Preserving our past and building our future.
BVH’s practice and values are rooted in the firm’s philosophy of protecting and conserving historic and cultural resources.
Over the past 50 years, we have built a preservation and adaptive reuse practice on projects across the country, from small-scale cultural treasures like the Willa Cather Museum to large-scale projects like the Gateway Arch and the Cooper Hewitt Museum.
We are deeply involved (and deeply passionate) about continuing education of building technology, Section 106, and Secretary of Interior’s Standards application, sustainable design, and quality assurance, both through internal and external programs.
We have completed more than 2000 historic preservation commissions, including more than 500 on the National Register for Historic Places, including National Historic Landmarks. In the past five years, BVH has also been directly involved in the preservation and rehabilitation of four of the “Eleven Most Endangered” buildings identified by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. We have successfully completed more than 400 historic preservation and recordation projects, including more than 200 projects for properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places, including many National Historic Landmarks.
Understanding Historic Preservation & Adaptive Reuse
Preserving our History and our Environment
We have also successfully completed more than 220 projects for the National Park Service since 1999, with a wide variety of project types:
- Condition assessments
- Value analysis workshops
- Historic structures reports
- Land restoration studies and workshops
- Town hall meetings with public and interested parties
- Park surveying and mapping
- Hazardous materials reports
- NEPA services
- Title I, II and III architectural and engineering design
Our project team also has extensive nation-wide experience:
- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) standards
- Historic American Landscape Survey (HALS) standards
- Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) standards.
BVH throughout its history has been a leader regionally and nationally in sustainable design as well as preservation of historic buildings and sites. BVH has been at the forefront for decades by blending existing building renewal with emerging practices in sustainable design and helping developing tools, documenting best practices, and preparing educational materials to achieve the sustainable use of the existing building stock. In just over the past seven years BVH has restored or designed over $150M of LEED certified projects.
Our team’s experience in providing realistic solutions to unique building problems enables our project teams to achieve the complementary goals of preserving our cultural heritage and preserving our natural resources. Historic preservation is, by its nature, “green” and very much part of a sustainable design strategy. In designing repair or preservation of a historic building, we seek to provide the means to repair, reinforce, maintain, repair, and extend the useful life of the building, using methods that are technically sound, aesthetically appropriate, durable, and reasonable in cost. Repairs that are durable tend to be environmentally friendly by minimizing the energy and materials required for subsequent maintenance or replacement. By extending the life of an existing building, preservation sustains the usefulness of building materials manufactured and constructed in the past, reducing the need to manufacture new materials and construct new buildings, thereby conserving natural resources and energy.
Every Project Deserves a Deep Dive
Understanding the Problem
We approach preservation and adaptive reuse projects as we would any other: as a solution to future problems. By studying thoroughly the history of each building, its site, and users, and forecasting how a structure will be used by future generations, we’re able to better understand a building’s potential, and therefore design ingenious solutions which not only address the problems at hand but set a precedent for the future.
Identifying the Approach
Each building is unique in its response to time, weather, and human use. Our goal is not to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to preservation, but instead study each building to discover how best to treat it. We use state-of-the-art tools and technology to help guide us, but we always seek out the most appropriate way to preserve, adapt, re-use, or reinvent an existing structure.
Finding the Solution
Architectural design is a process of continually responding to what is already there. The right solution, therefore, must take into account numerous factors—environmental change, human impact, material sensitivity, and even the original designer’s intent. Our aim is to solve each problem in a way that not only utilizes and draws from the inspiration of the past, but provides a beautiful, sustainable solution from which others will draw future inspiration.
- Gateway Arch Conservation
- Nebraska State Capitol
- Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer
- Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte Memorial Hospital
- M’s Pub
- Moon Block Building
- Warren Distribution
- Rail & Commerce Building
- Douglas County Courthouse Hall of Justice Murals
- Harry S. Truman Home
- Little Rock Central High School
- J.M. Pile Hall
- Cooper Hewitt Museum
- Freer Gallery of Art