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Changing the Perspective of Facadism within San Francisco

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Title: Changing the Perspective of Facadism within San Francisco
Authors: Stevens, Deirdre A.
Advisor: Leineweber, Spencer
Issue Date: May 2008
Abstract: This Doctor of Architecture project provides an in-depth evaluation of facadism—a very controversial aspect of historic preservation. This preservation approach is the act of retaining only the shell or part of the shell of a building, while “gutting” the interior to allow new interiors to be built. As a term that has a negative connotation among preservationists, this preservation approach has been in need of guidelines and design standards that allow it to be seen as a viable approach to preservation. This project tests the hypothesis that facadism can be a valid type of historic preservation. This project goes on to explain how facadism can be accomplished acceptably, on a case-by-case basis. Through the use of case studies and interpretive-historical research on the subject, a case is made for why this type of preservation should be accepted by architects, developers and preservationists. This Doctorate research answers questions about the strategy of facadism, outlining the pros and cons that architects, developers and preservationists face on the project, specifically within the city of San Francisco where facadism is still controversial, yet common, as a preservation approach in a city that deeply values its historic structures. Through this project one can discover how to reach a mutual agreement on facadism projects within San Francisco to achieve a project that blends the old with the new. This topic and the cases explained within the text are especially useful for any person interested in preserving any portion of a structure, whether historic or not. This proposed way of utilizing buildings, by primarily saving only their shells and creating new spaces inside, is generally being used more frequently in major cities. The recommendations set within the text illustrate a cohesive and useful approach to this subject that can help reach an understanding between preservationists, architects, developers, building owners and others. The proposed standards are based off of research and a proposed conceptual redesign of three facadism projects in San Francisco. These proposed standards vii should be considered when future facadism projects are begun, since this topic is gaining ground in popularity, while at the same time continuing to perpetuate a negative reputation within the preservation community. These proposed standards and the specific designs in this project will help to establish specific guidelines and ideas that should be utilized by anyone participating in or observing facadism work in the future.
Pages/Duration: 290 pages
Appears in Collections:2008

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