Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse

Improving Buildings and Beyond

Your building functions as a single unit but comprises countless moving parts and pieces—sometimes even multiple buildings. Our design teams are built to mirror this structure. With expertise across all functions and facets of design, we inject the design process with knowledge, collaboration, and partnership.

Highlighting and reinvigorating historic character and significance is a craft that demands careful and thoughtful design solutions. Cushing Terrell’s team of historic preservationists is equipped with knowledge of the most granular aspects of the built environment — aspects that transcend a moment in time.

Historic Buildings Reimagined

Our teams can advise on the adaptive reuse of buildings, an approach that values a structure’s original look but revitalizes it with a new purpose. The benefits of adaptive reuse are:

  • Maintaining cultural heritage by repurposing properties for current needs.
  • Reducing a community’s carbon footprint by maintaining some existing materials. Adaptive reuse of a building may save 50 to 75% of embodied carbon.
  • Minimizing urban sprawl by using existing structures that often make up a city’s core.

“Every new project presents an opportunity to grow as a professional and improve our firm’s processes. We are constantly working to bridge the past and the future, using new technologies to study, preserve, and improve old buildings.”

Ava Alltmont, Historic Preservation Architect | New Orleans

How Our Team Can Support Your Project

  1. Historic Resource Review
    This involves documenting a historic building through photography, writing a description of the building, and submitting forms to a state’s historic preservation office (SHPO). This becomes part of the state’s database of historic resources.
  2. HABS/HAER Documentation
    This involves documenting a historic building through photography, producing measured as-built drawings of the existing building, and creating field notes for all possible descriptive qualities of the site including elevations of the exterior and interior. The focus is less on research and more on measurements and as-built drawings to document a building. Submitting the drawings for inclusion in the national database of HABS/HAER drawings is optional.
  3. Section 106 and Section 110 Compliance (Interdisciplinary assessment and documentation process for properties that receive federal funding) 
    These are documentation processes that identify significant cultural resources. The typical scope includes surveys, existing conditions assessments, and sometimes historic resource reviews. These activities are documented in a report which identifies historic resources, and the potential impact development would have on those resources.
  4. Historic Tax Credit Part 1, 2, and 3 Applications
    This is a three-part process for obtaining federal tax credits for historic rehabilitation work.
  5. National Register of Historic Places Nominations
    These nominations involve research and documenting the history of a building or site. This includes photographing the significant resource(s), documenting findings, researching the resource’s history, writing a narrative, creating maps, and presenting the information for review. Nominations can be for individual buildings or sites, a collection of buildings that create a district, or amendments to an existing nomination.  
  6. Historic Building Surveys and Assessments
    We produce historic structures reports which include a condition assessment indicating areas recommended for repairs.
  7. Architectural Material Analysis
    These services include assessing, evaluating, and reporting on existing materials. We also provide guidance on material compatibility.
  8. Master Planning
    Historic Preservation principles can be integrated into master planning by using a research-driven design process where historical context informs the analysis and proposed interventions. Additional services include historic preservation planning, which gives an overview of an area’s historical significance and suggestions for identifying and preserving its character. Services may also include the development of design guidelines for a Historic District. These guidelines are used by a historic district committee or any review committee that oversees compliance with design guidelines.  
  9. Building Maintenance and Long-Range Plans
    Building maintenance may include analysis and guidance on how to work with or update existing systems in historic buildings. Long-range plans include feasibility studies, determining existing uses of a building and potential uses, and recommendations on how to redevelop the building. 

A Full-Service Team

Cushing Terrell’s Historic Preservation team offers a wide range of historic preservation design, reporting, and planning services throughout the United States.

Our in-depth expertise covers materials and systems, building behavior and pathologies, historic materials and their uses and resiliency, and how weather and other outside factors impact both structural integrity and character-defining features. This knowledge provides our team with a substantial background for constructing and implementing preservation plans.

We offer full architectural services for all phases of architectural and engineering projects including preservation, restoration, rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, reconstruction, and sensitive new contextual design.

Collaborative and Technology-Enabled

Much of our historic preservation work occurs in parallel with Cushing Terrell’s other disciplines. We collaborate with architects, building envelope specialists, structural and civil engineers, electrical and mechanical engineers, and interior designers to bring forward unique solutions specific to each project’s needs.

From ground-penetrating radar to 3D building scanning, advanced in-house technology solutions help us fully understand the project at hand. We constantly seek out opportunities to incorporate new technologies, testing, and computer modeling into the planning and documenting stages of our process.


Stewardship Award | November 2023
LBJ Suite Furnishings Conservation; U.S. General Services Administration; Austin, TX
Preservation Austin Merit Awards

Historic Preservation Award of Adaptive Reuse | 2022
Romney Hall at Montana State University; Bozeman, MT
City of Bozeman Historic Preservation Advisory Board

Honorable Mention, Preservation | September 2021
Alberta Bair Theatre; Billings, MT
Yellowstone Preservation Society

Grow Smart Award | December 2020
Tenth and Main Building; Boise, ID
Idaho Smart Growth

Top Projects People’s Choice Award (Renovation) | September 2020
Tenth and Main Building, Kount Tenant Improvement; Boise, ID
Idaho Business Review

Lewis & Clark County Historic Preservation Award | June 2019
Carroll College Chapel; Helena, MT
Lewis & Clark County Commission

Building Performance, Existing Building | 2019
Cushing Terrell [formerly CTA] Office; Billings, MT
USGBC Mountain West Leadership Awards

Building Excellence Awards, Mayor’s Choice | 2019
Tenth and Main Revitalization
City of Boise; Boise, ID

Outstanding Achievement in Historic Preservation | April 2018
Masonic Temple Lodge No. 18 Rehabilitation; Bozeman, MT
Bozeman Planning Department

Preservation Excellence Award | June 2018
Masonic Temple Lodge No. 18 Rehabilitation; Bozeman, MT
Montana Preservation Alliance

Beautification Award | November 2017
Masonic Temple Lodge No. 18 Rehabilitation; Bozeman, MT
Bozeman Beautification Advisory Board

Public-Private Organizations, Most Compatible Addition Award | May 2017
St. Patrick House, St. Patrick Hospital; Missoula, MT
Missoula Historic Preservation Commission

Montana Historic Preservation Award, Outstanding Heritage Stewardship| January 2017
[Building Owner: Billings School District 2]
McKinley & Broadwater Elementaries; Billings, MT
Montana Historical Society/State Historical Preservation Office

Orchid Award, Historic Contribution | April 2016
Kimberly School District, L.A. Thomas Gymnasium; Kimberly, ID
Preservation Idaho Orchids and Onions Awards

Ready to get started?
Have questions?

Architect, Historic
Preservation Team Lead

Historic Preservation Design Professional

Government Leader,
Team Advisor

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