Why Americans Love Europe: The Love Affair with Historic Buildings

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As we celebrate America’s 244th birthday, we reflect on the history of our nation through the eyes of our historic structures. When we think about our American history, we naturally see visions of Monticello, The Capitol Building and The White House as these are just a few of the architectural icons that frame our history. However, even in their historic significance, they are all less than 300 years old. While 300 years old may seem like a long time to some, it pales in comparison to some of the buildings across the pond. 

Europe has done an incredible job with the historic restoration and preservation of their buildings. The Pantheon, for instance, is over 1,800 years old and still in use today as a tourist attraction and Catholic Church. The Trier Cathedral of St. Petrus in Germany is over 700 years old and still used as a church today. The Saltford Manor House is the oldest privately occupied house in England at approximately 800 years old and those are just a few of the many that American tourists flock to every year.  

As Americans, we are fascinated by both the age and the current state of these historic structures because in the States, we tend to favor new builds over historic restoration in our growing cities. However, there is a reason Americans love traveling to Europe…it’s so they can gain a glimpse of history in person through these preserved buildings. While America is coming of age where historic restoration is more prevalent, Pascal Architects has been in the space for over 30 years having executed many historic restorations over the past three decades. 

We start every historic restoration project with extensive research so we have a deep understanding of the historical significance of the building and the materials used. 

Of course, we update the building to modern codes and structural stability standards, but we do so with special attention to the historic details of the building so that someone walking through the building in 2021 is getting the same experience as someone walking through the building in the 1800s. 

Oftentimes, we are working closely with the National Register, or a local representative, to ensure that our updates and modifications to the building are in accordance with the time period of the building and maintain the buildings status on the National Register. 

Furthermore, we assign a lead architect to all of our projects (not just our historic restoration projects), because we know it takes an experienced team of architects to complete any project…especially a historic restoration project. Our historic restoration work spans both industry and city. From New York to New Orleans, we have successfully restored buildings including the Lower Pontalba Building, The Old President’s House on Louisiana State University’s campus and The Cabildo Complex in New Orleans’ Historic Jackson Square. 

While we are in the business of architecture, we are also in the business of historical preservation so that we preserve our history for future generations. Happy Independence Day to all!