The late 18th century house, located 25 miles west of Philadelphia on the edge of Cheyney’s campus, is a uniquely important building for the university because of its connection to the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. A hidden stair in the basement leads to a sub-basement room that likely sheltered escaping slaves.
Armstrong House had fallen into very poor condition after being abandoned for some time. The restoration project brought it back to its mid 19th century appearance, removing inappropriate flat-roofed additions and other modern alterations. Artefact conducted research into the building’s history and and developed the design for restoration while C.F. Portner produced the construction documents.
The Lutz-Franklin Schoolhouse that stands today was built in 1880 and served the community as a school from 1880 to 1958. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was determined to be a significant historic property because it possesses authentic characteristics of a 19th century one-room schoolhouse. The fine artisanship of the building, most clearly demonstrated in the pattern of the stone work, was exceptional for its time.
An anonymous donor funded the restoration of the schoolhouse and its conversion into the Lutz-Franklin Schoolhouse Museum. Artefact created the restoration plans and coordinated the work. Today the schoolhouse is owned and maintained through a partnership between Lower Saucon Township and the Lower Saucon Historical Society. Students visit the museum to learn about local history. Many community events, such as History Day, Harvest Festival, picnics and community meetings, are held at the schoolhouse.
St. Peter’s Church, designed by Charles McKim of McKim, Mead, and White in 1887 is an important example of early Gothic revival architecture and one of only a few churches designed by the firm. The tower is of particular interest because concrete was used in place of rubble stone for the interior portion of the wall. This composite construction system innovation illustrates the transition between solid stone construction and present day stone veneer construction, but also contributed to water problems seen in the tower.
A preservation plan was completed in February 2011 for the exterior envelope of St. Peter’s Church with a special emphasis on the investigation of the church tower. The preservation plan was largely funded by a grant from the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund (MCHPT) and it identifies approximately 36 items that require preservation actions.
Presently, construction documents for Phase 1 of the restoration are being completed. This phase includes roof replacement, installation of through wall flashing and repointing of masonry of the church tower and turret. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring.
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.
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.