Ties to the Past

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a press conference for Preservation Lansing that announced the launch of an award that will recognize exemplary preservation and restoration projects in Lansing. Not coincidently, the announcement was held at the Thelma Joyce Osteen Comfort Station, a delightful building that once had been used as a public restroom for railroad passengers. Recently, the Station was acquired by the Michigan Historic Preservation Network and is being currently restored under the direction of Neumann Smith Architects, in a project where east arbor has taken a supporting role.

While enjoying the success of this new preservation effort, another nearby building caught my attention:

From its appearance and siting, I suspect the building also may have had connections to the railroad, possibly used as an observation platform. Intrigued, I set to finding a way to imbue the wee building with new life and a new use. Given its size and isolated location, I wanted to make it as self-sufficient as possible by employing passive efforts* to heat, light and ventilate the building.

The repurposed building is shown on the left, with the existing building shown for comparison. Subsequent entries will detail a more thorough analysis of the building and its possibilities.

*Is ‘passive efforts’ an oxymoron?

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