Academy of Building Conservation
Valley House LLC
Darby and surrounding areas have a wealth of older buildings needing care and attention and a large and
willing labor force in need of employable skills..  

The Academy of Building Conservation is a way to utilize our old buildings as assets for training
to teach traditional building methods and
crafts, while promoting the use of new and adaptive
technologies in a way that is compatible with the building's historical context and legacy.

This can extend the useful life of such structures and help both students and experienced trades people
enter the huge untapped market for maintaining and upgrading the millions of commercial, residential, and
institutional buildings built prior to 1940 needing care and attention, creating new life and opportunities for
buildings, people, and communities.  

The greenest building is the one already built because of the embodied energy of  materials and past
investment. Old buildings, still standing after centuries, speak mutely but eloquently of time honored crafts.    
How do we pass on these skills?

Conservation is extending the useful life of buildings as long as needed.  It differs slightly from preservation
in that it is dynamic: Tradition, standing in the present, looking to the past, moving into the future.

"Measuring the Economic of Preservation"  by Donovan Rykema  
Building Conservation" by Gersil Kay of Building Conservation International
Urban Conservation Primer by Tom Russick (Wonderful resource- may take a while to load)
New York Times article, Schools turning from teaching the trades
Sloyd  A system of manual training developed in Sweden,
[Swedish slöjd, skill, skilled labor; akin to Old Norse slgdh, dexterity;
Poss.akin to English "Slight" (ie slight of hand)
"Do You Speak Vintage? Interesting blog from Chicago
Diathonite  A type of lime-based insulating plaster using cork,
more resources

Your help is requested!

For additional information:
Academy of Building Conservation
c/o 1006 Main Street
Darby, PA 19023
(610) 809-4856

Valley House LLC
1000 Main Street (circa 1852) was our first project and is still in process.
The Academy concept goes well beyond that.
-Timber framing in 1000 Main. Note the "trunnels"(pegs)
The philosophy upon which the “new education” is founded is that the brain, the hand and the
moral nature have to be trained at one and the same time in order to develop good results; and
further than this, that finest culture which shows itself in a sense and love of beauty cannot be
preserved in any other way than by fashioning useful things with the hands and living with natural
forms, to some useful purpose. In a word, brain power, character, culture are the ideals of the
Handicraft movement; and this is closely allied with the new education."
Pg. 214, History ofMontague, New Clairvaux Press  (1910)  
"Darby History" Home
Mission: To utilize our wealth of older buildings needing care and
attention to teach critical but neglected skills (like plaster and
wooden window repair) necessary for such care, thereby creating
new life for buildings, people, and communities
Link to "Healing History" business plan