Research

Annapolis Royal, 1878 / Asher Benjamin’s Architecture, c1840

Vineberg & Fulton Ltd. is committed to ongoing research in the field of historic preservation. This commitment means a significant amount of resources is invested in continually improving our understanding of historic building technology and local building traditions.  Vineberg & Fulton has assembled an impressive database of Nova Scotia’s rich and varied architectural history.  This dynamic database forms our doctrine, comprises our reference material, and informs our recommendations and advocacy.  Valuable, startling, and even contradictory information is constantly being peeled back like so much old linoleum.

Research is producing a better understanding of the built environment of the past few centuries here in Nova Scotia. Research is answering questions as well as raising new ones. What sort of influence did the American landscape architect, A. J. Downing have in this province? What paint colors were used in what towns and on what parts of a house and in what period? Why do so many old houses appear to have kitchen additions built on the back? Where did our stained glass, ceramic tile, wallpaper, pressed steel, and awnings come from and what styles were popular and when? What sorts of shrubs and trees were planted in urban areas? Why were our parks created and how were they intended to be used?  Why is there eel grass in my walls and should I remove it? Why does any of this matter?  The questions that can be asked are infinite. Answers will help Nova Scotians authentically preserve one of their greatest cultural resources—their built heritage.

Vineberg & Fulton Ltd. is always interested in viewing or acquiring day books, catalogues or other books and printed material that deal with the various building trades in Nova Scotia. Period photographs of homes and commercial buildings are also sought to help identify and interpret construction practices and local trends.

The vestibule and stairway lights are of rich shades of opal and Senetian glass and cut jewels designed and executed by Messrs. Castle & Son of Montreal, who also supplied the Mosaic pavement for vestibule floor.

Local newspaper, 1893

Greater knowledge of this province’s architectural history will help ensure appropriate and honest treatments for historic places.  Renovations undertaken with good intentions and historical assumptions often lead to regrettable outcomes.  Be sure that appropriate research and documentation comprise any intervention.

Many people love to live in Nova Scotia and many others love to travel here. Sure, it’s the “down home” lifestyle of locals that is always cited as the key to bluenose charm.  But since we’re products of our environment, let’s ensure that our built environment is preserved so that we might be as charming as a country cottage.

Posted by Joe Jul 11, 2011 Posted in Atlantic Canada, Built Heritage, Publications & Research Comments Off

Public Lectures

Representatives of Vineberg & Fulton are regularly engaged in lectures to various community groups, societies, museums and conferences throughout Nova Scotia. If you enjoy the mundane or struggle with insomnia, contact us to inquire about availability and to tell us about your group.

 

Posted by Joe Jul 05, 2011 Posted in Events Comments Off

The Economic Case for Preservation


Shelburne, Nova Scotia

Municipalities that support historic preservation initiatives have bought into a strategy that has been proven the world over to lead to prosperity.

Protection of and support for historic buildings creates a keystone of economic infrastructure and a corner stone of community identity.  There is a richness and authenticity inherent in the craftsmanship of historic wooden, brick, and stone structures, to say nothing of their intriguing individuality.

The all-too-common alternative—and sometimes trendy pressure for turnkey sameness—can be tempting to uninformed property owners and “progressive” municipal leaders. This sameness of replacement architecture creates a dull, uninspired streetscape and a loss of sense of place—not an environment conducive to attracting new merchants and not a place with encouraging prospects for young people.  As Nick Rockel of the Globe and Mail recently pointed out, converting older buildings for new enterprise can improve quality of place and attract new talent.

Historic neighborhoods in Nova Scotia are astonishing in the degree to which they are undervalued and unrecognized as community assets.  This reality is both a huge threat and an enormous opportunity.  A threat, because undervalued properties are often seen as blighted, neglected sites that are candidates for demolition.  And an opportunity, because identification and rehabilitation of those same sites can be a catalyst for neighborhood renewal, a harbinger of a broad revaluing of local heritage, and a boon to economic activity.

As prominent travel writer Arthur Frommer notes:

There is no evidence, not a single indication, of any city that has declined commercially from historic preservation policies.

It’s worth remembering that Frommer’s  travel guides predominantly celebrate those sites steeped in individuality, history, and authenticity.

Posted by Joe Jul 05, 2011 Posted in Economic Sustainability, Featured Comments Off