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
Materials: Look at the Building Up Close
This graphic Number 2 is non-navigational This is a close-up image of the corner of a masonry building. The foundation is formed of large pieces of broken  stone with raised mortar joints. The wall above is made up of roughly rectangular stones that vary in size, color, and texture.  Above that is a narrow band of cut and dressed stones with thin mortar joints. Finally, the main building walls are composed of bricks, uniform in color,  with airly generous mortar joints. Photo: NPS files.
Look at the Building's Roof + Roof Features
Visual Character Check List checklist
Walk Through Historic Buildings

ASK
Does this "up close" view of a building wall reveal something special about the surface qualities of the historic materials – their variety and arrangement and the way they have been worked? Yes.

LOOK + IDENTIFY
The bottom of the building walls are formed of large pieces of broken stone with raised mortar joints. The wall just above is made up of roughly rectangular stones that vary in size, color, and texture. Above that is a narrow band of cut and dressed stones with thin mortar joints. Finally, the main building walls are composed of bricks, uniform in color, with fairly generous mortar joints.

WHAT IF THE MATERIALS ARE ALTERED? The arrangement and variety of materials (and of course, the craftsmanship) are essential to this building's historic appearance. Changing the raised mortar joints, for example, would drastically alter the visual character at arm's length.

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


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Identifying Visual Character