A Good Lesson

 “We have to have a viable option if we want to stay in the conversation.” – Michelle Michael

Section 106 work is never portrayed as the most glamorous aspect of historic preservation work. But it’s one of the most important aspects, especially if you work with federal property.  Michelle and I talked about Section 106 the other day, and while I’ve never been too fond of it (read: that type of work – it’s just not my cup of tea), she explained it to me in a way that allowed me understand why people do Section 106 and why they find it enjoyable.

I can now say that I understand this better than ever before: It is a compromise. It is figuring out how to convey historic buildings as an attractive first choice when it comes to renovation, rehabilitation, and development. Section 106 and architectural history and architecture, when combined, can figure out which materials will bring a building up to modern code without destroying historic materials, details, and features. It is a puzzle and critical thinking. It is shaping the future carefully with respect to the past. And, of course, it’s “green”.

I’m glad to have people like Michelle who do this sort of work and do it well, and tirelessly -and then still have the energy to teach me. As a side note, check out Michelle’s flickr page for gorgeous architectural photographs.