Tag Archives: Historic

Featured historic projects

Fox Environmental Education Center at Illick’s Mill

Artefact’s interests in historic preservation, sustainable architecture, and community projects came together in this collaborative project to restore and renovate a mid-nineteenth century grist mill on the Monocacy Creek. Planning and fund-raising for the project was carried out by a special student program at Liberty High School in Bethlehem, PA. After the successful completion of the renovations, Illick’s Mill Partnership named the center the Gertrude B. Fox Environmental Education Center in honor of a memorable local environmental activist.



The overriding design consideration for the mill was to preserve the character of the historic structure while giving it a new function. The new uses allowed for the preservation of the open quality of the interior space, while discretely accommodating code and accessibility requirements. The center includes a science center in the lowest level, exhibition space on the main level, flexible space for teaching and events on the second floor, and a staff area on the upper mezzanine. An addition is planned for the future and will honor the existing building in proportion and in the choice of stone and timber framing. Transparent glass walls in the addition will reflect the changing use of the mill and satisfy the programmatic need for a nature observation room and bird sanctuary.

Ambre Studio

The restoration and adaptive reuse of this late 19th century A.W. Leh pharmacy building transformed a former comic book store into an art gallery and studio.

Physical and photographic evidence of the storefront’s historic appearance led to a removal of disruptive alterations and the construction of new display windows to recreate the original design.  Former window openings at the rear and side of the building were reestablished.  Window sashes with colored glass were milled and installed to replace the vinyl windows found in most of the window openings. The exterior colors recall the rich and varied palette of the Victorian era.

The first floor spaces were renovated to recall the original pharmacy interior.  The new tiled floor in the recessed entry was inspired by an existing interior floor found beneath layers of modern materials.  New accessible toilet rooms and period kitchen cabinetry complete the first floor design. The new interior is bright and welcoming as the historic space must have been.

Riverport Condominiums

Artefact designed the interior layout of Riverport Condominiums in South Bethlehem.  The 198,000 SF former Bethlehem Steel building was re-envisioned as a condominium complex with 170 units as well as a fitness center and a restaurant.  Artefact’s involvement in the project included developing designs for the the condo layouts, the circulation system, and the central courtyards.

The project required extensive coordination with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.  Originally, the building’s layout was completely open and PHMC called for a design which would retain this sense of openness as much as possible.  Artefact’s scheme incorporates two courtyards at the heart of the building to preserve the spirit of open space found in the original.

Union Station

In this adaptive reuse of the Union Station in Bethlehem, a former Lehigh Valley Railroad train station was transformed into clinical offices for St. Luke’s Hospital. The 1924 Classical Revival style building is located in the Fountain Hill National Register Historic District. The project was undertaken as a Federal Historic Tax Credit project, a financial incentive which was critical for the restoration of the abandoned building.

Artefact designed the renovations to the exterior and the main lobby and also managed the tax credit submissions for the project. Due to the severe deterioration of the interior, the only space that could be fully restored was the main entrance lobby.  Additions to the building include the enclosure of the angled side roofed platform waiting area and a second level of the west utilitarian end of the former train station.

Northampton County Courthouse

In the fall of 2009, the County of Northampton received an Energy Efficient Community Block Grant of approximately $2,000,000. The County allocated the entire amount to the renovation and restoration of the Historic Northampton Courthouse, the oldest portion of the County Governmental Center.

The original proposal called for the replacement of all 163 windows, including the monumental windows, roof repairs, gutter and downspouts repairs, and various façade repairs. Artefact’s response proposed that it might not be necessary to replace all the windows and that a closer inspection might reveal that a simple restoration of the windows would produce comparable energy savings to the savings produced by replacing the windows.

As a result of a three day lift inspection as well as an individual evaluation, the final proposal included the restoration of all the paint and glazing compounds of the monumental windows. In addition, aluminum interior storm windows were installed to improve the overall energy efficiency of the assembly. All other windows were retrofitted with new double pane 1/2 inch insulated glass.

In addition to the window work, Artefact proposed a new energy-efficient roof and gutter system. As part of the overall analysis, Artefact worked with a Paint Analysis Specialist to research the original colors of the building.

You can read more about the project in Architect Magazine.