Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Reid and I re-entered the back building of the property this past weekend to take pictures & begin clearing out the space. The back building is 4 stories tall but, at only 500-600 square feet per floor, is manageable in size. However, it is packed with furniture, mattresses, clothes, toys, appliances, and half-destroyed bathroom fixtures. A copy of Time magazine, dated from 2003, was sitting on a table on the second floor. It is probably safe to assume that noone has lived there (as a rent-paying tenant) since that time.
The building has water damage, some of the ceilings have fallen in from it, and some floorboards have popped up. There were even mushrooms growing on top of a mattress on the floor!
When Reid and I had first entered this space a couple of months ago (we had never entered the space prior to purchasing the property), we found it to be a rather depressing window into how those with mental illness live. With depakote (a medicine used for bipolar disorder) samples lying in an open, empty suitcase on the floor and a used syringe in the windowsill of the only window that wasn't boarded up, envisioning the space as something we could actually one day live in seemed impossible.
Entering the space this past weekend wasn't as overwhelming.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Drawing up the plans for the space is not an easy task since there are two facets to the project: LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and historic preservation. Combining these two design concepts has brought our building to the center of a broader national debate within the world of architecture - How can current LEED standards be adapted to better suit historic preservation?
The University of Cincinnati College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP) is at the forefront of this broader discussion. Although "the greenest building . . . is the one that's already built," retrofitting an old building with new, energy-saving technologies can be difficult and limiting. To learn first hand the challenges involved, the DAAP program used four Over-the-Rhine buildings as green preservation prototypes for a classroom project that allowed architecture & design students to reenvision old buildings through a green lens.
Here are some of the designs that came from the project!
And, because the designs were so incredible and the students worked so hard on building a model of what 1700 Vine could become, we decided to put the plans on display for Final Friday in OTR at Cincinnati's Green General Store, Park & Vine.
The Cincinnati Enquirer even advertised the project on Saturday, June 21st, page F2.
Although the building has a lot of potential, it's going to require a lot of work. After hauling out trash leftover from previous owners, we have begun to demolish unoriginal walls, drop ceilings, and linoleum floors in order to restore the building's original character. So far, we've filled 2 dumpsters, placed a countless number of trash cans on the street for city garbage pickup, taken 3,000 Lb of scrap metal to the scrapyard, and recycled an estimated 3 truckloads of recycling found inside. The following URL links to a video of some of the storefront demolition.
Thank God for great friends and family who are always willing to help bust things up, offer encouraging advice, and share our vision for this project!