Artefact, Inc. is a woman-owned architectural practice located in South Bethlehem, PA. The principal, Christine Ussler, started the firm in 1986. Italian-Swiss architect and partner, Lucienne Di Biase Dooley, joined Artefact in 2008 and brings to the firm a European perspective, planning expertise, and unusual creative energy. Artefact has designed new buildings along with renovations and additions to many existing and historic buildings in eastern Pennsylvania and has worked as far away as Barbados, West Indies. Artefact’s services include Architecture, Historic Preservation, Master Planning and Feasibility Studies, Interior Design, and Sustainable Design. The firm’s portfolio includes theatres, museums, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, educational facilities, residences (single and multi family), adaptive reuse, historical preservation, recreation facilities and municipal work. Typical clients are home owners, municipalities, universities, private developers, and non-profit organizations.
Artefact has been involved with historic preservation consulting since 1988. Christine Ussler has been the Historic Officer consultant for the City of Bethlehem since that time. This work entails the review of all construction in the Central Bethlehem National Register Historic District and the new South Bethlehem Historic Conservation District, providing research and design recommendation for the Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) and Historic Commission, advising property owners about historically appropriate alterations, reviewing City HUD rehabilitation projects for conformance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, writing and editing brochures and design guidelines, and coordinating these activities with the State Bureau for Historic Preservation at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC).
Another area of Artefact’s expertise is sustainable design. Some of these services include ecological and health-conscious building materials and techniques. Artefact incorporates these materials and techniques into their specifications whenever possible and is able to design buildings for chemically sensitive clients. Artefact, Inc. shares knowledge of new ecological research and materials with the surrounding community to help promote healthful, sustainable development. Artefact designed a new Environmental Education Center for the Wildlands Conservancy in Emmaus, PA, the conversion of historic Illick’s Mill into an environmental education center for Liberty High School in Bethlehem, PA, and a straw bale house for a private owner in Carversville, PA.