Traditional Building Portfolio

Roundtable: Compatibility vs. Differentiation

Six design professionals wrestle with the biggest problem confronting preservation today: Should new construction in historic areas be stylistically similar to existing acrchitecture, or present a bold contrast?

During the Traditional Building Exhibition and Conference held in Chicago last October, five architects (one acted as moderator) and a representative from the National Parks Service met for a roundtable discussion. Also on hand was Clem Labine, founder of Traditional Building, Period Homes and Old House Journal magazines, and the guiding hand behind this event.

The topic was "The Secretary of the Interior's Standards: Managing Differentiation and Compatibility." The discussion covered a wide range of issues. It started with each of the four panelists presenting a recent sympathetic addition project.

Traditional Building magazine is most grateful to the participants who gave so generously of their time and expertise to discuss this important topic. – Martha McDonald


The Participants

Moderator Steven W. Semes is associate professor of architecture and academic director of the Rome Studies Program for the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture. A practicing architect for more than 30 years, he has designed a variety of preservation and new construction projects throughout the U.S. Semes is also the author of The Future of the Past: A Conservation Ethic for Architecture, Urban Design and Historic Preservation (2009) and The Architecture of the Classical Interior (2004) and a contributor to The Elements of Classical Architecture (2001), all published by W.W. Norton & Co. He is a fellow emeritus of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America (ICA&CA) and was educated at the University of Virginia and Columbia University. He is also the recipient of the second annual Clem Labine Award for contributions to a humane built environment.

Philip B. Chen, AIA, LEED AP, is a principal with Ann Beha Architects, Boston, MA. He is currently leading projects at the University of Chicago, Pennsylvania State University, the Massachusetts State House and at Rhode Island's historic Fort Adams. Prior to joining ABA, he served as project architect for the Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge, LA, a $53-million project that included the Louisiana State University (LSU) Museum of Art, the LSU School of Art, the City of Baton Rouge, the State of Louisiana and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University and a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Design from Texas A&M University.

Brian J. Connolly, AIA, is a principal of Zivkovic Connolly Architects P.C., New York, NY. He is a graduate of the architectural programs at the Institute of Technology and Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. He also qualified as a member, with honors, of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, and is a fellow of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America (ICA&CA) where he currently chairs the Publications committee, selecting important treatises and books for publication. His more than 25 years of experience comprise both new construction and historic preservation in the U.S. and Europe. His client list includes the Juilliard School of Music, the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center, NY State Power and Port Authorities, and many private residential clients.

Robert D. Loversidge, Jr., FAIA, is president and CEO, Schooley Caldwell Associates, Columbus, OH. He is also a past chair of AIA's National Historic Resources Committee, a recipient of the AIA Ohio Public Service Award and the AIA Ohio Gold Medal. Loversidge was principal-in-charge of the $100-million renovation, restoration and addition project at Ohio's National Historic Landmark Statehouse and the Ohio Judicial Center, an $85-million adaptive use project for the Supreme Court of Ohio. Recent projects include restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright's Westcott House in Springfield, OH, and work at state capitols in Kansas, Utah and Minnesota. He has served as Ohio's Architect of the Capitol since 1989.

John Sandor is an architectural historian with the Technical Preservation Services, National Park Service, Washington, DC. His more than 20 years experience in interpreting and applying the Secretary's Standards in state and federal programs include a position as architectural coordinator for the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office. His work on the technical aspects of preservation takes advantage of earlier experience as a carpenter. Sandor is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and currently serves as the president of DC's Latrobe Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians and vice president of the DC Preservation League.

Mark Thaler, AIA, is a principal and historic preservation expert with Einhorn Yaffee Prescott (EYP) Architecture & Engineering, PC, Albany, NY. For more than 25 years he has focused on the preservation, renovation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings. He has spoken on the topic of the Secretary of the Interior's Standards at two previous Traditional Building conferences. He is a two-time Palladio Award winner and a recipient of a national AIA Honor Award for Architecture for the Rehabilitation of the Washington State Legislative Building. He has led restoration and renovation projects at Ellis Island, the Washington and New York State Capitols and a large number of colleges and universities. He has lectured widely on assessing and improving energy performance in historic buildings.

Portrait photos: Steven W. Semes, Brian J. Connolly, John Sandor photos by Annabel Hsin, Traditional Building magazine. Mark Thaler, courtesy of Einhorn Yaffee Prescott; Robert D. Loversidge, Jr., courtesy of Schooley Caldwell Associates; Philip Chen, courtesy of Ann Beha Architects




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