King and prince post truss, looking frontward

That Old Time Innovation

In 30 years of investigating New England’s historic churches, PTF has never encountered a better truss system than that of Eastport’s Central Congregational Church. Built in 1828, the roof system combines the traditional strength of a king post-prince post truss and principal rafter-principal purlin roof with innovative tying geometry that prevents the pitfalls of rafter…

Northwood Before

Huge and Hollow

Deep into the winter of 2014, a banner stretched like caution tape across the front of Northwood Congregational Church. It implored commuters from Portsmouth and Concord, “Don’t Judge a Church By It’s Outside. Look for Restoration Coming Soon!” The red text on white vinyl was the freshest trim on the front facade. The porch sagged, the…

Arron signals the crane operator as he lowers the H onto the sill

Paper Beats Rock

We all have illusions about longevity. Many people think that a building’s strength is derived from its foundation, made of stone, or brick, or concrete, but that’s only partly true. A good foundation is a blessing, but a bad foundation is not damning. We’ve seen so many foundation failures that in a well-designed timber frame, we…

Jennison Barn

Bread and Butter Barn

I write a lot about our unusual jobs: a deserted island, an elevated dance floor, or a building-sized jewelry box, but most of us got into this to do jobs like the Jennison barn. The job incorporates so many of PTF’s defining motifs: barn preservation, adaptive re-use, local history and creative clients. The Jennisons called in early…