1st Edition

Old Materials, New Climate Traditional Building Materials in a Changing World

By Susan Pranger Copyright 2024
    436 Pages 151 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    436 Pages 151 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Old Materials, New Climate: Traditional Building Materials in a Changing World is an accessible guidebook to understanding historic materials – how they were traditionally made, how they survived the test of time, and how changes in climate are now impacting materials in new ways.

    Protecting historic buildings from a rapidly changing and unpredictable climate requires an understanding of how climate affects weather and how weather affects the durability of the most widely used traditional materials – wood, adobe, brick, lime, concrete, metal, and paint. This resource examines how gradual and dramatic changes in climate threaten to accelerate normal weathering and presents strategies to safeguard historic materials for future generations. Illustrated case studies explore how weather is affecting materials in specific historic buildings in climate zones in the United States and across the globe.

    Drawing on the work of experts in conservation, biology, chemistry, and environmental impacts, this book is an invaluable resource for any student, preservationist, architect, or contractor interested in expanding their knowledge of materials and why they perform as they do.

    Part 1: Context  1.1 The Shifting Climate  1.2 The Preservation Perspective  1.3 Stakeholders and Resources  Part 2: Traditional Materials  2.1 Common Issues and Strategies  2.2 Wood  2.3 Stone  2.4 Earth, Clay, Brick, and Terracotta  2.5 Lime  2.6 Concrete and Cement  2.7 Metals  2.8 Coatings  Part 3: United States Case Studies  3.1 Covered Bridges in Oregon and New England  3.2 Early New England Masonry  3.3 The San Antonio Missions  3.4 Missions of Southern Arizona  3.5 Lighthouses of the Pacific Northwest  3.6 Michigan Central Station  3.7 Early Chicago Concrete at Unity Temple and Baha’i Temple  Part 4: Lessons from Abroad  4.1 Scotland: Lime Past and Present  4.2 Wood Coatings in Norway  4.3 The Lahore Fort  4.4 Wood and Coatings in Japan  Part 5: Moving Forward  5.1 A Comprehensive Preservation Plan  5.2 Conclusions




    Susan Pranger has focused on preservation and adaptive reuse for most of her career as an Architect and Educator, gaining a fascination for historic buildings, and a deep respect for the owners, advocates, consultants, and craftsmen who ensure their survival. Susan is a licensed Architect and LEED accredited professional with 40 years of experience in professional practice, 12 years as chair of the Boston Landmarks Commission, and over 10 years teaching in the Sustainable Design and Historic Preservation at the Boston Architectural College (BAC), an institution with a long tradition of combining education with practice. In 2015, Susan received a Master of Design Studies in Sustainable Design from the BAC, exactly 40 years after receiving a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Detroit, Michigan.

    'A must-have reference for the heritage community in these critical times. This long overdue review of the impact of climate change on the full range of historic building materials is brilliantly addressed through technical summaries and compelling case studies from across the planet. This is the rare book that is both a delight to read and a go-to source of important information.' - Jean Carroon, FAIA, LEED fellow, former Chair of the AIA Historic Resources Committee

    'Susan Pranger has presented us with just what we need to understand the threats to heritage from a changing climate…real materials and real sites, with clear descriptions, detailed photographs and thoughtful tabulations…all so useful.'- Peter Brimblecombe, Emeritus Professor School of Environmental Sciences, UEA Norwich, UK

    'Pranger brilliantly delves into the intricate relationship between weather, climate, and the timeless building materials that shape history. Touring these notable case studies illuminates the impact of climate change and empowers professionals to protect the past while designing a sustainable future. A vital addition for libraries of architects and preservationists, it is a roadmap to protecting our heritage in a warming world. Uncover the secrets of material resilience and continuity in this must-read masterpiece.' - Eric Corey Freed, Director of Sustainability, Cannon Design, Architect, Author, Speaker

    'This timely publication gives an overview of traditional materials and how they perform in a variety of circumstances and futures. It offers guidance on how an older material palette can contribute to carbon reduction in the built environment and the changes needed to address future climate scenarios in order to keep historic buildings relevant.' - Roger Curtis MRICS, FSA, Head of Technical Resources, Historic Environment Scotland

    'Old Materials, New Climate should be a standard reference for preservationists considering the effects of climate change on the historic structures they are tasked with saving.' - Christopher H. Marston, US National Park Service


    'Susan Pranger's well-researched book examines the effect climate has on building materials, including concrete! New history emerged about the concrete work for Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple, offering a greater understanding about the material and how we can best preserve it.' - Heidi Ruehle, Executive Director, Unity Temple Restoration Foundation

    'Thoroughly researched and expertly written, Susan Pranger’s Old Material, New Climate combines an expansive survey of historic building materials, methods, and techniques, and the growing crisis our collective built heritage will face in a future of unreconcilable climatic change.' - Benjamin R. Curran, The Campaign for Historic Trades

    'Old Materials, New Climate addresses the intersection of preservation and sustainability in thorough detail from various global perspectives, covering a variety of materials from wood to concrete. Anyone looking for a more nuanced understanding of how traditional materials function in our rapidly changing climate should add this to their library.' - Eleni Glekas, Director, Historic Preservation and BAC/NCA/UOBS University Partnerships

    'Monumental work! Susan Pranger has given us a comprehensive look at historic preservation from the perspective of the construction materials encountered in typical preservation projects. Students and those in the general public with an interest the craft of building will find Old Materials, New Climate absorbing reading, especially the descriptions of the technical intricacies and drama of actual preservation projects such as the San Antonio Missions or the lighthouses of the Pacific Northwest. Activists and professionals in the preservation field will find a deeper utility in the encyclopedic chapters on specific materials and case studies that offer concrete examples of how to manage preservation projects to the highest technical and professional standards.' - Curt Lamb, PhD, M.Arch. former Director of the Boston Architectural College’s Masters in Historic Preservation and Masters in Sustainable Design degree programs.

    '[…] a foundational document with chapters that people should reread in practice as their projects raise problems with existing materials…a strong introduction to the real world of traditional materials.' - Henry Moss, AIA, Principal, Bruner/Cott Architects