Green place: Sustaining historic buildings
Torento, Marissa Shannon
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Statement of issue/problem . As we move towards a sustainable future in design, architecture and lifestyle, the major issues with developing sustainably in a built environment that seem to arise are existing structures and how to renovate or replace them to become less damaging or carbon neutral. One of the major elements of this issue is dealing with historic structures. Historic buildings are not only economic drivers for tourism and local leisure activities, but also give a location a sense of place. How do we, as designers, amend ideas about historic restoration to allow a longer lifespan and a carbon neutral continuation of "life" to historic places? Statement of significant issues . While new construction is moving into a "green" mindset at an increasing rate, the questions about solving world-reaching sustainability comes down to acknowledging and improving the structures we already have. History is tied to many places, and when dealing with certain buildings, historic preservation guidelines become a focus and sometimes a hindrance to specific design strategies or implementations. The question therefore is how to maintain the design intentions and historic elements of a structure while at the same time changing the way the building functions in regards to energy, environmental impact, and sustainability. Methods of inquiry : The methodology of this thesis was completed in four stages; research, analysis, charrette and design. The research component consisted of developing background information on the selected building (Statler Towers), historic preservation, sustainable design and local codes, regulations and other driving forces that could influence the project outcome. Case studies were also analyzed in relation to building size, project specifications, and contextual similarities. The analysis stage has composed of analyzing Statler Towers in its existing form and conditions for energy use, water use and other factors based on computer programs and typical information available on building type consumption rates. The charrette stage was used to examine the basics of developed sustainable practices, as well as to further investigate how to adapt these concepts to an existing building project. This lead to the development of the design stage in which selected design ideas were developed and analyzed for the overall benefit on initiation on Statler Towers. Outcome . The product of this thesis is the following text, explaining the process through which the conclusions were developed as well as containing the final design proposal for sustainable historic rehabilitation of Statler Towers. The document examines not only the background on why Statler Towers should be deemed historically relevant, but also why the original intentions of the Statler design lead to the ease of development of sustainable practices within the building. The document assesses how the two ideals, historic preservation and sustainable design, can be melded together to use Statler Towers as a leader in Buffalo and beyond for historic preservation and sustainable futures.