Track 1: Decline vs. Revival: Tempering the Impulse to Tear Down and Start Over

General Abstract

Developing a Business Case for Conservation

Wednesday, September 26
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: HYATT-Grand B

“Developing a Business Case for Conservation”

As architects, we are fortunate to work closely with developers at a project’s inception. What that often means is that we begin the complex client-architect relationship with a feasibility study to help them understand both the challenges and opportunities that face them in any given project. More and more we find ourselves working with medium to larger development groups who have purchased property containing heritage assets. Like us, they are intuitively drawn to the rich history, unique materials and beautiful textures of these buildings. However, as prime investors, they are also keenly tuned into the economics of a project. It is our job to evaluate the viability of their vision and help them build a case for conservation.

While these buildings are beautiful, there are some challenging realities facing even the boldest developers regarding the potential cost of restoration. We must help our clients look more broadly. Beyond the cost of masonry, slate or stained glass, we must first help them establish what the building will be used for, who will frequent it, use it and operate it. Next we must work together to understand the changes that will be made as a result of new codes, sustainable design practices, new density / new uses to ensure that these assets will continue to exist into the future.

The following questions are linked to a relevant case study illustrating some valuable lessons:

• We want urban revival not more museums: what is the role of programming and making meaningful connections with existing and new businesses or community groups to determine viable long term uses.
o Cotton Factory in Hamilton (Rob Zeildler)

• Growing up: what is the role of density and building additions: helping clients identify the challenges and opportunities with tying existing buildings directly or indirectly within large scale developments.
o Huck Glove and Kaufman House in Kitchener (Zehr Group and Momentum)

• Know thy neighborhood: How does adaptive reuse contribute to a city’s vibrancy in the way it relates to a specific place or culture (e.g. how do these buildings respond to working class roots and a growing art scene in a place like Hamilton, or Buffalo)
o Tivoli, Hamilton (Diamante Group)

• Have a Plan B: what if the original use or partner falls through? How to create a resilient design strategy which can conserve the building in more than one scenario.
o Preston Springs, Cambridge (Paul De Haas)

• Preparing for the worst: What if it fails beyond your best efforts? How does the planning process help or hinder?
o The Connolly, Hamilton (lessons learned and signs of hope)

Learning Objectives:


Drew Hauser

Drew Hauser, Director, HONS. VIS. ARTS., B.ARCH., OAA, MRAIC, CAHP

As Director, an artist and businessman, Drew is passionate about shaping environments that put our clients’ objectives at the forefront. He has been instrumental in creating one-of-a-kind designs, with a specific focus on integrating design concepts within the context of historically-sensitive facilities. With more than 20 years of experience, Drew consistently demonstrates his ability to develop complex programmes and ground breaking designs. Drew has personally invested and re-imagined 5 historic projects that he owns providing insight as a heritage consultant and developer. Drew works with the owners and stewards of historic sites to ensure unique features are preserved and protected, weighing design decisions against the measures of livability and sustainability. He has a thorough understanding of modern and historic building techniques and his clients trust his ability to present thoughtful solutions, which will help maintain these assets for many years to come.

Heritage projects in Canada include: Westinghouse HQ, Hamilton | Dundas Museum & Archives, Dundas | Huck Glove, Kitchener | McMaster University, Bertrand Russell Archives and Research Centre, Hamilton | 541 Eatery & Exchange, Hamilton | Kaufman House, Kitchener | Hamilton City Hall, Hamilton | Tivoli Theatre and Condominium, Hamilton | The Cotton Factory, Hamilton | McMaster University, Phoenix Pub & Restaurant, Hamilton


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Ronald D. Staley, FAPT, Hon AIA-MI

Senior Vice President / Director of Historic Preservation
The Christman Company

Ron is a Senior Vice President with The Christman Company, a general contractor and construction manager, and leads the company’s Southeast Michigan Operations as well as serves as National Director of Historic Preservation with over 35 years construction experience. In 1992, Ron founded Christman’s historic preservation group . He's directed multiple highly visible, often public preservation projects to national and statewide awards for teamwork and unique delivery methods. Ron is a Honorary AIA Michigan and member of the College of Fellows of APT. Ron is also a two term governor appointee to the Michigan State Historic Preservation Review Board .


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