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
PROJECTIONS AND RECESSES: Look at the Building from a Distance
Graphic Number 1, non-navigational This is an image of 3/1/2 story building with a distinctive roofline profile and large window openings. The most important feature, however, it its lacy wrap-around porch.
Look at the Building's Shape
Look at the Building's Roof + Roof Features
Look at the Building's Openings
Look at the Building's Exterior Materials
Look at the Building's Trim + Secondary Features
Look at the Building's Site
Visual Character Check List checklist
Walk Through Historic Buildings

ASK
Does this historic building have a projecting feature, such as a porch or balcony? Yes.

LOOK + IDENTIFY
Part of what you see is a distinctive roofline profile and very large window openings. But it is the lacy wraparound iron balcony that is most important to the visual character of this building.

WHAT IF THE BALCONY IS ALTERED?
It would seriously affect the character of the historic building to remove this balcony, to enclose it, or to replace it with a balcony lacking the same degree of detail.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Preserve character-defining porches, balconies and arcades in the process of rehabilitating a historic building for a continuing or new use!

This is an image of an long adobe building with twin towers, a parapet, and various blocks of different sizes. Its primary character-defining feature is the arcade that comprises the building's facade. Photo: NPS files.

The recesses or voids in a building, such as a recessed arcade, can be also be very important to the overall visual character. The twin towers, parapet, and various blocks of different sizes and heights you see here are prominent, but the primary character-defining aspect is the arcade that comprises the building's facade. If this arcade were to be enclosed or removed, the exterior visual character of the building would be totally changed.

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Identifying Visual Character