Published January 28, 2020
A graduate of the dual masters of architecture and urban planning programs at UB, as well as the BAED program, Bradley Everdyke found his true calling in historic preservation.
"My background in all three fields allows me to approach projects more comprehensively. I’m able to understand the various aspects of each project and can move from one to the other with ease and help mediate conflicts when needed."
Working as an architectural technician at the Buffalo architecture firm Carmina Wood Morris, Everdyke primarily deals with ensuring the firm's historic preservation work is in line with state and federal guidelines for historic tax credits. He has found the ideal outlet for his combined interests in architecture and planning through preservation and adaptive reuse of Buffalo's built environment.
Here Everdyke shares his inspirations for pursuing architecture and historic preservation, highlighting how his UB education shaped his path.
I started my undergraduate education in the BSArch program at UB in 2008. I had wanted to be an architect since a young age and I was excited to start that process. I struggled balancing studio, other coursework, and my social life however, and ended up being pushed out of the program after my sophomore year for failing to meet the school’s minimum GPA requirements. I enrolled in the BA Environmental Design program, somewhere I never intended to be, where I discovered that my interest for the built environment extended beyond singular buildings and into the larger urban context.
As I began planning for graduate school, I was intrigued by UB’s Dual MArch/MUP program as it offered the opportunity for me to continue to explore both areas. I applied to other schools, but ultimately made the decision to stay at UB for grad school based on the relationships I’d made with the students and faculty, my understanding of the demands and structure of the programs, and because I knew I would be getting a good value for my education. After taking a historic preservation elective, my trajectory in planning changed. I began to develop a stronger interest in the history of the built environment. It was clear that preservation provided an outlet where I could work on both of my interests simultaneously and I decided to pursue the Certificate in Historic Preservation.
My path through my undergraduate and graduate education was not linear. I am grateful that I was a part of an institution that supported my growth and allowed me to explore my interests as they developed.
Preservation efforts can range from a piece of artwork to an entire city. Having some understanding of the impacts of preservation at a multitude of scales has been critical in informing work that I’ve done in both academic and professional settings. Beyond that, a general knowledge of buildings, such as construction techniques, materials, fenestration, styles, photography, and writing are important skills to develop. There is always room for growth; no two buildings, neighborhoods, or cities are identical. It’s the nuances in history that make preservation exciting.
My background in all three fields allows me to approach projects more comprehensively. I’m able to understand the various aspects of each project and can move from one to the other with ease and help mediate conflicts when needed.
My time at the UB helped me develop a holistic approach to my work. I was challenged to look at issues from multiple angles, to analyze potential options, and to argue for what I believed would be the best solution. The school’s openness with its students, where classes were not only lectures, but discussions, encouraged me to not be afraid to ask questions, form my own opinions, and develop confidence in the work I’ve done in a professional environment.
My formal title with Carmina Wood Morris is Architectural Technician, but my main focus is managing the historic preservation side of projects.
The preservation or adaptive-reuse projects the firm works on utilize the State and Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit Programs to offset the cost of development. With tax credit projects however, there are restoration guidelines, The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, set by the government. These guidelines regulate what can and cannot be done on a preservation project and I am the person in the office that works to ensure the proposed work on historic projects is compliant with the Standards.
As part of that work, I am responsible for the paperwork aspect of the Tax Credit Programs. Enrollment in the programs requires a three-part application process. Part I outlines why a building or area is significant to history. Part II provides a detailed description of a building’s current condition and outlines proposed work. Part III depicts the work that was done at completion. On a typical project, I complete Parts II and III of the application process as it deals directly with the building, i.e. proposed and completed architectural work. Our firm hires a local historic consultant do Part I as it requires a written narrative of the history of a building, site, or district. I also regularly work as a draftsman and an assistant project manager on projects currently in construction.
Preservation began as a way to save historic items or places, but it has evolved into a multitude of practices. Through these practices, specifically adaptive reuse, Buffalo has seen an exponential amount of work and investment in its past for its future. A large part of Buffalo’s recent renaissance is the result of the preservation tax credit program, as it has encouraged development that otherwise may not have been completed.
Overall, preservation has a bad reputation as a practice only used by the wealthy to maintain their status. While I don’t agree with all of the rules or opinions of preservationists, I do think it has begun to be used as a positive form of advocacy for investment in buildings and communities that may not have had that opportunity previously. Preserving historic fabric, no matter where it is or who it serves, is important and I think that is becoming more evident with the work being done in Buffalo.
Next time you’re walking around a city, think about the buildings around you and how they impact your experience of that place. Preservation isn’t just about saving everything old because someone thinks it's important. It’s about celebrating what we have and using it to maintain a sense of history, scale, and character. I love a beautifully-detailed contemporary glass facade, but I also love the terra-cotta reliefs on Louis Sullivan’s Guaranty Building. Don’t allow preconceived notions of what preservation is taint your opinion of it. I know history isn’t everyone's favorite, but I think most people would be surprised at how fulfilling it is to understand a building or place’s history, to engage with it where it is now, and to play a role in developing its future while simultaneously celebrating its past.