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November 16, 2010

The Austonian’s Four-Star Rating: Historic Preservation

Historicphoto2

(Photo taken from Congress Avenue looking west down 2nd Street circa 1910)

Last week, The Austonian was awarded a Four-Star Rating from Austin Energy Green Building, becoming the highest-rated high-rise residential building in downtown Austin. The rating process considered material used in construction, the reduction of construction waste, the conservation of energy, and historic preservation, among other things.

The Austonian is home to the façade of the historic Brown-Dumas Blacksmith shop, which is located along 2nd Street. At the turn of the 20th century, the Brown-Dumas Blacksmith Shop, along with a few other shops and a grocery store, were integral parts of Austin’s thriving commercial core. The Blacksmith shop was built in 1905 and remained at the site along 2nd Street until it collapsed during a wind storm in 2006.

During construction of The Austonian, the development team brought on ClaytonLevyLittle Architects to take the remains of the shop’s facade and incorporate it into the tower. The facade was in a state of extreme disrepair and had to be disassembled and restored off site. Incorporating original building materials as well as a reproduction of the original painted sign on the side of the building, the historic façade now sits at the base of The Austonian along 2nd Street.

“Restoration of the building was no small feat, as the shop was literally on its last legs,” said architect Emily Little, FAIA, of ClaytonLevyLittle Architects. “To be able to reconstruct the façade at the base of The Austonian, using original materials, has been quite an exciting task. Brown-Dumas will live on as a reminder of the scale and construction of early 20th century buildings.”

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