Architecture and Design | Residential | Commercial | Historic Preservation

Historic preservation

Historic Preservation & Energy Efficiency: A Guide for Historic Commercial Buildings

Posted on June 21st, by raskin in Blog, Uncategorized. Comments Off on Historic Preservation & Energy Efficiency: A Guide for Historic Commercial Buildings

A collaboration of Pacific Power, Energy Trust of Oregon, and Clatsop Community College, has produced an excellent booklet on the energy efficiency for historic commercial buildings. The students and faculty of the College’s Historic Preservation Program provided the information for the booklet which showcases projects throughout the state.  The Guide is available to view online or to download and is a valuable tool for historic commercial property owners, tenants and communities seeking to improve energy efficiency and preserve the historic qualities of these buildings.

Dr. Harvey Award

Posted on May 22nd, by raskin in Astoria, Blog. Comments Off on Dr. Harvey Award

The City of Astoria has it own historic preservation awards, the Dr. Edward Harvey Historic Preservation Award,  named after Dr. Harvey, who was instrumental in creating the historic preservation movement in Astoria.  The award is presented each year to recognize property owners who have completed exterior restoration or beautification of a building which exemplifies the historical attributes of the building or the architectural heritage of Astoria.  Of the three projects awarded this year, I was the architect for two of them.   The Columbia River Maritime Museum won the institutional category for the renovation of the Astoria Train Depot, and Bob and Nancy Ross won the multi-family category for the renovation of the Finn Housa property.

It has been one of the pleasures of doing historic preservation work in Astoria that I have been able to work on a number of projects … Read More »

Albany Central Elementary School Retrofit

Posted on May 5th, by raskin in Blog, Seismic. Comments Off on Albany Central Elementary School Retrofit

Courtesy OEM

Oregon voter’s showed their concern about making children safe in their schools by approving $500 millions of bonding for seismic upgrades of schools a few years back.  The Legislature has been slow to allocate funding for the project, but some projects are being funded.  Recently, one such project was completed for the Central Elementary School in Albany, Oregon.  A masonry building almost a hundred years old, it is a well loved school with 160 students from kindergarten to fifth grade.  The $1.5 million dollar grant from Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program (SRGP) helped tie the roof and floors to the masonry walls.  Selective walls were made into shear walls to resist the earthquake and new stairs were built to evacuate from the school.  The building is considered an historic building and the work was approved by the State … Read More »

Mid-century dilemma

Posted on April 5th, by raskin in Blog. 1 Comment

Seagram BuildingCourtesy of


New York City is looking to figure out what to do with their tens of millions square feet of commercial office buildings that were built mid-century.  This is the generation of buildings which that entailed the wholesale destruction of historic buildings which in turned  became a major impetus for the historic preservation movement.  These buildings also were criticized for their negative impact on the urban fabric of the City.   Built in the time of cheap energy, they relied entirely on inefficient HVAC systems that are the are similar to the gas guzzling cars of that generation as well.  The report, Midcentury (un)Modern Analysis of the 1958-1973 Manhattan Office Building, points out that these buildings were cheaply built, consumes large amounts of energy, do not have sufficient ceilings heights, are poorly laid out, and will … Read More »

Classes at Barbey Maritime Center

Posted on March 11th, by raskin in Blog. Comments Off on Classes at Barbey Maritime Center





The classes will begain at the Barbey Maritime Center this may.  They include boat building, knots, and native american carving.  They are weekend classes so if you live outside of Astoria, make a nice weekend of it.   You can actually do it by staying or eating at other historic renovation projects that I have worked on over the years, including the Hotel Elliott, the Commodore Hotel, Fulio’s Restaurant, Fort George Brewery, and the Schooner (now called T Paul’s Supper Club).


Barbey Maritime Center

Posted on February 13th, by raskin in Historic Preservation. Comments Off on Barbey Maritime Center

The Astoria Train Depot has finished its journey from being a decommissioned train depot to the Barbey Maritime Center for the Columbia River Maritime Museum.  The dedication took place on Jan. 25th, where public officials, the Barbey family, the CRMM Board, and the public were able to see the finished building.

The waiting rooms have been restored to their original splendor and the light pours in through the large curved windows.  The Women’s Waiting Room is being used for meeting and conferences.  The Men’s Waiting Room has become an exhibit/work space for traditional boat building crafts.  The first such exhibit to arrive was the copper nail machine and the Museum has become the sole source of these nails worldwide.  The Waiting Rooms are a tad smaller on the inside, since the exterior walls were furred out to allow the installation of steel frames and insulation.  … Read More »

Depot Update 11/14

Posted on November 15th, by raskin in Blog. Comments Off on Depot Update 11/14


The entry canopy structures are completed.  The metal roofing and the gutter between the roof and the building are the next steps.  On the west side, the building sign is installed. The building is named  the Barbey Maritime Center following a generous donation to the Museum by the Barbey family that have a strong history both with maritime activities on Columbia as well as Astoria.

The interior trim is being installed and painted.  The building has plenty of natural light streaming into the spaces.  So much so, that I finally have to backtrack a bit on the comments I have made in the past about the original design.  I had questioned why the architect had done a building with a flat roof and no overhangs.  While I still question the lack of protection at the doors, I realize now that the intent … Read More »

Old is New

Posted on November 11th, by raskin in Blog. Comments Off on Old is New

The Cool Hunter website has some beautiful photos of modern additions and insertions of new buildings and elements into old historic buildings.  In all of them, the new is juxtaposed to the old rather than trying to restore the building to an original state, or reuse a traditional or classical architectural vocabulary.  This approach is actually supported in the Secretary of Interior standards, where new additions are suppose to be “of the their time” and not give an appearance that they were original when they are not.

This is the approach I took with adding the entry canopies to the Depot project in Astoria.  Taking a cue from the recent addition of the Columbia River Maritime Museums, I used the curved roof form, wood roof structure, and galvanized metal posts to create the entries.   This approach … Read More »

Schools leading the way

Posted on November 9th, by raskin in Blog. Comments Off on Schools leading the way

The citizens of Portland voted overwhelmingly to pass a bond measure that upgrades a number of Portland schools.  It pays for some basic seismic upgrades on a 26 schools and completely modernizes three high schools and one grade school.  It is a first step to the modernization of all Portland’s schools, which at the end will be safer,  will meet the education needs of today, and will cost less money to operate and maintain.  The energy savings alone will help make these schools more sustainable.  The school district has also balanced out the safety and energy needs with maintaining the historic fabric that makes many of these schools beloved landmarks.

Out at the coast, the Seaside School District is embarking on a program to rebuild all of the schools to meet the highest seismic standards to insure they will not only … Read More »

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