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Fall 2012




As sustainability becomes increasingly important, it has transformed design, construction, and operation of new buildings. Preservation has become a common sustainability strategy; however, it is much easier to argue the historical value of a hundred year old wood-framed house than a modern glass structure. Many buildings constructed with modernist ideals have more currently become a topic of debate for sustainable preservation. The tension stems between preserving embodied energy of existing buildings and reducing the operational energy with new construction. Originating from the counteracting beliefs in authenticity and modifications, the current need for better energy performance is best improved by integrating new sustainable technologies, materials and systems. As the reasons to preserving the past continue to increase, sustainability has become yet another key value to preserving the existing building stock, but determining which structures to save and the degree of change needed to increase energy performance varies for each building depending on historical significance, materials, previous and current uses, and cultural values. Two key factors separate the preservation of Modern architecture from ‘traditional’ buildings, or those constructed over 100 years ago. First, the need to create more sustainable buildings as a response to environmental issues now plays a significant role. Second, most modern-era buildings were constructed using innovative materials of their time and many of these materials had no previous research or methods established for maintenance and repair (Elefante, 2008).


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Preservation Sustainability Modernism: The Qualitative Analysis of Valuing Modern Architecture through Preservation and Sustainability

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