Architecture > Architectural
Character > Checklist
Step Three: The visual character of interior spaces, features
10. Individual Spaces
- Are there individual rooms or spaces that are important to
this building because of their size, height, proportion, configuration,
or function, like the center hallway in a house, or the bank
lobby, or the school auditorium, or the ballroom in a hotel,
or a courtroom in a county courthouse?
11. Related Spaces and Sequences of Spaces
- Are there adjoining rooms that are visually and physically
related with large doorways or open archways so that they are
perceived as related rooms as opposed to separate rooms?
- Is there an important sequence of spaces that are related
to each other, such as the sequence from the entry way to the
lobby to the stairway and to the upper balcony as in a theatre;
or the sequence in a residence from the entry vestibule to the
hallway to the front parlor, and on through the sliding doors
to the back parlor; or the sequence in an office building from
the entry vestibule to the lobby to the bank of elevators?
12. Interior Features
- Are there interior features that help define the character
of the building, such as fireplace mantels, stairways and balustrades,
arched openings, interior shutters, inglenooks, cornices, ceiling
medallions, light fixtures, balconies, doors, windows, hardware,
wainscoting, paneling, trim, church pews, courtroom bars, teller
cages, waiting room benches?
13. Surface Finishes and Materials
- Are there surface finishes and materials that can affect the
design, the color or the texture of the interior?
- Are there materials and finishes or craft practices that contribute
to the interior character, such as wooden parquet floors, checkerboard
marble floors, pressed metal ceilings, fine hardwoods, grained
doors or marbleized surfaces, or polychrome painted surfaces,
or stenciling, or wallpaper that is important to the historic
- Are there surface finishes and materials that, because of
their plainness, are imparting the essential character of the
interior such as hard or bright, shiny wall surfaces of plaster
or glass or metal?
14. Exposed Structure
- Are there spaces where the exposed structural elements define
the interior character such as the exposed posts, beams, and
trusses in a church or train shed or factory?
- Are there rooms with decorative ceiling beams (nonstructural)
in bungalows, or exposed vigas in adobe buildings?
This concludes the three-step process of identifying the visual
aspects of historic buildings and is intended as an aid in preserving
their character and other distinguishing qualities. It is not
intended as a means of understanding the significance of historical
properties or districts, nor of the events or people associated
with them. That can only be done through other kinds of research
This Checklist/Questionnaire is included in Nelson, Lee H., FAIA.
Briefs 17: Architectural Character Identifying the Visual Aspects
of Historic Buildings as an Aid to Preserving Their Character,
Washington, D.C.: Technical Preservation Services (TPS), National
Park Service, September, 1988 (Web: Last Modified: Thursday, April
25 2002 08:30:08 am EDT, KDW) [Layout for this version has been
changed: section questions have been separated and numbered; images
have been added.