So You’ve Got an Old Building – The Importance of Finding Qualified Historic Preservation Architects

July 19, 2016

You love the charm and mystique of old buildings. Next thing you know, you find yourself signing the contract on your very own historic building, tucked into the cozy confines of downtown in a fantastic location with plenty of space. Perfect. But what do you do now? Eventually the new-building excitement wears off, and it’s time to get to work. You may already have an idea of what you want to do with the place, but when it comes down to it, you’ll eventually realize there’s a lot more involved than initially thought. So there you are – your new-to-you old building, a few ideas and a dream. That’s where a qualified historic preservation architect like WDM Architects comes in. If you’re wondering why or even if you need a qualified architect, you’re in the right place.



Why do you need an architect?

An architect can help create inviting, creative spaces that will respond to the needs of those who use it. Even if you have exact plans for the remodel, an architect can point out flaws, either by design or by government codes, you didn’t know were present. In theory, an owner could design the remodeled space themselves, but most municipalities require buildings to be designed by an architect.


How do you find a professional? How do you know they’re a good choice?

The American Institute Architects (AIA), AIA regional chapters and your state’s Board of Technical Professions keep records of reputable design firms. Trade magazines and historical societies also often have a list of established architects. It is important to select a firm that is licensed in the state of the project location. They should have past experience in renovating historic buildings and working with preservation consultants and historic preservation authorities.




Is working with an architect complicated?

No. Architects simply evaluate and document the existing historical aspects of the building, listen to the client’s needs, develop a remodel plan, create a construction drawing set, review the drawings with government authorities, and assist the client through construction. If anything, working with an architect makes the whole process less complicated for you.




How does an architect communicate his or her ideas?

Early in the development process, architects use simplified plans to coordinate a client’s procedural needs with a physical space. As these plans develop, exterior and interior sketches are created to help the client understand the three-dimensional space. Sometimes a client will request the architect to create a building or 3D model so they can feel the space for themselves.

The most important thing to remember is to approach an old building with an open mind. The initial constraints and blemishes of an old building are really just a chance for both you and your architect to create an inspiring, meaningful space.


Why choose WDM Architects for your historic renovation?

WDM’s longevity and experience in preserving historic buildings in Kansas and around the country has helped bring new life to some of the region’s most well-known landmarks, which continue to thrive today. Some successful projects you might want to check out include the Ambassador Hotel, the Carnegie Library, Eaton Place, and WDM’s own office.



If your historic building is in need of architectural expertise, WDM Architects have the experience and knowledge to do it right. If you have any questions regarding the revitalization of a historic building, feel free to give us a call. Historic architecture is a valuable link to our past. Our aim is to keep that line open for many generations to come.