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Revisiting Our Old Projects

We've been designing projects for almost 60 years, making it always interesting to revisit a project from the past.

Teitsch-Kent-Fay Architects, P.C. has spent a significant portion of the late winter, early spring working on a variety of building condition surveys. These reports serve a number of purposes, depending on the client and the subject building. For some it is just a way to get a baseline understanding of what the building needs, or may need in the near future. For others, it is a way to itemize potential scope items, what improvements or additions they might want to consider, as required for grant submissions. Another option is to compare two (or more) sites to determine which is best suited to accommodate the owners needs. These reports, for the above purposes and many more, provide valuable decision making tools for our clients.

Recently, we were hired to prepare building condition survey reports for two local parishes. The curious twist in this was that they were both parishes that Jack Teitsch had worked on, decades ago. This meant revisiting these jobs elicited a number of reactions from Dan Fay. The first, and most irrational was: “how can they possibly need condition surveys, these are new buildings?” when actually, they are all going on four decades old! Another, more practical reaction was: “well, at least we have good drawings to work from for these surveys”. Very often there is little or no existing documentation for the buildings we survey, and in these cases, we not only had plans but full construction documents showing all building systems.

After these initial reactions, we had a chance to go out and really dig into the surveys, this revealed two strange and slightly contradictory reactions. The buildings were done so long ago that they felt like new and unfamiliar buildings to our team. This allowed us to approach them just like any other survey and do our work properly and efficiently. However, once the team got back to the office they began pouring over the drawings and other data collected. Familiar design solutions were noted, even material selections from years ago were remembered. This nostalgia quickly gave way to an interest in how well things had worked over the years. The entire experience was very powerful, and resulted in both a well detailed condition survey, and lessons learned that we will be able to take forward into our current and future project. All in all, a fascinating experience of having a “dialog” between the firm we are now and the firm we were decades ago.

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