Historic Preservation & Adaptive Reuse

Celebrating the Past, Building the Future

By their nature, historic buildings are constructed with archaic materials, and often with configurations not common in modern architecture. An engineer unfamiliar with these historic materials will discount their ability to reliably resist loads, resulting in disruptive and inefficient designs. It is important to have a civil and structural engineering expert well-versed and experienced in the analyses and design of improvements to these systems. Our goal is simple: preserve the historical character, while improving safety and seismic performance for occupants.
Reid Middleton has 18 years of experience in the analyses and design of seismic and structural upgrades for historic renovation projects. In fact, many of Reid Middleton’s historic building renovation design projects have won design awards for their sensitivity to preserving the historic character of these grand old buildings. The range of our historic restoration and preservation services include:

  • Seismic evaluations
  • Seismic upgrades
  • Excavation & Underpinning of Historic Structures
  • U.S. Secretary of the Interior Standards for Historic Preservation
  • Fibrewrap of brittle materials
  • Rehabilitation of National Park Service Buildings

012 Design Awards for Historic Projects

018 Years Providing Historic Preservation Service

Whatcom Middle School Replacement

Bellingham, WALearn More

Paradise Inn Annex & Snowbridge

Mount Rainier National Park, WALearn More

Carnegie Library Renovation

Everett, WALearn More

Grays Harbor County Courthouse Seismic Renovation

Montesano, WALearn More

Before We Honor History,
a Few Details

Our projects include everything from buildings on the National Register of Historic Places to buildings not formally registered but still recognized by their owners as having community significance. This experience allows us to provide the right level of preservation for each project.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Standards for Historic Preservation: Reid Middleton’s experience with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Standards for Historic Preservation is extensive. Many of Reid Middleton’s historic renovation and seismic upgrade projects are designed to these Department of the Interior Preservation Standards. Projects such as the Grays Harbor County Courthouse Seismic Upgrades and Rehabilitation, the Chemical/Metallurgical Laboratory Building, and the St. Edwards Seminary Building Earthquake Restoration were designed explicitly to these federal historic preservation standards to ensure that state and/or federal funding could be sought to help offset project costs.

Seismic/Structural Evaluations: Our engineers can perform structural evaluations and seismic evaluations of your historic facility to identify areas for improvement. Reid Middleton’s experience with historic buildings allows us to quickly recognize many building systems and materials that have not been widely used for many decades. Our ability to understand and assess these buildings provides a more efficient and accurate assessment than would be possible without this kind of experience.

Seismic/Structural Strengthening: Seismic strengthening often requires that the existing foundations in these buildings be expanded and that new new shear walls or braced frames are hidden inside the structure. The installation of these elements often requires that the designer work closely with the building owner, design team, and historic reviewers to design a strategy that allows these improvements to be installed without compromising or damaging the existing building. Reid Middleton has extensive experience in with the design of these systems for a variety of historic building types.

Clear Communication: Reid Middleton understands the difficulty of explaining technical information to the decision-makers who are not engineers, so we work with the owner to explain and demonstrate engineering and building concepts so the general public can easily understand. Our engineers and graphic designers enjoy the challenge of translating complex engineering into simple terms, often using common analogies, visual 3-D cross-sections, and physical building models. We are prepared to assist our clients with renderings, public involvement materials, and presentations to allow them to explain the proposed improvements to their stakeholders and members of the general public, when needed. Through this process, many of our engineers have become skilled presenters, as well as skilled designers.