Good quality photographs provide much of the documentation necessary to convey the appearance of a property. However, there are many features which are not evident in photographs. For example, the materials used in construction should be described and this description should be tied to the issue of integrity. This verbal description of the materials used contributes to a better understanding of how a building, structure or landscape evolved.
Integrity involves the retention of historic fabric. A property with strong integrity will have a very minimal amount of alterations. Use Section 7 to clarify how and why your property retains its integrity.
Descriptions should concentrate on important features not evident in the photographs, especially as they relate to how a building functioned. This is particularly true of buildings with extended wings, such as farmhouses, or connected storage buildings and boiler houses with factories.
The identification of principal rooms helps explain how a building functioned. The functions of various spaces are especially important with industrial architecture since the operation of a mill cannot be understood without explaining its internal arrangements. The same applies for schools, libraries or other institutional buildings.
The importance of understanding how a building functioned is relevant for criteria 1 and 2, as well as 4. By describing the function of a property (house and grounds) you will be less likely to omit important features in your descriptions.
Click here for an example of Section 7 using this property.
Beth Sholom, PA:
Beth Sholom Synagogue was one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most important commissions during his career. Constructed between 1954 and 1959, the building is among a relatively small number of religious commissions done by Wright, as well as his only synagogue. The building was the result of a fruitful collaboration between the famous architect and the congregation's rabbi, Mortimer J. Cohen. Beth Sholom Synagogue is one of a group of sixteen Wright buildings singled out in 1959 by the American Institute of Architects and the National Trust for Historic Preservation as his most important "to the nation...[and] which ought to be preserved in their original form."