Laurel Valley Plantation by <a href=

Laurel Valley Plantation by Jerod Duet.

Sustainability is much-discussed as a concept in preservation these days. But that concept necessarily transcends the theoretical when it comes to the practical problems facing the Gulf Coast. How do you sustain the cultural identity of a region that faces the danger of widespread obliteration each hurricane season?

To help answer that question, the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training will hold a workshop on design and construction of historic structures along the Gulf Coast on Nov. 20-21 in Lafayette, La.

“Built for the Bayou: Environmental Adaptations in Design” will cover topics critical to historic preservation and design along the Gulf Coast, including the environmental evolution of historic buildings and practical application methods that can improve their sustainability.

According to Andy Ferrell, chief of NCPTT’s Architecture and Engineering Program, the answer is sometimes found by looking to the past.

Plantation homes were uniquely constructed to regulate temperature while maintaining an air of elegance.

Plantation homes were uniquely constructed to regulate temperature while maintaining an air of elegance.

“Historically buildings were designed to adapt to the environment in which they were located,” Ferrell said. “Before the advent of modern day heating, venting and cooling systems, buildings were designed and materials were chosen specifically for the hot, humid climate along the Gulf Coast.  These adaptations and materials can now be incorporated in new construction or returned to use in historic structures for improved energy performance and sustainability.”

The workshop is the first of a series focusing on the impact of natural disasters on buildings along the Gulf Coast, design adaptations of historic structures in response to the coastal environment, and ways to incorporate these ideas in sustainable design.

The training is suitable for architects, engineers, cultural resource managers and students in these fields. State and local government employees will benefit from the subject matter as well.

Several regional sustainability experts are instructing the workshop, including Edward J. Cazayoux, principal of  EnvironMental Design; Eugene D. Cizek, director of the Preservation Studies Program, Tulane University;  Barrett Kennedy, professor of architecture at Louisiana State University; and Mark W. Thomas III, adjunct assistant professor of architecture, Tulane University.

Workshop partners include AIA South Louisiana, Bayou Vermillionville District, EnvironMental Design, Louisiana State University School of Architecture, and Tulane School of Architecture.

The workshop will be a combination of lecture and group discussion. Participants will also be visiting structures in the Lafayette area that are representative of the principles learned during the lecture and group discussion.

Cost for the workshop is $125 and space is extremely limited. To register, visit the NCPTT website at http://ncptt.nps.gov.

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