August 19, 2015

[Preservation Glossary] Today’s Word: Historic Fabric

  • By: Jamesha Gibson

Bousillage infill at a Spanish-Colonial-era house (circa 1780) in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.

We know that a historic building is composed of many diverse materials. Put together, these materials compose the “historic fabric” of a building.

According to Preservation Virginia’s Glossary of Historic Preservation Terms, the technical definition of historic fabric is:

Historic Fabric, noun

Original or old building materials (masonry, wood, stone, metals, marbles) or construction.

Under the term “materials,” the Architectural Heritage Center’s Preservation Glossary further defines historic fabric as: "[material] from a historically significant period, as opposed to material used to maintain or restore a property following its historic period(s)."

Word in Use: “Insulate the attic, basement, and crawl space. About 20 percent of energy costs come from heat loss in those areas. Just take care to avoid materials that can damage historic fabric.” – Julia Rocchi, [10 on Tuesday] 10 Ways to Green Your Historic Home

The photo at the top of the post shows the original bousillage infill which composes the historic fabric of a Spanish-Colonial-era house (circa 1780) in Nine Mile Point, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.

Jamesha Gibson is an Editorial Intern at the National Trust. She is passionate about using historic preservation as an avenue for underrepresented communities to share their unique stories. Jamesha also enjoys learning about other cultures through reading, art, language, dancing, and especially cuisine.

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