Renovating a 150 year old building is not a simple undertaking. There are many factors to consider: historic preservation, functionality, building codes, safety, longevity, aesthetics, and even visitor experience.
While Universal Preservation Hall has always been a gathering place, in its new functionality as a state of the art performance facility, every decision made will have consequences in the future. We work closely and consult with our architects, local historic preservationists, construction crew, and staff before every decision.
This past week, we faced a new challenge with a doorway that divides what was the original front foyer of the building, leading to the administrative offices and restrooms. Originally this doorway featured connected doors on hinges that would swing open; however since this space will no longer be the main entrance, we need to consider what the future use would be, keeping in mind the historic integrity. In addition, careful examination of the fire code regulations in regards to accessibility for visitors to the restrooms.
While seemingly a simple task, members from each of our teams carefully examined the doors. Each party made their case for what they thought would be the best solution. The group carefully examined the original hinges, tested the doors, and walked around the space. This process ultimately took a few hours, but we were able to find a solution to both serve our public and honor our historic past.
We continue to follow this same careful process with each one of our building’s unique features. We don’t want to rush into a hurried decision; once something is done to this beautiful building, it might be impossible to reverse. While it seems painstakingly slow at times, it is important to carefully think through each decision so we can guarantee UPH has the best future.