Streetscape and Facade Studies

During the second half of the twentieth century, social and economic changes caused the deterioration of traditional downtown areas.  Today, many villages and cities are rediscovering their downtowns as a way of fostering a sense of community, economic development and local pride.  Bero Architecture provides several services to municipalities working to revitalize their downtown districts.

Many downtowns include well-constructed, attractive buildings that have been altered over the years.  Although changes are done with the best of intentions, they usually compromise the building’s appearance and often cause physical damage.  Facade studies show building owners, merchants, and the community at large that recovering the original architecture is usually the least expensive way to improve both an individual facade and an entire district.  Bero Architecture often works in conjunction with a landscape architect to provide comprehensive streetscape studies including street design, lighting, landscaping, and street furniture.  Many communities utilize facade studies to ensure that downtown grant monies are used wisely.

In a typical facade study, Bero Architecture’s services include documenting existing conditions;  meeting with business owners, downtown committees, merchants, and municipal representatives to determine needs;  developing scale drawings that illustrate proposed improvements; and estimating potential costs of the work.  As additional services we can provide construction documents, assistance with bidding and negotiation, and contract administration.

Many communities have a desire to restore the luster of their downtown but are unsure of what should be done.  Design guidelines help establish a consensus about what goals are most important and set a standard of design that new construction must adhere to.  Common goals include respecting historic buildings, encouraging the use of appropriate materials, high standards, and developing attractive storefronts.  Bero Architecture possesses an expertise in historic architecture, urban design, traditional construction, and municipal project review.  Typical services include meeting with business owners, downtown committees, merchants, and municipal representatives to determine community goals, proposing guidelines, and presenting the guidelines to a public forum.

We have helped a number of towns provide incentives to building owners for preservatiuon and rehabilitation of their main streets.  We visit and photograph the area and  provide drawings illustrating significant architectural features of existing buildings, suggest improvements, and depending on the situation, attend public and private meetings with town boards, local developers, and independent merchants to explain design concepts and discuss individual buildings.     Designs emphasize  sensitive rehabilitation of historic facades.  Our work is often coordinated with similar studies prepared by Landscape Architects.