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August 5, 2011     West Seattle Herald
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August 5, 2011

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West Seattle Herald Friday, August 5,2011 13 Proposals for restoring Alki Homestead are met with confusion by ARC By Patrick Robinson The architects handling the planning for the restoration of the Alki Homestead met with the Landmarks Preservation Board's Architectural Review Committee (ARC) on Friday, July 29 to bring the group what was requested in the previous meeting, a report on the condition of the logs and win- dows in the historic but deteriorat- ing structure. Alloy Design Group's Mark Haizlip and Greg Squires provided that information and also provid.ed three options for how the restora- tion might proceed. But several of the members of the committee confessed to confu- sion about what was being present- ed and expressed concerns about how the evaluation was done. The architects pointed out that they had been working closely with engi- neer Todd Perbix, an acknowl- edged expert and had previously presented their conclusions regard- ing the roof and foundation requir- ing replacement but this too was met with confusion and skepticism. The meeting began with the win- dows and logs review. Squires spoke about the win- dows first, noting that the upstairs windows are historic from 1904 or '05 and "structurally sound enough to be refm'bished, ' but that the downstairs windows were from a later time since they concluded from the style of them, construc- tion permits from that time and the fact that the original Fir Lodge was enclosed circa "1950 to 60 when it became a restaurant, we're most likely replaced in the 70's or 80's" He pointed out that 50% of these windows were broken or cracked by the fire that damaged the Homestead in 2008. Squires noted that the damage to the case- ment window frames was, "most- ly on the surface level," and sug- It's our 10th Anniversary! Everything 10% Off thru August - Landscaping Materials • Sand . • 1/4 - Paver Base • Rocks - pea gravel, deco I 7/8th & l&l/2 washed, 5/:: . f Crushed & river  o • Mch. Cedar Grove Compost, Certified Organic "MooDoo" • Bark - medium, fine and dark fine - Specialty Soil Mixes - • Garden mix - Veggie & Flower • Turf Mix - New Lawn or Reseed • Custom mix - For any need Sod/special order - gested they could be restored or replaced. "They all seem to have been operable casements at some point," meaning they could have all been opened, but at some point they were painted shut. The doors inside are "grid between glass" that "match in character," the windows but that they are, "nothing to write home about,' Moving on to the condition of the logs Squires said, "A lot of the existing log work was document- ed quite well with the Levengood Report (a engineering study con- ducted in October, 2010), but not specifically the stacked log work so they focused on their condition, "log by log," said Haizlip. They examined them in association with Perbix, using an awl looking for, "smoke damage, crushing and char- ring" (checking for its depth). This process resulted in giving each log a rating of good, fair or poor. The sur- vey identified each wall, 1 through 8 and alphabetized the log stack from the top down. He summarized the log report by saying, 'qqae top three courses tend to be in good condi- tion" due to the overhangs that pro- tect them. "The lower courses there is a lot of exposure to the weather over the last hundred years," and where, "you are seeing a lot of the rotting, a lot of the crushing." The more protected interior walls, "tend not to have as much rotting or crushing," Haizlip said, "but they clearly were the closest to the fire. That's  where there is a lot smoke damage (...) and charring. The most damaged of these is the wall next to the fireplace which is, "beyond any sort of restoration?' Haizlip explained that as they considered various restoration plans it made sense to them to break the sections down into component parts: roof, core and foundation. "The roof is an element that everyone seems to be in agreement A weekly column showcasing your; • 6arage Sales • Bazaars • 6rand Openings • Fundraisers • Special Events • Seminars • Demos • Workshops • 6uest Speakers • Book Signings • PersonalAppearances • In-Store Events • Product Launches • Live Performances For Information, Call: 206-708-1378 simply needs to be replaced," said Haizlip, a comment that drew raised eyebrows from the committee. "And the same with the foundation. We know it has deteriorated to the point that it needs to be replaced and from talking with engineers and builders the common agreement is that with the various options we're proposing the foundation would be the game in each of them?' "The big unknown is obviously the core. That's what the log survey itemizes?' Squires then explained the three restoration options that Alloy has developed "trying to simplify a complex animal here (...) we're con- sidering the roof and foundation as somewhat static but the treatment of that core where the majority of the historical fabric exists will be where the approach is different,' In each of the options presented the roof would be removed and replaced. Here are the options as presented: Option 1 LOG BY LOG The existing roof will be removed, exposing the top log of the Core. The core will be taken apart in separate pieces from top to bottom. Each log removed will be cataloged, tagged and documented. The logs will most likely be stored and protected on site while the new foundation is poured. Once the new foundation is com- pleted, the restoration of the core will begin with the replacement of all perimeter logs. Working from the bottom up, the core will be restored log by log. If any of the original legwork is determined to be com- promised beyond reasonable use, it will be replaced with a new log that matches in size and character. Once the core is completed the roof will be reconstructed. OPTION 2 - SUPPORT, STRAP, LIFE & LOWER The existing roof will be removed, exposing the top log of the core. A large steel sup- port structure will be constructed underneath the existing headers of all window openings in the core. This structure will span the entire length of the Homestead. The exist- ing core logs beneath the headers will be hung from the steel support beams, underneath the log walls and back up to the steel beams. Once the core is completely strapped, the steel support structure will be raised via hydraulic jacks. The existing foun- dation will be removed and a new foundation will be poured. Logs at the base of the core will then be examined to determine if they are structurally compromised beyond reasonable use. Any of the origi- nal legwork that must be replaced will be done so with a new log that matches in size and character. With the new log work in place, the core will be lowered onto the new foun- dation. After the core has been suc- cessfully secured to the foundation, the roof will be reconstructed. OPTION 3 - SHORE UP & SPAN OVER The existing roof will be removed, exposing the top log of the core. Shoring will be construct- ed underneath all existing log walls and the existing foundation will be removed. The new foundation will be excavated and poured while the core is supported by shoring above. Once the new foundation is com- plete it will support the existing logs and shoring can be removed. At this time a new steel structure will be erected around the existing walls. The new steel structure will span above the top of the core, and function to support both the original core that are structurally unstable as well as the new roof structure. Once the steel structure and the core is secured to the new Foundation, the roof will be reconstructed. The architects acknowledged that the most likely plan going forward would be a hybrid but that the "res- toration solution was somewhere within those options?' The evaluation of the log condi- tion drew questions from committee member Steve Savage, who asked who does that work. Squires replied, "It is an engineer and a log builder specialist." He added that options 1 and 2 mean that the logs have a structural capacity. That means they must support weight and be able to handle lateral stresses such as wind load or seismic activity. Option 3 would render many of the logs more decorative since the structural strength would come from a steel structure. Haizlip added that "We're not going to have huge surprises" after doing their survey, "We know the ones that are severely damaged?' Savage inquired about how any of the damaged logs might be treated or restored. Squires explained that a criteria for treatment would be established. The different approaches require slightly different criteria. Some logs for example under one option would remain on site and be treated on site. In another scenario even logs with minor charring might be, since interior color is so dark, sealed or concealed. Squires called Option 2 the most aggressive but that strapping the logs beneath the headers together and suspending them on site would allow for the new foundation to be constructed and to remove the logs Welain9 00;u?fly We've added new services! Welding Supplies • Pro Cheap Ice • Firewood Macy's White WELDING Open 7 days a veek • Call for hour 13258 1st Ave. S. • Burien 206-242-6567 1-800-TOPSOIL West Seattle Herald White Center News 10037 14th Ave. SW • "that no longer serve a structural capacity?' The "more creative" Option 3 in Squires opinion creates a steel skel- eton that would allow the attach- ment of a new roof and a new foun- dation around the existing core. "It's kind of like earthquake ret- rofitting," Squires said. "Why this option is on the table is that if the logs do not serve a structural capac- !ty anymore then they can stay even if they are somewhat deteriorated. They can be restored in place but because they don't need to serve a structural function, the most fabric existing could potentially remain?' Each option has to be weighed on its merits. "The log by log option potentially means the most damage to individual logs as they are taken apart," said Squires, not- ing that, "these logs look like they are pegged together in a staggering fashion,' But Haizlip added there is no way to know where all the pegs might be. "The more we try to keep this thing intact, the better it might be for the overall restoration" Squires said. Haizlip then explained that Per- bix had developed some prelimi- nary schemes for Option 3. He asked the committee if "there's an option we seem to be missing." Meredith Wirsching from the committee then said she wanted to "take a step back ," saying, "I have questions and other board members do as well. Did you guys do the survey yourselves? Or did you have an engineer?" Squires and Haizlip acknowledged that they did do the survey themselves but in associa- tion with log expert Todd Perbix. "Why are they not listed on here?" asked Wirsching. "Who set these definitions? Who told you what good fair and poor is or how did you come up with that definition? It's not clear in my mind how you say what is poor condition is a stan- dard poor condition. I think that type of information really needs to be provided in the survey,' Wirsching acknowledged that "We've seen this project many times," but did not recall previous reports about the condition of the roof or foundation despite having had access to two extensive reports on the structures from Leavengood and Perbix. Squires explained that the condition of those two elements has been discussed in previous meetings but explained t.hat they are "building quite a document," that would be more comprehensive in its scope. "We present these things in pieces but there is an overall plan," said Squires. Haizlip echoed that these matters have been dis- cussed and explained and that the reports could be brought in again and added to a larger presentation. - See ALKI HOMESTEAD, page 14