Historic Preservation Planning

Historic Preservation

Preservation planning documents are often the first step towards restoration or reuse of an existing building or site. Understanding the history, chronology and current condition of a site is important in identifying the cause of its deterioration. Through these investigations, the best course for the site’s future can be determined. Such studies can range from small feasibility studies and condition assessment reports to the more thorough historic preservation plans and historic structures reports.

KCA provides all the architectural services required for a planning document in-house. KCA will complete archival research including maintenance records, determines a site’s chronology, and provides the full range of on-site documentation including building condition investigations and non-destructive testing. As both an architectural conservator and a registered architect, Kate Cowing’s depth of knowledge makes KCA uniquely qualified to complete planning documents. Kate has taught the process of investigation at the university level. A trained historic preservation professional, she enjoys completing historic research whether in the archives or studying the building itself. As a conservator, she has expertise in the deterioration and repair of historic building materials and as an architect, she has an in-depth understanding of building codes including accessibility. KCA works regularly with subconsultants, such as structural and mechanical engineers, who also have expertise in historic building materials.

The planning study will provide recommendations for the repair or restoration including cost estimates. The recommendations are organized into projects and if necessary, are broken down into priority phases to meet the client’s needs and budget. Through this rational, systematic process, these plans provide a path towards the building’s future.

Zion Annex, 1942, Courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Zion Annex, 1942, Courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Wissahickon Trails Headquarters, Ambler, PA. Courtesy of Wissahickon Trails.
Wissahickon Trails Headquarters, Ambler, PA. Courtesy of Wissahickon Trails.
Historic postcard, Courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Historic postcard, Courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Grants are a typical method of partially funding historic preservation projects. Grants are offered from many states, federal agencies, and private organizations such as Partners for Sacred Places and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. However, these are very competitive, and it is critical to prove that the applicant is well-organized, and the proposed project is well thought-out. Including a preservation planning document with an application is essential. It shows the grant reviewers that the proposed project is researched and planned by professionals and that there is reasoned backing behind the recommended project. Grants are even available to fund the preservation plans themselves. KCA has assisted numerous clients with successful grant applications.

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