Track 7: REGENERATION – COMMUNITY, ECONOMICS, and EQUITABLE PLACES / Volet 7: Régénération – Collectivité, économie et lieux équitables

Sustainable Preservation of America's Historic Post Offices

Friday, October 13
10:30 AM - 12:15 PM

Since 2008, the federal government has decommissioned over 200 U.S. Post Offices, with over 50 of these listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. This decommissioning caused by the United States Postal Services’ budgetary constraints and the decline of the use of postal services in recent decades poses a growing concern for local community groups and the preservation community because these buildings have historically defined the downtowns of many cities across the country and provided each community a tangible link to the federal government. These post offices expressed this role through the civic presence of these buildings, the high artistic merit of their architecture and art, and the economic stimulus provided by their construction, maintenance, and operations.

Through adaptive reuse, many of these historic post offices can continue to play a vital role in their communities. The post offices have several shared characteristics in their location, siting, and design that provide opportunities for new interventions to meet contemporary needs. One example of this is the Santa Barbara Post Office, which this paper will use as a case study to demonstrate the feasibility of adaptively reusing these buildings and deriving design strategies applicable to future adaptive reuses of other historic post offices.

The adaptive reuse of these post offices would also provide an opportunity to explore the value of “sustainable preservation” anchored by the four pillars of the environment, economics, social equity, and cultural heritage. Their quality and durability of the materials, flexible planning, opportunities for additions, downtown locations, and the architectural merit of the original building make them capable of accommodating contemporary uses within this four-fold framework while retaining the historic post offices for their communities.

Learning Objectives:

Mark F. Perdiguerra

Cal Poly Pomona

Mark Perdiguerra completed his Masters in Architecture degree with a concentration in Historic Preservation in June 2017 at Cal Poly Pomona. His research interests include sustainability in historic preservation, design opportunities in adaptive reuse, and how cultural identity is expressed through the built environment. He now currently works at Carey & Co., A TreanorHL Company as a Preservation Designer.


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Robert Pajot

Project Lead
National Trust for Canada


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Sustainable Preservation of America's Historic Post Offices

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