APT Annual Conference in Kansas City

November 19, 2015

Earlier this month, Kent Diebolt, Evan Kopelson and Kristen Olson attended the Association for Preservation Technology International annual conference in Kansas City, Missouri. APT is a cross-disciplinary member organization promoting the best technology for conserving historic structures and their settings. The conference theme was Convergence of People and Places—Diverse Technologies and Practices.

One of many neon signs in the Power & Light District

One of many neon signs in the Power & Light District

The diverse technologies were on display in presentations on 3D laser scanning to aid in flood management at religious sites in Southeast Asia; 3D GIS applications to help plan new uses for Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, site of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs; and a creative fusion of high-tech and low-tech to investigate interior plaster conditions in a historic Charleston residence (infrared thermography aided by a hair dryer).


The historic Mainstreet Theater, reborn as a modern cinema

An exciting possibility for documenting post-disaster sites is the use of mobile apps that allow volunteers to quickly and accurately gather data using customized web forms. Meanwhile, web-based databases such as APT’s OSCAR and the National Building Stone Database are putting valuable data on sustainable practices and restoration materials at the fingertips of practitioners.


A neon sign for the Drum Room lounge at the historic President Hotel

Several presentations tied the social dimension of preservation to larger national and global issues of justice and human health, with a concept of “whole places” that function on all levels. Case studies demonstrated the successful rehabilitation of unloved, Brutalist-style buildings into vibrant spaces for human interaction.


Spandrel detail on the Power and Light Building, an iconic Art Deco skyscraper

A full-day symposium, Renewing Modernism, addressed the challenges and opportunities presented by buildings of the Modern era. Many presenters called for flexibility and creativity in bringing 20th century buildings up to 21st century energy standards, with a consensus that different standards of both energy efficiency and preservation should apply to buildings relative to their cultural significance. Presenters cited the sheer volume of Modern buildings that have reached or are approaching the 50-year mark, and the imperative to reuse, rather than discard, this vast inventory of existing buildings.

To learn more about APT, visit www.apti.org. 

Vertical Access was proud to be a Benefactor Sponsor for APT’s 2015 conference.

Investigating and Understanding the New York State Pavilion’s Tent of Tomorrow and Observation Towers

September 16, 2015

In April of 2015, the Friends of NCPTT, the World Monuments Fund, the American Institute of Architects St. Louis, Washington University in St. Louis, and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial partnered to jointly present a symposium on the preservation of Mid-Century modern structures in St. Louis, MO. This three-day event brought experts together to present an in-depth understanding of the history, use, and preservation of materials found in Mid-Century modern architecture.

Evan Kopelson, partner at Vertical Access and Nancy Hudson, associate at Silman,  co-authored the presentation Investigating and Understanding the New York State Pavilion’s Tent of Tomorrow and Observation Towers.  It gives an overview of the New York State Pavilion’s innovative design and engineering, describes the current condition of the Tent of Tomorrow and Observation Towers, highlights the importance of archival research in revealing construction methods and details, and addresses reuse challenges.  The entire presentation is available for viewing below.

About the Speakers

Nancy R. Hudson has 20 years of consulting structural engineering experience. Ms. Hudson joined Silman in 2005 and was named an Associate in 2007. Her projects include the restoration of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Restoration of New York City Hall and Restoration of Wyoming State Capitol. She is a member of the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) and the Association for Preservation Technology (APT). Ms. Hudson has a Master of Science in Civil Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Evan Kopelson is an architectural conservator with over twenty years of experience in the documentation and investigation of historic buildings. He is Vertical Access’ partner-in-charge of teams performing existing condition surveys, in situ testing services, and the characterization of building materials and finishes on buildings and bridges. Evan is a member of the ASTM Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings, and is a professional associate of the American Institute for Conservation, having formerly served as secretary/treasurer of the AIC’s Architecture Specialty Group. Evan has also served as vice-president of the Western Chapter of the Association for Preservation Technology International.

More presentations from the symposium may be viewed on the NCPTT website.

The Quarterly – Summer 2015

August 24, 2015


Check out our Summer 2015 Quarterly newsletter.

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Can you identify this building? – Series No. 6

August 19, 2015

Test your knowledge of historic and iconic buildings in the U.S. (and beyond!) in this series of “guess the building” blog posts.

Series No. 6:

These terra cotta faces keep watch over a state capitol from atop what was once the tallest building between New York and Chicago. The building was originally called the “Citadel” and the classically-inspired ornamental motifs include shields, eagles, fasces and medallions. Where is it?



Answer: LeVeque Tower, Columbus, Ohio. This Art Deco skyscraper was built in 1927 by the American Insurance Union and originally known as the AIU Citadel. The architect, C. Howard Crane, is best known as a designer of movie palaces. In 1945, the building was purchased by John Lincoln and Leslie L. LeVeque, inventor of the automatic pinsetter used in bowling alleys.


Don’t miss another architectural challenge: subscribe to our blog by signing up with your email address in the sidebar. Click here to see all of the posts in this series.

Photos by Vertical Access.

You Can Help SAVE The Historic Hanging Flume!

August 12, 2015

The Hanging Flume is the most intact structure of its kind in the United States, and it is the only hanging flume in a condition suitable for preservation, education and interpretation. It illustrates the ingenuity and fortitude of the engineers and miners intent on extracting gold from the land. The Hanging Flume is a historically significant cultural resource recognized by:

  •  The World Monuments Fund – 2006 Most Endangered Sites list
  •   The State of Colorado – Most Endangered Places of 1999
  •   National Register of Historic Places

Time is Running Out to Document the Flume

The Hanging Flume is deteriorating as a result of the ongoing effects of exposure to the elements, falling debris and rock slides, and scavenging. The threat of losing key segments of the flume means the time is now to investigate and document remaining sections before the evidence is gone forever. Previous expeditions have documented approximately 10 percent of the remaining sections of the Hanging Flume. At each location, different construction configurations were discovered. The urgency for conducting this project now is that undocumented segments may contain key information on the construction of the Flume that will be lost as the 130-year-old structure continues to deteriorate.

What We Need & What You Get

Your contribution will help the Interpretive Association of Western Colorado send a team of experts to document additional remaining sections of the flume. The original project team that has made expeditions to the flume and produced technical reports over the past decade is ready to conduct the next phase of investigative work. To get the team to the flume, we only need to raise $20,000 more in order to match over $140,000 already raised!

Contributions at any level are greatly appreciated. Contributors at the $50 level will receive a copy of the 60-minute DVD film about the Hanging Flume, “The Best Kept Secret of the Wild West.” Please share our campaign with your network to make an even greater impact!

Learn more and get involved here.

The Quarterly – Spring 2015

June 9, 2015

Check out our Spring 2015 Quarterly newsletter.



EVENT: Preservation on High: Investigation and Documentation of Monumental Historic Structures

June 9, 2015

Learn how available technological tools help to improve the collection and management of graphical and numerical information derived from building surveys.

dottyarrowLearn more and RSVP here.

DATE: June 11, 2015
TIME: 4:00pm – 6:00pm
LOCATION: Commons, 107 West Denny Way, Suite 303, Seattle, WA 98119


Preservation architects, engineers and others involved in the renovation of historic buildings agree on the importance of an efficient and thorough discovery phase. A significant part of that effort is the organized collection of building information and accurate documentation of existing conditions. Even though these discovery tasks are such a significant part of a project, the development and incorporation of tools to improve the process on site and process the resulting information has been slow to develop.

This presentation examines some components of a successful early discovery phase on monumental historic buildings and reviews some technological tools that help to improve the collection and management of graphical and numerical information derived from building surveys.


Kent Diebolt is the founder of Vertical Access and has been the principal-in-charge for most investigation, testing and inspection projects performed by Vertical Access over the firm’s 22-year history. Since the first Vertical Access project in 1992, Kent and his team have inspected numerous historically significant buildings, constructed of a wide variety of materials. He is an active participant and is a leader in professional preservation and rope access organizations.

Presented by Association for Preservation Technology NW and AIA Seattle Historic Resources Committee






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