Archives for July 2014

Sandstone Facade UPDATE (Part Three)

When you work with a commitment to reusing material, it can be just as much about preserving history as it is about keeping materials out of our landfills.  Every once in a while you get the amazing reward of being able to do both and you're reminded why this work is so important for our past, present and future. On May 10th of this year, the First Unitarian Church of Detroit, a structure that had stood on the corner of Woodward and Edmund Place since 1890 was sadly lost to an early morning fire.  Sighting a public safety hazard, the remains of the structure were quickly demolished that the site was scaled clean.  It appeared that another of the city's architectural gems had been lost forever, with out leaving a trace that it ever existed. Just last week I had written that we … [Read more...]

Sandstone Facade (Part Two)

Valued for it ability to be easily carved (worked) into intricate designs, sandstone is also a relatively soft stone that erodes easily, especially with the extreme freeze/thaw cycles that Michigan experiences.  As part of our restoration efforts at the El Moore we’ve been evaluating the condition of its 116 year old face.  Having sat vacant for the past 20 years and likely not receiving much attention even when it was occupied, the sandstone is suprisingly  in good shape.  Rain and wind have softened some of its more exposed features and the black soot from industry has darkened the original the pink hue of the stone.  For the most part, this slight wearing and discoloration are appropriate for a building of this age and help give the material character.  However, there are a couple … [Read more...]

Energy Consumption and Saving at the El Moore

One of the stated goals of the El Moore project is to reduce the building’s environmental impact by using only 25% of the average demand for energy of a building its size. To accomplish this goal, the development team identified five areas in which the most dramatic impact could be made in terms of energy consumption. The first of these actions is ensuring that the building is super insulated. If you were to look inside the walls of the El Moore you would not find your average pink fiberglass insulation. Instead you would find a combination of a foam insulation that expands once sprayed from its container, as well as polyiso insulation which will go on top of the foam and is a better insulator than more traditional methods. Considering that 41.5% of energy consumed in the average … [Read more...]

Construction Update: Week of July 14, 2014

The unusually cool and dry weather has provided pleasant working conditions for the crew working on the El Moore this week. Up on the roof, where cool breezes pour through the cabins, workers are installing new doorwalls and windows, providing spectacular views of the surrounding neighborhood. Weatherized metal siding is continuing to be added to the exterior - if you look from the west, you'll see our first completed wall. Clouds reflected in new doorwall: Doorwalls from interior perspective: West wall with siding: The elevator tower has made significant progress this week, also, rising to the 4th floor of the building. Here's a view of the tower from across the street. This week I was also able to get photos of three people who are foundational to this … [Read more...]

Who Was Alexandrine?

As with many streets in towns and cities across the country, Alexandrine Street, where the El Moore is located, takes its name from a prominent citizen of the city’s past.   Alexandrine Macomb Sheldon was born in Detroit in 1829, a descendant of the Macomb family, one of the founding families and land owners of Detroit. She was married in 1847 to John Barnabas Campau, a member of another of Detroit’s founding families.  During her marriage to Mr. Campau, she travelled extensively throughout Europe and, while in Paris, was presented to Napoleon III and the Empress Eugénie at the Tuileries Palace. She also managed to arrange private audiences with two popes, Pius IX and Pius X - these were clearly people of some influence! Although she led a very privileged life, it wasn’t one without … [Read more...]

El Moore or E.L. Moore?

Imagine our surprise and delight when we happened upon this June blog post referencing the El Moore development in, of all places, a model railroad building blog called 30 Squares. What, we wondered, does model railroad building have to do with our sustainable rehab of a historic Detroit apartment building? It turns out that the answer's all in the name. Our railroad blogger mentions that he found out about the El Moore when searching for someone named "E.L. Moore." I did a little searching on that name myself and found the following, written by the same blogger in a post from last August: E. L.  Moore was one of the most prolific writers in the model railroading press in the mid 20th century. Although he wrote on a number of model railroading topics, his specialty was articles on … [Read more...]

Goals for Sustainability at the El Moore

To maintain the ‘Triple Bottom Line’ the El Moore development team approached multiple areas within the bottom line categories of environment, economic and community to set specific goals. These goals are area specific and purposefully try to positively affect the building’s sustainability through certain actions. The areas being approached for development are Energy, Waste, Water, Toxicity and Habitat. The goals for the area of energy: -       Only use 25% of the average demand for energy per person. -       Ensure at least 25% of the energy actually used is renewable -       Have personal accountability for the energy used, by not including water and gas bills within the rent.   The goals for the area of waste: -       Only produce 50% of the average waste for a … [Read more...]

El Moore Insights – Jason Peet

Some people walk by a construction project like the El Moore and wonder "What's inside the building?" When I walk by I always wonder "What's inside the people? Ever since I can remember I have always been fascinated with the people behind the scenes of  great works such as the El Moore Project. I, like you (I am assuming or you would not be reading this) appreciate the beauty of the building and am looking forward to experiencing the final result. However, I find myself curious about the experience of those who have been working on this long before there was a website/blog, etc. I want to know about the people who are helping to transition this building. What have they learned? What do they hope others will take from the El Moore?  How did they even come to be involved with such work? My … [Read more...]