Architectural Salvage

Last week I posed the question about whether “preservation petting zoos” are true preservation. Revisiting the idea of “best possible” situations, how do you feel about architectural salvage? Like the zoo idea, the individual elements of a structure, when taken out of their context, may lose meaning. But also like the zoo, we might take salvage as a best case scenario. Salvaging fixtures, hardware, and other building pieces can be a great way for historic elements to live on in another home. (Even better if provenance for the object(s) exists, or can be established and maintained.) In fact, when a historic home is being restored and period pieces are missing, an architectural salvage store can be the saving grace of the restoration project. In addition, structural elements like beams and joists are often nondescript and can be incorporated seamlessly into almost any historic building. (This isn’t limited to historic structures – selling “reclaimed timbers” is already big business all over the home building industry.) In instances of imminent demolition, architectural salvage can be a great way for the lost building and its legacy to live on.

Kate Scott
The original post can be read here.
Kate is working to survey historic properties in Indiana and serves as our stalwart Communications Committee Chair. She works on advocacy and non-profit preservation projects whenever possible and moonlight as an architectural photographer.

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