Traditional Building magazine's year in review – 2017.
U.S. Capitol cast-iron dome

The restoration of the cast-iron dome on the U.S. Capitol dome was completed in 2016. The three-year, $97-million project appeared in the April 2017 issue of Traditional Building.

The year 2017 brought thousands of viewers to the Traditional Building website, looking for new products, projects, book reviews, features and opinions from our bloggers as well as from the Forum. While the site is fairly new—launched in March of 2016—it has found its niche among the traditional architecture community.

We recently reviewed our web statistics to better understand what people are searching for when they come to www.traditionalbuilding.com. Keep in mind that while the website is drawn primarily from the print magazine, it isn’t organized by issue dates. It is organized by topics such as Buying Guides, Features, Palladio Awards, etc. with older as well as newer articles available. Also, we often post timely web-only articles that never appear in print.

Speaking of print, the year 2017 marks an almost anniversary for Traditional Building magazine. The first issue was published October 1988, so next year will be our 30th year in print! We continue to have six issues a year, alternating with our sister publication, Period Homes.

2017 Traditional Building Annual Guidebook

           The Annual Buyers Guide published every year in February is always a popular issue.   

Here are some of the highlights of the year. The February issue, as usual, was our Annual Buyers Guide with a list of more than 200 companies that supply traditional products, along with photos of many of their products organized by product category. April brought stories about the U.S. Capitol dome, and a feature about young (under 40) preservationists, while June highlighted the five 2017 Palladio winners.

In August, the magazine honored Duncan Stroik as its eighth Clem Labine Award laureate, and offered tips and guidelines from stone cutters as well as recent projects. It was followed by a look at the Jeffris Foundation and the restoration of the rotunda at the University of Virginia in the October issue. December, as usual, focused on religious buildings. Featured were projects such as the restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple, and new churches in Lincoln, NE, and Ridgway, IL, along with a profile of David B. Meleca Architects of Columbus, OH.

Back to the Web
The analysis, however, involves readership on the website. The total number of page views for the year reached just under 300,000, almost double what it was in 2016, but many of the patterns were similar. There was a high level of interest in products such as windows, doors, hardware, metalwork, lighting and columns, as well as various features and blogs. The major tabs on the site, such as Buying Guides, Palladio Awards and Opinion were all highly rated, especially Buying Guides.

A number of oldies but goodies made the top of the list last year. A story posted in November of 2015, “Column Construction: Materials and Methods,” by Gordon Bock, and an all-time favorite, “Rebuilding Penn Station” by our founder Clem Labine from the April 2015 issue, continue to interest readers. A story published in 2016, “Historic Syracuse Hotel Saved,” was also popular.

A more recent story about hand drawing by the architects at Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) hovered near the top of the list. It appeared in the August issue. Another recent article, “A Dome for All Time,” about the amazing restoration of the U.S. Capitol dome was very popular with web visitors.

BFA program in the Building Arts at Bryn Athyn College

A web-only feature about the BFA program in the Building Arts at Bryn Athyn College drew readers. Here, Stephen Hartley teaches stained-glass. 

The 2017 Palladio Award winner stories that appeared in the June issue were big web hits this year. These included “Seaside Tradition: Beauport Hotel,” (OLSON LEWIS + Architects) the winner in the category of New Design and Construction, more than 30,000 sq.ft.; “Saving History in Soho,” (Scott Henson Architect) in the Adaptive Reuse category; “Gilded Age Gem” (PBDW Architects and Herzon & de Meuron) in the Restoration and Renovation category; and two winners in the category of New Design and Construction, less than 30,000 sq.ft., “Historic Watchbox Returns Home,” (EYP Architecture & Engineers) and “Sacred Jewel Box” (O’Brien & Keane).

Other recent project articles also garnered quite a bit of interest and clicks. One of these was “Adaptive Reuse Spurs Urban Renewal,” the cover story in the April issue, along with “Making Sense of Mid-Century Modern” in the same issue.

Readers were also drawn to a variety of religious buildings stories, such as “A New Traditional Roman Catholic Church in South Carolina,” (McCrery Architects), and “New Neoclassical Revival Mormon Temple,” (FFKR and Perkins+Will), both published in the December 2016 issue.

Three web-only stories, “The Trades Turn Out for PTN’s 2017 Meeting,” “Bryn Athyn College Offering BFA in Building Arts,” and “Window Preservation Summit III” also made the hit parade.

Products
The column story mentioned earlier was not the only popular product article. Windows are always a popular topic, as shown by the large number of hits for windows stories such as “The Challenges of Reproducing Historic Wood Windows,” which continues to get a lot of hits even though it first appeared a few years ago. Other popular features were “Historic Window Repair: Sash Joint Dutchman,” by window expert John Leeke, and “Metal Windows in Historic Buildings.”

Doors are also a perennial winner, as witnessed by the audience for “Wood Doors for Historic Buildings,” also originally published a couple of years ago. And the Doors, Windows, Hardware & Shutters Buying Guides continue to draw readers searching for historic products.

Lighting is another hot topic, as seen in two typical product reports, “Exterior Lighting for Historic Buildings” and “Lighting for Historic Buildings,” as well as numerous clicks on Buying Guides for lighting. The Buying Guides for Doors, Windows and Shutters, for Exterior Elements, Ornaments & Finishes and for Metalwork, also appeared near the top of the hit list.

historic plaster repair

Interested in traditional plaster? A lot of our readers are as witnessed by the number of hits for a feature on traditional plaster myths.

Techniques
A surprise this year was the popularity of two articles about fresco painting, “Fresco Painting Techniques” and “A Glossary of Fresco Painting Terms and Materials” from the September issue.

Meanwhile, plaster continues to be a big topic, as shown by the number of hits for a feature by Gordon Bock, “Historic Plaster in Today’s Traditional Market,” and “Historic Plaster Myths” by Bill Denis of Decorators Supply Corp.

Blogs
Our bloggers are also frequently read. Plaster blogs such as “Roman Cement and Pozzolans, also Known as Pit Sand” and “Vintage Plaster Traditions” by Patrick Webb, for example, drew many readers. “The Problem of the House Museum,” by Vincent Michael was another hit this year, as was a blog by Carroll William Westfall, “Confederate Monuments and Lost Cause Urbanism” and “Traditional Urbanism and the Common Good.”

David Brussat’s “Ode to a Tuscan Column” and Clem Labine’s “The Bare Brick Mistake Will Not Die!” were also highly rated.

These articles and blogs and many others contribute the content of Traditional Building magazine, both in print and on the web. Many thanks to our writers, bloggers and readers for all of your contributions during the past year. We look forward to continued success in 2018!

Buying Guide Spotlight

Related Articles