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Historic Preservation | Quarterly Insights

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Published by EUA Marketing, 2020-02-19 16:27:39

EUA:Pulse | February 2020

Historic Preservation | Quarterly Insights

February 2020
historic preservation : architecture : planning : interior design

PULSE is our quarterly outreach,
showcasing our latest designs and
connecting you with forward-thinking
industry experts.

Meet our Talented Team

At an initial glance, we are a firm who specializes in architecture,
planning and interior design. Digging a little deeper you’ll find we
are built on a foundation of energized and talented people; people
whose diverse backgrounds and unique design ideas improve results.

We know Denver is a highly competitive marketplace when it comes
to architecture and design, but we believe that our team is among
the most passionate and brightest talent in the industry. These team
members bring their “A” game every day, making our partners and
clients lives easier while delivering truly exceptional design.

We understand the importance of making the design process
a positive experience for each of our partners and clients. This
experience can make or break a project and is vital in establishing
trust and credibility. As a service-based firm, the outcomes of our
projects are not controlled by the tools or programs we use, but by
the power of the people on our team.

If you haven’t engaged with someone at EUA lately, don’t hesitate
to reach out, regardless of industry sector − be it Workplace,
Advanced Technology, Aerospace, Healthcare, Historic
Preservation or K12 − our team has the proven skills to lead your
project. We look forward to future opportunities to work with you and
your team.


They help us live our mission of elevating the
potential of the people who use the spaces
we create.

Meet our team at e u a . c o m / p e o p l e - d e n v e r



Why You Shouldn’t be Afraid of Purchasing a Historic Building

There are many common misconceptions about historic preservation, including:

“Historic buildings take too much work to maintain.”
“Buildings that are designated as landmarks cannot be altered.”
“New construction in a historic district requires a design that appears

old or traditional.”
“It’d be more sustainable if we tear down this old building and construct

a modern building with contemporary systems.”

But the reality is there are many facts that support why you shouldn’t fear
purchasing a historic property and knowing these basics will dispel these common
myths. Here are some things you should know if you are considering purchasing a
historic space:

Historic buildings can be designated either locally, at the state level or nationally.
Seems like a national landmark would have the most restrictions, right? – Wrong!
Properties listed on the State or National Historic Registers can be modified or
even demolished by the owner at any time. The only time the design review
process is triggered for a building designated on the State or National Registers
is if the owner is using Federal funding towards the project. Local designation,
however, typically has the most restrictions because cities and counties require
historic renovations to undergo a design review process with their planning
department or landmark preservation commission.

To find out if a property is designated locally, visit your city or county website; it’s
typically located under the Planning and Development or Landmark Preservation
heading. To find out if a property is designated on the State Register, consult
your State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). Finally, to find out if a property
is designated on the National Register of Historic Places, visit the National Park
Service website.

This historic 1920’s building is the former site of Denver Public Schools (DPS) Emily Griffith Opportunity School
and is now being repurposed into a boutique hotel. As a consultant on the project, EUA led DPS through listing
the building as a historic landmark and helped the new owner navigate the tax credit process. Additionally,
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ORTUNITY SCTHo lOeaOrn Lmore, visit:

Inherently, when you purchase an existing building, it’s likely you will need to
make some changes in order to meet your space needs. As a result, it’s important
to know that changes to a historic building are required to go through a design
review process. The National Park Service’s Department of the Interior established
a set of standards and guidelines for the treatment of historic properties. These
standards are recognized as the basis for reviewing modifications to historic
buildings across the nation, however, local jurisdictions may adopt additional
guidelines that give further direction on how their landmark preservation
department interprets these standards. If you want to renovate a locally designated
historic building, the proposed design must meet the guidelines adopted by your
city or county.

What does this mean? Essentially, modifications must be sensitive to the historic
significance of the structure to maintain its integrity and if work that does not meet
the guidelines is performed, you may incur fines until it is corrected.

Another important thing to know is that preservation trumps zoning. For example,
if you purchase a two-story historic structure that sits on a lot zoned to allow an
eight-story building, there is no guarantee that you’ll be approved to construct
an eight-story building or addition. In fact, it’s extremely unlikely because infill
construction and additions should be designed to be subordinate to the
historic structure.

Preservation is not about freezing a building or a neighborhood in time, it’s not
about disallowing change, but rather managing change to maintain integrity. It’s
not IF change can occur, but HOW. There is no magic formula that says if you do
X, Y and Z then your design will be approved. The standards and guidelines are
intentionally broad and subjective because not all historic buildings are alike so
what works for one may not work for another, and vice versa. The key concepts
that need to be met when undergoing a rehabilitation project are:

• Preserve and maintain character-defining features; if deterioration is
beyond repair then the feature should be replaced in-kind

• Minimize demolition of historic materials; new construction should be
designed to be reversible

The historic Madison Brass Works building was originally built in 1918 with numerous additions through 1959.
Through the generosity of a lead donor, Goodman Community Center (GCC) was able to purchase the building
for renovation. EUA and GCC worked together to identify areas suitable for both new construction and adaptive
use.This resulted in adapting the oldest manufacturing areas into large multipurpose rooms while constructing a
compatible addition for classroom and office space, now known as Goodman Community Center Brassworks.

To learn more, visit:

• New construction must be compatible in design to the historic building,
not detract or obscure character-defining features

• New construction should be clearly identifiable as new and not
convey a false sense of history

• When designing a new building in a historic district or an addition to a
historic building, it must be subordinate

The beauty of the standards is that they can be addressed in a variety of ways
which allows more flexibility for the owner. It’s best to consult an architect with
preservation experience to help you identify how to achieve your goals while
meeting the Secretary of Interior’s Standards. An experienced professional
can help you plan how much time should be allotted in the project schedule to
complete the design review process. They will also be familiar with the exceptions
in the building code for existing and historic buildings that can benefit the project
and mitigate issues during the permitting.

Frequently we hear complaints about preservation due to the additional
regulations and entitlement processes, but let’s remember why we have
preservation. The built environment helps create a sense of place. Certain
buildings have become so important in telling the story of places, people, events
and development that losing them would alter what makes a community special.
There are buildings that are iconic and others that are not as significant on
their own but stronger as a group. This is the primary benefit of preservation –
maintaining the character, aesthetic and feeling of a place that’s significant to a
community – and it is achieved through the design review process.


As a result of aesthetic benefits, preservation can yield economic benefits for
a community. Studies show that historic districts often lead to higher property
values. This is not a new concept; Jane Jacobs wrote about the importance of old
buildings to the economy back in 1961 in her book, “The Death and Life of Great
American Cities.” Right here in Denver, we have some great examples of historic
districts whose property values increased, and spaces became more vibrant after
designation, including Larimer Square and the Lower Downtown Historic Districts.

Bottleworks District is a 12-acre urban mixed-use development that reimagines the iconic Coca-Cola building in
downtown Indianapolis, and serves as a culinary, arts and entertainment hub, featuring retail, office, hotel and
more.The original architecture is artfully incorporated into every aspect of the Bottleworks District. From the original
garage doors welcoming visitors into the food hall to the ornate bronze doors that open into the original lobby,
where terrazzo floors, travertine walls and a circular marble staircase lead to the hotel conference rooms. EUA
has supported this client throughout the master planning and design process, integrating in historically sensitive
contextual design to support tax credit application efforts.

To learn more, visit:


“The greenest building is the one that is already built,” Architect Carl Elefante
famously stated. Existing buildings have embodied “energy” in them, that is the
energy consumed by all the processes associated with the production of a building
from mining, manufacturing and transporting materials to the site. A study
was done to compare the environmental benefits between a new construction
building and reusing an existing building; their findings are in a report titled,
“The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse.”
The research of this study yielded that “building reuse almost always offers
environmental savings over demolition and new construction” and “it can take
between 10 and 80 years for a new, energy-efficient building to overcome,
through more efficient operations, the negative climate change impacts that were
created during the construction process.”

That’s not to say that if you have an existing building, it’s energy efficient.
Improvements should still be considered. Alterations to historic buildings that can
improve energy efficiency include:

• Insulate the foundations or attic to improve the thermal envelope
• Installing interior storm windows to improve thermal performance of

single-pane windows
• Maintain historic doors & windows by installing new weather-stripping
• Installing solar panels on the roof where it’s not visible from the public

vantage points
• HVAC system upgrades
• Install more energy efficient LED lighting


Yes, preserving a historic building takes a great deal of care and initial
rehabilitation costs can be high. However, traditional materials are typically of a
higher quality. Instead of using brick or stone veneer, they used standard bricks
and real stone; instead of using fiber cement board, they used old-growth wood;
instead of using vinyl windows, they used wood or steel. The result is a longer-
lasting building and if the building is maintained properly, then the materials will
last much longer than many contemporary materials.

Which brings me to my last point (I saved the best for last), the greatest benefit of
designation for a building owner is that you will qualify for historic preservation
tax credits. There are State and Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits available.
To qualify for the state tax credit your building must be either locally designated
or on the State Register. To qualify for the federal tax credit, you must either be
designated on the National Register or in the process of designation.

Many state agencies will also offer grants for historic preservation work. Contact
your SHPO to find out more about the grants available to you. It is important
to note that grants will often come with an easement on your property. This
means that all future work will need to be approved by the party that holds your
easement. Typically work will be granted approval if it follows the Secretary of
Interior’s Standards and/or your local jurisdiction’s adopted guidelines.

There’s risk in purchasing any property and in that sense, historic buildings are
no different, but remember there’s also an opportunity for a high reward. Learn
to look beyond the myths and understand the facts when considering whether a
historic property may be the right fit for you.

*For more information and helpful links, please visit

Project Architect
[email protected]

Kelly has 10 years of experience working on library and civic projects as well as historic
preservation with the thought that successful communities should be comprised of a balance
of old and new structures. Kelly believes that architecture should be sustainable, contextual
and most importantly functional. She collaborates with her clients during every phase of the
design process from schematic design through construction to make sure this is achieved.



Elitch Theatre was home to the oldest summer stock theatre in America and hosted
the screening of Colorado’s first moving picture in 1896. Many pioneers and
famous faces of the theatre industry passed through this iconic American playhouse
at one point in their career. Opened in 1891, the historic Elitch Theatre is located
on the former site of Denver’s Elitch Gardens amusement park, which relocated in
1994. With its last production in 1991, the historic theatre has remained vacant for
almost 20 years. EUA is currently renovating the building to serve as a community
center and restore its original use as a functioning theatre.

To learn more, visit:

1892 1923

1930s 1963



five myths about historic windows

1. Windows are the primary cause of energy loss in a building. FALSE. The majority of energy loss
in a historic building is at uninsulated foundations and attic spaces. Buildings behave like large chimneys
by creating an overall “stack effect” of air flow. You will gain more “bang for your buck” by insulating
your attic and foundations to combat this loss than addressing horizontal heat loss through windows.
Replacing old, inefficient heating and cooling equipment will also have a larger impact on overall energy
efficiency in a building.

2. A new window will last longer than a historic wood or steel window. FALSE. If you practice
regular maintenance and keep your wood and steel windows painted, they will last for more than 100
years. Paint is the key to preventing deterioration and it also allows flexibility with color choices. Wood
and steel components can be replaced as necessary. Newer aluminum and fiberglass windows are long
lasting, but once the material is damaged or begins to degrade it is much more difficult to repair and
changes in color are not workable. Wholesale replacement is usually the only option. New wood windows
are not made from the much more durable old growth wood found in historic windows.

3. A new insulated glass, high performance window will outperform a historic single pane
window. MAYBE. A historic single pane wood or steel window alone will never be more energy
efficient than a new high-performance replacement window. However, the addition of a storm window
and insulating shades to a historic sash comes very close to the energy incentives of high-performance
replacement windows, at a fraction of the cost.

4. A historic double-hung window is drafty in the winter and doesn’t provide enough
ventilation in the summer. FALSE. Double-hung windows are designed to provide both enhanced
passive heating and ventilation through the form of a “convective loop.” They key is in their operation.
In summer, they should be opened when the temperature is lower outside than in, by raising the bottom
sash and lowering the top sash. By operating both sashes air will flow in a circle around the sash creating
greater air flow, even on a windless day. Similarly, for cold weather circumstances steam or hot water
radiators are always located beneath double hung sashes so that the cold window glazing reacts with the
heat of the radiator to again form a convective loop of air. This time the circulating air is hot. Keeping
curtains and shades open in winter allows for this process as well as solar heat gain to occur. Therefore,
rooms are heated by radiant heaters and convection air.

5. The energy savings you experience by replacing historic wood or steel windows will quickly
repay the expense of high-performance replacement windows. FALSE. High-performance
replacement windows are expensive and typically require replacement rather than refurbishment over the
long term. As stated above, the energy savings from a new window to a historic one with added storm
windows and shades is very comparable since a similar U-value (measure of thermal performance) can
be achieved. If you could improve the R-value (measure of thermal resistance) of your roof from R-35 to
R-38 by replacing it with new and spending tens of thousands of dollars would you do it? Not likely. But
that is what owners often are doing when they replace their windows.

For more information see, Saving Windows, Saving Money: Evaluating the Energy Performance of Window Retrofit and
Replacement. A report by Preservation Green Lab, National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Insights above from Jane Crisler, EUA’s K-12 Market Leader and Historic Preservation expert.

Having grown organically into the nooks and crannies of this split-level 100-year-old mercantile space,
EUA transformed Kentwood’s office to accommodate their modern business needs while celebrating
the building’s past.The refreshed space reflects how the power of a bold, yet simple design premise
can compellingly express history, draw interest from the street and provide a high-functioning,
inspirational workplace.

To learn more, visit:


R YA N WA L L AC E AIA, LEED AP | Denver Studio Director
learning | workplace | civic
[email protected]

My work can be summed up pretty simply: it’s about the people. As Studio Director of
the Denver office, I strive to provide our team and clients with the best leadership and
architectural skills. I am passionate about creativity and collaboration in design and being
able to experience this every day is what makes me love what I do.

S A R A S C H E S S E R | Senior Project Architect
[email protected]

Creating beautiful, functional spaces in which both teachers and their students can achieve
their best is so rewarding. With my extensive experience, I also enjoy mentoring younger
staff who share the same passion for educational projects; together we can all learn, grow
and create great architecture.

A S H L E Y F R U H W I R T H | Project Architect
[email protected]

I love providing spaces that positively impact lives in the community and this is especially
true with learning environments. It’s exciting to know that the spaces we design will shape
future generations and help them feel comfortable and inspired to collaborate and learn.

Built at the turn of the twentieth century, the historic A.W. Rich Shoe Factory building was
meticulously restored in 1999 from the inside out to house EUA’s headquarters.The original Chicago
pink brick, Douglas fir timbers and steel elements set the tone for interior finishes and our 2016
renovation introduced warm neutral colors and a newly re-vamped energy-efficient lighting system
to highlight the building’s historic character in a bright, natural aesthetic.

To learn more, visit:

Denver Studio Director | Principal
EUA (formerly Burkettdesign)
[email protected] | 303.256.1149

1899 Wynkoop Street, Suite 300 | Denver, CO 80202

denver : milwaukee : madison

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