Beyond the Build

Tips from the Field

Adaptive Reuse–Always Interesting

“Be Prepared.” The 100-year motto of the Boy Scouts could also be well-suited for the Adaptive Reuse or Historic Restoration arena, along with having “the vision.”

Here you see a circa-1908 brick structure being transitioned to a new medical research facility. The existing 3-wythe exterior masonry wall facade will be saved. This means removing interior structure and skeleton framing, followed by temporary shoring. Removing what once held the structure together is sometimes a standard practice with these projects.

Beyond saving the walls, another component is the tedious process of the “blind pick,” similar to the Lyric Theatre project not too long ago. All of 60 new structural columns were placed with no visual for the crane operator. Never a dull moment.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.