Give that building C.P.R.! : bringing life back into flooded mid-century modern residences

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Quigley, Cara Elizabeth

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Repeated adverse weather events have changed the way we must approach historic preservation practices for the future. The Mid-Century Modern housing stock of Houston, TX is among the nation’s largest and has been continuously threatened by severe flooding in recent years. Between 2015-2017, approximately 30 percent of the Mid-Century Modern homes in the Meyerland neighborhood of Houston flooded multiple times, resulting in a rapid increase of teardowns and significant loss of original fabric. Out-of-date floodplain maps, inadequate government assistance, and the inevitability of future disasters leave homeowners faced with challenges regarding the treatment of their historic-age properties (50 years or older). Flood resilience and adaptation strategies such as elevating a slab-on-grade home above the base flood elevation or extensive material adaptation of historic interiors must be carefully approached to avoid a negative impact on the distinct character of the modern building typology. The research in this thesis examines resilience-based preservation approaches that are supported by three case study properties in Houston. Each of the highlighted historic-age residences has incorporated various measures of flood resilience that are consciously focused on keeping with the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic. In an effort to retain the integrity of materials, design, and workmanship of flood-vulnerable Mid-Century Modern residences, finding common ground between preservation and flood resiliency is the epitome of this discussion to properly adapt and protect the at-risk edifices in preparation for sustaining the existence of the postwar building stock in future flood events



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