Ball State University (Gregory)

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    Gregory Dowell
    Sep 9, '08 8:21 PM EST

    I just received the semester project for my Preservation and Documentation of Historic Buildings class. Working in teams of 4 (well my group got the extra person, so we're a group of 5) we're going to create an abbreviated Historic American Building Survey (HABS) report for a historic building in Arcadia, IN (population 1,800). Arcadia is about an hour west of Muncie and in two weeks we're heading there for our first site visit.

    Following both my junior and senior years as an undergraduate I applied to the National Park Service for a HABS summer internship only to be rejected (but all was not lost because I had great experiences both summers- working for the Architect of the Capitol and then a forensic architecture firm, RRJ, in Chicago). So its pretty exciting to be following the HABS standards for this group project.

    Since we'll only be making two official site visits and with the limited schedule, about 10 weeks, the report will be abbreviated. We're responsible for a written portion (historical significance, building description) and a graphic portion (measured drawings, photographs). Both my AOC and RRJ jobs included a lot of field verification, so I'm pretty familiar with that process.

    In the mean time, I'll be doing some research. Right now all I know is that I have a small one story building on the town's two block main street that dates from the late 1800s. It may or may not be vacant. While documenting the building is certainly going to be exciting, I'm also very interested in the social history behind the building. So at this point you know just about as much as I do, so I'll definitely keep you up to date and we can discover this building together.

    In HP Studio I have a photo essay due on Monday. We must present a historic building with an addition and discuss its compatibility using the Secretary of Interior's Standards as a base. I've chosen The Porter House by SHoP Architects. Completed in 2003, the Porter House is a 20,000 sf condominium addition to and conversion of a 1905 warehouse in New York's Meatpacking District. It's both interesting and challenging.

    Well that's all for now.

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