Historic Preservation In North Park
What is your favorite thing about North Park? Is it the parklet? Is it the new restaurant or bar? Maybe a hip boutique that sells latest in fashion and accessories? Or is it the atmosphere, history, culture that makes you think that these few blocks of San Diego are truly distinct and special…
Urban fabric of our cities is made up of many pieces and built environment arguably plays the most important role in how we perceive places, how we feel in them and react to them. Built environment is a combination of our streets, infrastructure, buildings, and other elements; each of them impacts the atmosphere of the place.
So what makes North Park unique? Is it the beautiful Birch Theater, whimsical Queen Bee’s, eclectic Ray Street or charming craftsman houses; all those buildings have their own story and character that comes with it, in most cases that story is quite long, around 100 years long. North Park Business District is a home to almost 50 historic landmarks and buildings that are candidates to receive historic designation. They maybe some of your favorite places! Check out the gallery of North Park’s historic treasures and get a new look on our neighborhood and stories behind it: http://northparkecodistrict.com/map/historic-treasures/
Positive impacts of historic preservation go far beyond the atmosphere and vibe of the place. The greenest building is the one that is already there and historic buildings are often considered huge recycling projects that save materials and resources associated with the production of a new property. Thanks to organizations such as CA Office of Historic Preservation and Main Street Association, the sustainability branch of historic preservation is gaining traction with architects, construction industry and building occupants alike. Sustainable historic buildings are not only beautiful and unique but also comfortable and resource efficient.
Challenges with older and historic buildings upgrades relate to the goal of keeping historic integrity of the property. For example, some of the modern energy efficient windows may not be an option if they do not match building’s existing façade, water efficient landscaping, may not be a match to building’s style. However, there is always a way to improve the existing structure and performance while honoring the historic architecture. Another issue of upgrading older buildings relates simply to the fact that they are, well…old. Building design poses challenges regarding the size and capacity of systems, particularly electric and plumbing.
When taking upon a historic project it’s important to consult with an architect, contractor and a Historic Preservation specialist to evaluate all pros and cons of building upgrades. A number of great resources are available to help and guide you through the process. Just to name a few:
- North Park Sustainability Study and Implementation Plan
- Illustrated Guidelines on sustainability for rehabilitating historic buildings
- California Office of Historic Preservation
- National Main Street Center
- National Park Service Guidelines for Historic Buildings
Fore more resources please visit Strategies for Historic Building section of this web site here
In North Park there are number of historic properties that were skillfully upgraded to meet new efficiency standards, while keeping the historic nature intact. For example, Platt and Whitelaw Architecture office, OBR Architecture and Casa De Luz implemented following solutions:
- Maintain the interior beams and design elements to keep industrial esthetic
- Sky lights to bring in the daylight without disturbance of the front façade of the building
- Passive ventilation techniques
- Rapidly renewable, recycled and salvaged materials
- Green operations and malignance strategies
- Water efficient fixtures
Next time you visit North Park take a moment to pause and observe how you feel and why. What catches your eye and makes you fall in love with neighborhood…