Though I’ve been in Spokane for two days, today was the official opening of the conference. That didn’t happen until the opening planetary today at 5pm, so most people toured the city today. During the day I attended a workshop on conducting Historic Building Assessments. I’ve done this to various degrees in projects I’ve worked on, but never a full assessment.

The day started with an overview of what an Historic Building Assessment is, and the relevant sections including a history of the building, a overview of the site, systems, structure interior materials and exterior materials as well as what the specific treatment for each would be. The biggest point emphasized was that a Building Assessment in a living document and that building managers should add a record of any changes to it after its initial completion. We were then split into five groups to examine the building.

Group on the Roof

Inside the Blue Room

The Auditorium

Masonic Lodge Exterior

Then came the fun part, the tour! Since I was in the systems group I got to go all over the building, from the roof to the basement. The building was AMAZING. From its view of the Spokane Falls, to its original fan system, to the elaborate blue room, every inch was stunning. Here is just a sample of what it looked like:
After the tour, we worked as group to organize our observations, and make recommendations for future changes. Each of the five groups then presented. Being in the systems group, I knew very little, but the building manager and two architects in my group were super helpful and I learned so much from them! It was also awesome, because the Masonic Lodge building manager, will likely actually use some of the recommendations, as he was there all day answering questions, and asking questions during the presentations.

After this day long event was the opening plenary. The speakers were Stephanie Meeks, the president of the National Trust, and Annie Leonard from the Story of Stuff. They were both great speakers. ¬†Stephanie talked about turning a cause, like heritage, into a movement, and how it needs four things: soul stirring, spectacular, communal and an undertaking. Annie’s main points were that we are trashing the planet, trashing each other and not even having fun. She was so inspiring, I got a signed copy of her book!

After this energizing opening, it was the the opening reception, and the #builtheritage chat tweet up!!! It was so awesome to meet so many of the #builtheritage tweeters.

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