Overall page navigation start option: INTRODUCTION: What is the Historic Character? STEP ONE: Identify the building's overall visual aspects STEP TWO: Identify the close range visual aspects STEP THREE: Identify the interior visual aspects Introduction to Identify the Historic Character QUIZ
A distance learning site by Technical Preservation Services, National Park Service
OPENINGS: Look at the Building from a Distance
Graphic Number 1, non-navigational This is an image of a historic building with a distinctive arcade-like entry. It dominates the visual character because of its size, shape, location, materials, and craftsmanship. Photo: NPS files.
Look at the Building's Interior Space
Look at the Building's Roof + Roof Features
Look at the Building's Projections + Recesses
Look at the Building's Exterior Materials
Look at the Building's Trim + Secondary Features
Visual Character Check List checklist
Walk Through Historic Buildings

ASK
Is the arcade-like entry of this historic building an important character-defining feature? Yes.

LOOK + IDENTIFY
You can see how the opening dominates the visual character because of its size, shape, location, materials, and craftsmanship. Its relation to the generous staircase places a strong emphasis on the principal entry.

WHAT IF THE OPENING IS ALTERED?
Enclosing this entry with glass--for example--would materially and visually change the character of the building.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Preserve character-defining openings, such as entrances, doors and windows, in the process of rehabilitating a historic building for a continuing or new use!


This is an image of a commercial buildings with distinctive multiple windows, grouped in different rhythms and accented by different colored arched heads. Photo: NPS files.

LOOK at the window openings of this facade. The upper floor windows are tall, narrow, arched, and grouped in a complex rhythm. The lower floor windows are simply and regularly arranged, accented by different colored arched heads. If additional windows were inserted in the gap of the upper floors, or if the window heads were painted, the character would be lost.

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Identifying Visual Character