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
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CRAFT DETAILS: Look at the Building Up Close
This graphic Number 2 is non-navigational This is an image of a brick wall. The unusually long bricks in varying shades of yellow-brown are distinctive, but the related craft details are perhaps more important in establishing the visual character. Every ninth course, there is a row of recessed bricks that creates a shadow pattern on the wall; the deeply recessed mortar joints that create a secondary pattern of shadows; and a there is 'toothed' effect, where the bricks overlap each other at the corner of the building. Photo: NPS files.
Look at the Building's Materials Up Close
Look at the Building's Craft Details Up Close
Visual Character Check List checklist
Walk Through Historic Buildings

ASK
Do craft details play a major role in giving this historic building its close-up visual character? Yes.

LOOK + IDENTIFY
You can appreciate the unusually long bricks in varying shades of yellow-brown. While this brick is distinctive, the related craft details are perhaps more important in establishing the visual character. Note the row of recessed bricks every ninth course that creates a shadow pattern on the wall; the deeply recessed mortar joints that create a secondary pattern of shadows; and a toothed effect, where the bricks overlap each other at the corner of the building.

WHAT IF THE CRAFT DETAILS ARE ALTERED? The cumulative effect of this artistry is critical to the arm's length visual character. It would be difficult to match if it were damaged, and the effect could be easily damaged through insensitive treatments such as painting the brickwork or by careless repointing.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Preserve character-defining craft details in the process of rehabilitating a historic building for a continuing or new use!


This is an image of unpainted oak clapboards, made by hand. The boards vary in width and thickness and have overlapping feather-edge ends. The silver-gray weathering adds to the random quality of the clapboards.

LOOK closely at these unpainted oak clapboards made by hand, not produced by a machine. The boards vary in width and thickness and have overlapping feather-edge ends. The silver-gray weathering adds to the random quality of the clapboards. Replacing a hand-crafted board with a machine-made board would change the arm's length visual character.

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Identifying Visual Character