Mixing Old & New: Historic Preservation Projects on the Rise

The challenge in rehabilitating historic commercial buildings is properly integrating modern materials and best practices while maintaining the historic integrity of the structures.

Striking a perfect balance is critical to owners, who are more and more engaging the services of Pie Consulting & Engineering to ensure projects achieve success.

Both Pie’s building and forensic sciences services provide building exterior assessments and design rehabilitation for historic commercial buildings. Pie’s assessments focus on the observation of existing historic building practices and the integration of new construction materials, such as windows, parapet transitions to roofing, waterproofing, and insulation.

“We are challenged to provide a building envelope solution that will meet the historic criteria for restoration,” said Michelle Murray, project manager at Pie. “It is our job to provide both the owner and historic representative with the understanding of our building science related recommendations, so that the rehabilitation solution is agreed upon by all parties. The goal is to have exterior building performance, while maintaining the historic integrity.”

Murray has been involved in a number of historic preservation projects including Pioneer Hall at the University of Minnesota, pictured.

The 87-year-old dormitory renovation will add 60 beds and include a new 850-seat dining facility on the Minneapolis East Bank campus. Pioneer will remain closed through the 2019 school year for the project. The renovation will enlarge dorm rooms with shared community space and double the amount of bathrooms while maintaining the historic façade.

“Pie needs to be the interpreter and simplify the building sciences practices for our clients and the historic preservation officials, so that we can ultimately extend the life of the building in its current historic state,” Murray added.

Other historic building rehabilitation projects Pie has recently been involved in include:

  • University of Colorado Baker Residence Hall – Boulder, CO
  • Colorado State Capitol – Denver, CO
  • Plummer Building – Rochester, MN
  • Wyoming State Capitol – Cheyenne, WY