September 22-27, 2018
Buffalo, New York


Partner with APT!
2018 Conference Sponsor/Exhibitor Prospectus




We look forward to welcoming you to a conference like no other in APT’s history. Events and sessions in the United States AND Canada.  Richardson, Sullivan, Wright, Olmsted & Vaux.  Bunshaft, Yamasaki, Pei. Grain Elevators that inspired Le Corbusier. Forts on both sides of the border. World class parks, waterfront, vineyards. And of course, Niagara Falls.

And now a renaissance fueled by the adaptive reuse of historic buildings.  Three workshops – terra cotta, windows and non-destructive evaluation.  Over 25 field sessions.  “The Next Fifty” Symposium. And Canada Day – a day of celebrating our heritage and our future, together.

Buffalo was the 6th largest port in the world in 1906.  By 1951, it was the 11th largest industrial center in the country, the largest inland water port, the 2nd largest railroad center, and the 15th largest city in the country.  It was literally and physically one of the most important points of departure on the continent. 

A group of preservation and conservation professionals from both the United States and Canada came together in New Richmond, Quebec in 1968 to form a new organization called The Association for Preservation Technology International (APT).   As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, we see this conference as a point of departure for our next 50 years.  We are a joint American-Canadian organization, with chapters around the world.  One of our founders was from Niagara-on-the-Lake, across the river from Buffalo, making Buffalo Niagara the perfect place to celebrate our cross-border heritage. 


Track One:  Decline vs. Revival: Tempering the Impulse to Tear Down and Start Over

Buffalo, like other Great Lakes and Midwestern industrial cities, has seen a recent revival in part due to the phenomenon of reclamation of former manufacturing plants, outdated institutional facilities and underutilized business addresses for new uses that are quite different from their original purpose. This creative reuse of what are usually very substantial structures is a welcome alternative to the post-World War II approach where removal of buildings that no longer served their original function was systematically done as “urban renewal”. Nevertheless, successful projects face daunting challenges from many factors such as outdated zoning restrictions, contemporary needs for parking and conflicts with existing neighborhoods. Although many late 19th and early 20th Century buildings are very well built, they were developed under less stringent life safety codes. They are frequently well-suited to energy conservation retrofits, but they originated in a time when much of what we take for granted as basic features in occupant comfort did not exist. Finally, original construction methods and the materials used may not be understood by most practitioners today, may be difficult to obtain replacements for or may have been acceptable at the time but are inadequate today.

This track will seek presentations that offer solutions to some of these concerns.  Potential topics include:

  • Preserving the form while altering the function
  • Systems, technologies, or material innovations that permit contemporary uses in existing buildings
  • Accommodating Code mandates in buildings that pre-date contemporary standards
  • Correcting flaws in the original construction to permit continued use without compromising the integrity of the original building
  • Correcting flaws in remedial construction to restore the original building for continued use

What is significant in the original construction and what can be sacrificed in the interest of function, user comfort, and budget restraints


Track Two:  Materials over Time: Points of Change

Effective preservation treatments should examine the context of materials and systems over time, whether using means and methods that were traditional in the period of original construction or introducing new systems and substitute materials. This track will examine how the use and selection of materials in construction and the treatment of those materials has changed over time, particularly with reference to their availability. Topics may include:

  • Prior to the development of extensive transportation networks, designers and builders employed many locally available materials, such as stone from nearby quarries, locally made brick, and regionally accessible trees for timber. Presentations that discuss the use of traditional materials and treatments based on locally-available resources are encouraged.
  • Vernacular buildings, which typically make extensive use of local materials, create a specific sense of place, scale, and identity of a neighborhood, town, city, or landscape. Papers in this track may examine the historical development and later use (or disuse) of vernacular, mass-produced, or modern materials
  • The expansion of railroads, canals, and other transportation networks across North America in the mid-19th century had significant impact on the dissemination of building materials and/or design. What were the effects of transportation and communication on the evolution of local, regional and national architecture and the availability of materials?
  • Increasingly, new kinds of materials are more readily obtainable and in greater variety. Additionally, materials are being assembled or combined in new ways. In some cases, as with cast stone and terra cotta in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, new materials were used to imitate or replace traditional materials. Eventually, some of these “substitute” materials became primary construction materials, taking on their own unique aesthetic qualities and technological developments. Papers in this track may cover issues such as the selection of materials and treatments when traditional materials are not available, or the transition from traditional to substitute materials.

Presentations examining the lessons learned in the preservation of materials over time are encouraged. Looking back over the last 50 years, what has worked and what has not worked? What are the points of departure and challenges for materials conservation looking ahead to the next 50 years.


Track Three: For Power or For Passage: Re-envisioning Historic Industrial and Transportation Infrastructure

Settlement patterns within cities often paralleled the harbor or river that served as the city’s economic centerpiece. Yet, riverfronts, harbors, and railyards often came to resemble industrial wastelands due to decades of hard utility. In the last thirty years, in cities across the United States and the world, riverfronts have begun to see new life and even active railyards have been built over as new neighborhoods. Buffalo’s waterfront is an example of a forgotten and polluted industrial corridor that has seen a dramatic historically-sensitive rebirth and now serves as the city’s premier public outdoor space.

This track focuses on the evolution and adaptation of places and spaces that once served as the centers of economic might for their community as well as the communities that were formed as a result of or to support that industrial or transportation infrastructure. Topics may include:

  • Challenges in the reuse of former industrial structures, such as railyards or grain silos, as beacons for a new economy
  • Preservation of systems and materials typical of industrial and transportation structures
  • Contributions of landscape design to projects reusing industrial or transportation sites, which traditionally did not include landscaping

  • Recognizing and preserving portions of a former structure as a relic, as a way to understand a different time

  • Preserving structures that have a history of repeated pragmatic adaptation and change over their history

  • Re-purposing and showcasing the history of the utilitarian and vernacular
  • Balancing the humanizing/beautifying aspects of a development and preserving the utilitarian character of these sites

  • Judging feasibility of preservation in light of the many regulatory and environmental challenges of brownfield sites


Track Four:  This New World: Preservation technology and emerging issues within our historic buildings and built landscapes

There are times where the world seems to spin faster, with tremendous technological advancements occurring in conjunction with mounting social and environmental needs. In these rapidly changing times, preservation and adaptive reuse takes on new meaning, evolving to address emerging issues while at the same time maintaining historical accuracies and respecting the vision of the original design.

This track will explore how adaptive reuse and new preservation technologies can address emerging issues, such as disaster resilience, stormwater management, ecological services, evolving energy systems, healthy lifestyles, food security, mobile populations, generational needs and differences, resource depletion, etc. Potential topics for presentations include:

  • Examination of social and environmental needs in relation to historic preservation
  • Obtaining balance between multiple and sometimes conflicting needs for livable cities
  • Challenges to preserving the historic character of cities such as Buffalo where traditional industries that helped the cities grow and flourish are no longer present or are greatly diminished
  • Fitting uses that did not exist 50 years ago into existing buildings or creating new building types with existing buildings
  • Examine impacts of rural to urban population shift on preservation and rehabilitation of communities and resources