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Washington Hilton Hotel & Towers

Oct. 4–7

The Industry

historic restoration, renovation, and traditional new construction

The Attendees

2,400 architects, designers, craftsmen, contractors, homeowners, and others who won’t let go of the past

The Issues

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“Mitigating Moisture Problems for Historic Buildings”: While investigating damage in a church spire, preservation techies found 130 years of animal waste piled 5 feet deep. “Spelunking through guano in a pitch-black spire is an adventure to remember,” a presenter acknowledged, but when searching for sources of water leaks, “you have to keep fighting your way through until you address all possibilities.”

Buzz Buzz Birdie: Bell Bird Control’s patented BellStrip Track preserves aesthetics by chasing winged trespassers from would-be roosts. The device sends an annoying electrical pulse along tracks that can be custom-colored to blend in with façades.

Curb Appall: Revered preservation expert Pratt Cassity noted some homeowners’ clumsy attempts to reconcile traditional design with a lust for space. Among the resulting affronts to authenticity: a computer magnate’s quaint bungalow with a McMansion ballooning from its rear. Volunteer groups alone can’t stop the bad architecture, he said: “If you had a brain tumor, would you want a great surgeon, or a group of really committed schoolteachers?”—Rob Tierney