Structural Systems
Mechanical Systems


New Additions

1930s Moderne storefront that has gained significance over time.

The storefront is usually the most prominent feature of a historic commercial building, playing a crucial role in a store's advertising and merchandising strategy. Although a storefront normally does not extend beyond the first story, the rest of the building is often related to it visually through a unity of form and detail. Planning should always consider the entire building; window patterns on the upper floors, cornice elements, and other decorative features should be carefully retained, in addition to the storefront itself.

The earliest extant storefronts in the U.S., dating from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, had bay or oriel windows and provided limited display space. The 19th century witnessed the progressive enlargement of display windows as plate glass became available in increasingly larger units. The use of cast iron columns and lintels at ground floor level permitted structural members to be reduced in size. Recessed entrances provided shelter for sidewalk patrons and further enlarged display areas.

In the 1920s and 1930s, aluminum, colored structural glass, stainless steel, glass block, neon, and other new materials were introduced to create Art Deco storefronts.



....Identify, retain, and preserve

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Turn-of-the-century catalog design showing typical storefront components.

Identifying, retaining, and preserving storefronts--and their functional and decorative features--that are important in defining the overall historic character of the building such as display windows, signs, doors, transoms, kick plates, corner posts, and entablatures.

The removal of inappropriate, non-historic cladding, false mansard roofs, and other later alterations can help reveal the historic character of a storefront.

not recommended.....

Removing or radically changing storefronts--and their features--which are important in defining the overall historic character of the building so that, as a result, the character is diminished.

Changing the storefront so that it appears residential rather than commercial in character.

Removing historic material from the storefront to create a recessed arcade.

Introducing coach lanterns, mansard designs, wood shakes, nonoperable shutters, and small-paned windows if they cannot be documented historically.

Changing the location of a storefront's main entrance.



....Protect and Maintain

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Distinctive 19th century brick and wood storefront in good repair.

Protecting and maintaining masonry, wood, and architectural metals which comprise storefronts through appropriate treatments such as cleaning, rust removal, limited paint removal, and reapplication of protective coating systems.

Protecting storefronts against arson and vandalism before work begins by boarding up windows and installing alarm systems that are keyed into local protection agencies.

Evaluating the overall condition of storefront materials to determine whether more than protection and maintenance are required, that is, if repairs to features will be necessary.

not recommended.....

Failing to provide adequate protection of materials on a cyclical basis so that deterioration of storefront features results.

Permitting entry into the building through unsecured or broken windows and doors so that interior features and finishes are damaged through exposure to weather or through vandalism.

Stripping storefront of historic material such as wood, cast iron, terra cotta, carrara glass, and brick.

Failing to undertake adequate measures to assure the preservation of the historic storefront.




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Cast iron column revealed during removal of non-significant storefront.

Repairing storefronts by reinforcing the historic materials.

Repairs will also generally include the limited replacement in kind--or with compatible substitute materials--of those extensively deteriorated or missing parts of storefronts where there are surviving prototypes such as transoms, kick plates pilasters, or signs.

not recommended.....

Replacing an entire storefront when repair or materials and limited replacement of its parts are appropriate.

Using substitute material for the replacement parts that does not convey the same visual appearance as the surviving parts of the storefront or that is physically or chemically incompatible.




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Replacing in kind an entire storefront that is too deteriorated to repair--if the overall form and detailing are still evident--using the physical evidence as a model. If using the same material is not technically or economically feasible, then compatible substitute materials may be considered.

not recommended.....

Incompatible replacement storefront and inappropriate window alteration.


Removing a storefront that is unrepairable and not replacing it; or replacing it with a new storefront that does not convey the same visual appearance.



Design for Missing Historic Features

The following work is highlighted to indicate that it represents the particularly complex technical or design aspects of rehabilitation projects and should only be considered after the preservation concerns listed above have been addressed.


Compatible, contemporary storefront design replaced a later, non-significant storefront.

Designing and constructing a new storefront when the historic storefront is completely missing. It may be an accurate restoration using historical, pictorial, and physical documentation; or be a new design that is compatible with the size, scale, material, and color of the historic building.

not recommended.....

Creating a false historical appearance because the replaced storefront is based on insufficient historical, pictorial, and physical documentation.

Introducing a new design that is incompatible in size, scale, material, and color.

Using inappropriately scaled signs and logos or other types of signs that obscure, damage, or destroy remaining character-defining features of the historic building.

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Alterations & Additions Missing Feature Replace Repair Protect Identify