My classroom experience also had an impact on my office environment. I review historic rehabilitation projects for their compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. Because of this semester’s classroom experience, I have developed my awareness of the environmental implications of the projects that I review in my professional environment, and an appreciation for sustainable design. I have discovered that indoor and outdoor space is vital to the success of a neighborhood, especially in an urban context where outdoor space can be minimal. If significant lots are left vacant, or have incompatible infill it begins to negatively affect the urban context. This semesters design studio experience helped me to understand that compatible infill on a corner lot of a major intersection could significantly increase the vitality of the community. The distance-learning center can have an enormous positive impact on the community, and actually, become a gathering place, or a destination. My classroom experience also effected my decisions when reviewing the exterior architecture of historic rehabilitation projects.
My design examples are of small-scale rehabilitation projects that are vital to the urban context and that contribute to the streetscape in their respective neighborhoods. Many of these projects are two or four-family flats that must be rehabilitated as for-sale units to compete on today’s real estate market. Typically, the kitchen and bathroom spaces will be upgraded with modern amenities and the HVAC and electrical systems must be improved to meet today’s code requirements. This provided many opportunities for me to encourage owners to utilize sustainable solutions. I encouraged them to rework single pane windows to include double paned glazing. Two and four-family flats are ideal for a two-zoned HVAC system. A unit, which serves the first floor of the building, can be placed in the basement, and a second unit serving the second floor is placed on the rooftop or in the attic. This provides energy efficiency while having minimal impact on the historic character of the interior spaces. Additionally, for this building type, which typically has flat roofs, I have often advocated the installation of a white roof system when replacement is included in the project scope of work.