One proponent of that movement is Michael Sackler, an architectwith Ives, Schier & Lesser Architecture Studio in Fair Lawn.While structures with historic significance continue to be amongthe most popular candidates for preservation, IS&L is seeing astepped-up number of restoration efforts prompted by environmentalconsciousness.

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"People have always been interested in preserving existingbuildings, especially when the property has some type ofsignificance in the community," Sackler says. "More recently, theconservational benefits of reusing older structures have become amajor focus. In short, reuse is one of the best things you can doto preserve resources, and building modernization also frequentlyallows the incorporation of energy-efficient elements. In addition,depending on the level of the rehabilitation, repairs can be farless costly than rebuilding."

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One example, Sackler says, is PS 34 in Jersey City, designed bylocally renowned architect John Rowland and built in 1911. Theaging school building was in need of window replacement to correcta growing water infiltration issue, and IS&L was retained asdesigner for the project. The firm brought a preservationspecialist to consult on the building's historic terra cotta andbrickwork.

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"It was understood that we would preserve as much of theoriginal façade as possible and that we would replace any piecesbeyond salvation with closely color-matched materials," Sacklerrecalls. "By using a similar mortar color and joint size inrepairing the brick facing, we were able to create a seamlesstransition between what remained and what is new."

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According to Sackler, razing and rebuilding PS 34 was consideredbut rejected for a number of reasons, including its architecturalsignificance. Beyond that, however, rebuilding would have cost morethan double the repair budget.

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"The quality of new construction cannot match that of olderstructures," Sackler says. "In the particular case of PS 34, itwould have been cost-prohibitive to recreate the brick and terracotta detailing."

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Because the work on the school was deemed a "necessary repair,"the project was not subject to the scrutiny of the local or statehistoric preservation societies. Many projects, however, do requireapproval by these types of organizations. For example, in Hoboken,IS&Lis currently involved in an adaptive-reuse and addition forthe local YMCA, which was constructed in the 1920s.

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"While this is not a historic preservation project perse, the neighborhood does have historic overtones," Sacklerexplains. "As such, the Hoboken Historic District had input on thefinal design of the addition's exterior. We had to maintain certainaspects of the original façade, and we were required to set the newportion of the building back from the street corner with the mostprominent view of the property."

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The assignment included a total rehab of the YMCA's health andrecreation areas and a total gut rehab and addition to thebuilding's residency component. According to Sackler, the latterportion of the project provides a great example of how "green"design elements can be brought in during the modernization of anolder property.

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"A portion of this project is being funded by the State of NewJersey under the 'Green Futures' program," he explains. "Toqualify, we had to meet certain Energy Star requirements on the newwindows, insulation and mechanical equipment."

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Beyond that, and in a general context, the goals of historicpreservation, energy conservation and cost efficiency can findthemselves in conflict, says Sackler. So it's important to considereach project individually.

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"Sometimes, the historic significance of a structure, both toits owner and its community, can outweigh the more practicalconsiderations of cost and efficiency," he explains.

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One example: IS&L has been retained to replace, in kind, the100-year-old red slate roof of Westminster Hall at BloomfieldCollege, for which the firm serves as campus architect. This raretype of slate is available only at one quarry in Upstate New York,and college officials have decided to pay a premium for thematerial.

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"Replacing the roof with red asphalt would be far lessexpensive, and a lighter color material would adhere better to'green' standards," he says. "But there's little chance that such adeparture from the original material would be allowed, as it woulddegrade the integrity of this beautiful old building."

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The college is in the process of applying for preservationgrants from the state to help pay for this project. "Part of thestate's criteria for awarding this type of funding is that thebuilding plays a vital role within the life of its community,"Sackler says. "In this case, Westminster Hall is an architecturallydistinct element of this iconic campus. It's also open as a venuefor local arts programs and public presentations. Preserving it inits original state is the logical choice."

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According to Sackler, the practice of restoration encompassessuch a broad spectrum of work that what he terms the "correctapproach" is consideration of each project's uniquecircumstances.

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"Re-using an old building is inherently efficient," heconcludes. "At the outset, the most important thing to do is toestablish what is there in the first place. It then becomespossible to envision a revitalization that, ideally, works tobalance history, modernization and cost."

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