6 Different Ways to Save Historical Buildings


Although every structure and the danger it faces is different, the majority of strategies for preserving historic buildings may be categorized into one of these five groups.

These categories cover strategies that you can implement to convince developers to adjust their plans, rally community support behind a common vision for the building, or take severe action to rescue a structure from being completely destroyed.

In the end, you should be able to locate a category that corresponds to your circumstances and enables you to maintain your structure for the benefit of future generations.

1. Preservation

The history of the building, including how it has been occupied over the course of its existence, must be preserved in order to be considered historically significant.

It is important to preserve the original building materials, even while doing so may increase the overall expense of the preservation process and restrict how the structure can be used in the future.

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2. Restoration

The goal of historic restoration, a subfield of preservation, is to bring a historic house or other structure back to the state it occupied during a particular era of history.

For the purpose of restoring a structure to the manner in which it appeared during a specific time period, this approach involves consulting historic documentation (such as blueprints and pictures) and making use of the original building materials and methods.

As a result of the immersive educational experience that it offers, this approach is highly recommended for historical organizations and museums that wish to recreate the appearance and atmosphere of a specific time period.

3. Rehabilitation

The goal of building rehabilitation is to ensure that the structure can continue to serve its intended purpose after the necessary maintenance and renovations have been completed.

It is permissible to make additions and upgrades, but special attention must be paid to the parts of the building that hold historical or cultural significance in order to preserve them.

4. Adaptive Reuse

A historic structure can be preserved through the practice of adaptive reuse, which entails changing the building’s original function. The building’s interior can be adapted to serve new purposes while preserving the building’s historic features at the same time.

The most common instances of adaptive reuse are converting an old warehouse into expensive apartments, re-purposing a factory or industrial structure into retail or museum space, and turning a historic house into an office.

5. Mothball

There are instances when looking to the future for the restoration of a historic building is the greatest option. It is possible that you are unable to restore the historic structure at this time due to factors such as a lack of cash, regulations from the government, or a lack of a clear vision or purpose for the building’s future purpose.

In this scenario, the most prudent thing to do would probably be to put the project on hold and put the structure into storage until you can properly restore it.

This indicates that the structure will remain vacant, shuttered, and guard against any more damage or wear and tear that may occur.

As was the case with the Jewish Historical Society structure in Washington, District of Columbia, the objective is to maintain the historic structure in a state of preparedness until either you are ready to properly conserve the building or your preparations are finished. This was the situation in Washington, District of Columbia.

6. Move

There are situations in which a historically significant structure cannot be preserved in its native setting. The only option available is to physically move the building to a new location, and this must be done regardless of whether the problem was caused by forces of nature, determined developers, or landowners.

Moving a historic structure is a significantly better conclusion than having the entire building end up in a landfill, even though some historians and members of the community may lament the separation of the building from its original location.