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Home arrowInclusiveness arrowNicholas Patrick Interview

Interview with Nicholas M. Patrick, Architectural Conservator/Project Manager, Aeon Preservation Services, LLC

Nicholas Patric, Old SalemNicholas Patrick is Aeon Preservation Services LLC’s Architectural Conservator/Project Manager. He has over a decade of experience in the construction industry as a contractor and project manager. His areas of interest lie in implementing emerging technologies and paralleling sustainability trends. He is a LEED Green Associate. Mr. Patrick has a BA in History (2010) and MA in Historic Preservation (2013) from the University of Georgia.

What led you to your field?

My father owns and operates a design-build firm in Atlanta, GA. I grew working (and playing) on construction sites. My mother is an interior designer and antiques enthusiast. I have a passion for history and obtained a BA in History from The University of Georgia. I had a desire to further my education and I found the field of historic preservation after performing research. I then obtained a Masters in HP from The University of Georgia. While working on my Masters, I was employed by an Athens, GA-based general contractor who specialized in historic restorations and rehabilitations. There I gained further experience in construction management in the preservation field. Preservation is a perfect combination of my experience in construction and my love for building with my passion for history. After leaving GA, I moved to Washington, DC and was hired by Aeon Preservation Services in Bladensburg, MD. I currently work for Aeon and have gained even more experience in one of the meccas of historic buildings.

How does what you do relate to historic preservation?

I am a professional Architectural Conservator at Aeon. Construction projects involving historic buildings require special attention to maintain compliance and provide a product that retains historic integrity. We specialize in bridging the gap between Architects/Designers and General Contractors in the context of historic preservation. Our work includes investigations, research, surveys, construction documents, specs, management, conservation, etc. We work in preservation directly, completing award-winning projects that retain historic integrity while employing modern materials and processes. 

Why do you think historic preservation matters?

Variety, embodied energy, memory, honoring the past, economic development, community/regional/national identity, etc.

What courses do you recommend for students interested in this field?

Building materials and conservation, chemistry of preservation, or achieving a BS or MS in preservation/conservation. I lack an understanding of the science of preservation/conservation (which I am slowly gaining through experience), and I have come to realize its importance. In my opinion, employing the science of conservation is how an individual can be monetarily and personally fulfilled within Historic Preservation.

Do you have a favorite preservation project?  What about it made it special?

I do. It was my first “preservation” project as a manager. 693 North Pope St. Athens, GA. The 1907 Georgian plan bungalow required over 15 supplemental piers, 16 engineered beams, complete replacement of sills, new architectural shingle roof, and extensive framing to stabilize the structure. Once the structure was stabilized, the interior staircase was completely rebuilt, and the first floor was returned to its original plan (Georgian/central hall). All new electrical, data, plumbing, and HVAC systems were installed. The front porch was removed and rebuilt with a standing seam metal roof and historically accurate trim, columns, and railings. Most interior finishes were replaced, fireplaces were uncovered, nearly all first floor double-hung sash windows were returned to functioning condition (using original weights), original shutters were reinstalled, reclaimed pine plank flooring was used for second floor repairs, and all new red oak floors installed on first floor. All lead and asbestos was properly abated and removed. The project enhanced the area by breathing new life into one of the most dilapidated houses on Pope St. 693 N. Pope St. was rehabilitated within seven months, is ADA compliant, received a COA from Planning Dept., and now provides quality office space for a local non-profit while removing blight and increasing the historic integrity (and property values) of the Boulevard Historic District. The beginning and end photos show it all:

Before: http://www.flickr.com/photos/childrenfirstinc/4993665854/

During: http://www.flickr.com/photos/childrenfirstinc/5412220762/

After: http://www.flickr.com/photos/childrenfirstinc/5859763335/lightbox/

It was/is special because it was MY responsibility, I was a rookie, I dealt with great tenants and client, and the results were award-winning (Outstanding Rehabilitation in Athens 2011 awarded by Athens-Clarke County Historic Foundation). I also became connected with the former inhabitants of the house through research and finding personal effects during demolition.

Can you tell us what you are working on right now?

Yes, Macedonian Monument Restoration (USNA, Annapolis), 1350 Connecticut Ave window restoration (Dupont, DC), Federal Trade Commission door restoration (Penn Ave. DC), Central Heating Plant masonry restoration (SE DC), Grace Church stone restoration (Georgetown), 1100 F St. building survey (Downtown, DC), AAMC building - the moving and rehab of 4 conjoined row houses/commercial space (Downtown, DC), etc.

How do you think the national historic preservation programs help your community?

Their programs disseminate through the local SHPOs which I believe are the most helpful entity for public and private preservation. I think a teaching preservation to children and introducing/bolstering preservation in low-income communities should be improved.

The ACHP’s mission is “preserving America’s heritage;” can you give us an example of how your community is preserving its heritage?

DC is an epicenter of preservation and that is frankly due to the availability of money. The Federal Government has committed to preservation (lately, merit based contracting) especially in DC because it is the focal point of the free world. Many areas of DC are truly historic and require the best contractors to complete the work properly, on-time and on-schedule.

What about architectural conservation helps it to play an important role in the preservation field?

See #2. In addition, conservation maintains and improves the heart of historic preservation: building stock.

 

Read more Q&A stories about the preservationists in your neighborhood!

 

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