’s preference was to match the floors in the rest of the house. The preferred option is a warm honey oak finish, which compliments the overall cool grey color schemes and highlights the blue granite counters. The additional two options provide a more contrasted tonal option that allows the kitchen to be differentiated from the rest of the house.

    Preservation Month 2017

    May is Preservation Month! Review ten (10) handy preservation resources:

    ONE – We explore some factors and opinions on new construction in Historic Districts.
    PMAPDX OSU Buildable Landarea

    TWO – An iconic example of a landmarked building less than 50 years old.
    portland-building-pmapdx-nomination

    THREE – Visit Oregon’s SHPO website to browse historic sites, NR listings, & available grants.
    Union Station Historic/Seismic Renovation

    FOUR – Get to know your local architectural styles from the 1840s – 1970s.
    Hillsboro J-B House

    FIVE – Pledge your support for a rehabilitated VMC because this place matters.


    SIX – How you can find a historic place in the state of Washington.
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    SEVEN – Tax Incentives for Preserving Historic Properties.
    USCH Courtyard

    EIGHT – Oregon’s Most Endangered Places via Restore Oregon.
    PMAPDX modern survey historic photo

    NINE – Keeping It Modern. An architectural conservation grants for 20th century buildings.


    TEN – How Historic Preservation is Reviving America’s Communities.
    Hillsboro_OrencoInventory

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    Joseph Vance Building

    At the request of Jonathan Rose Companies/Kidder Mathews, Peter Meijer Architect, PC, (PMA) was retained to provide a limited exterior condition assessment of the terra cotta veneer at the Joseph Vance Building in Seattle, WA. PMA was initially contracted to observe repair work being performed by Pioneer Masonry Restoration (Pioneer). While onsite several significant deficiencies were noted on the west elevation. PMA recommended a complete assessment of the west elevation to understand the source of the observed deficiencies. Exterior observations were conducted from swing stage equipment located on the west elevation of the building. The south elevation was observed during review of Pioneer’s repair work and is discussed in the following report, however detailed observations on the elevation were not included in this scope of work. The short east elevation was also not assessed as part of this investigation. The purpose of the assessment was to provide Jonathan Rose Companies/Kidder Mathews with an understanding of the existing conditions, potential causes of terra cotta deterioration and repair recommendations.

    The Joseph Vance Building was built in 1929 .The building is fourteen stories high and constructed with a concrete structure and concrete infill between structural columns. The west and south elevations have a decorative terra cotta veneer facade. On the east elevation the primary material is painted concrete/stucco, with a small section of terra cotta veneer along the southern most portion of the structure. The north elevation is entirely painted concrete/stucco.